I grew up in a (predominantly) generous family. A lot of my family members cook and bake well, so my family history was frequently woven with the sharing of recipes and stories to accompany those recipes. People in my family are also generous with time and what they are willing to invest in other people. This is the model I learned. This is the model I will pass along. Years ago, I worked with a woman who clearly grew up in a household of “share nothing.” She obviously felt resources were precious and it was the Great Depression. And, NO, she was not struggling with finances. She just did not like to share.
To Share or Not to Share?
Are these behaviors innate? Or are they learned? I am sure you know people who fit into both categories -- categories I like to call “Hoggers” and “Sharers.”
I always think sharing is the best bet. I don’t mean that you should share you under-garments or the last bite of pasta on your plate (unless you want to, of course.) I am referring to the overall general concept of sharing.
I think being stingy is acceptable and normal in certain circumstances. For example, when you are only two years old and haven’t yet been taught differently. I think stingy at the adult level is odd. And just plain ol’ sucky!
Listen, if you don’t want to share things with other people, you might have a great reason. My dear mom used to hide things from me when I was a child because, well, I used to like to explore in her private stuff and play with whatever caught my fancy. There were many things I liked. I went exploring often. But it never lasted long because, frankly, Mom is a Sharer at heart.
Years ago, I worked with a woman who often brought desserts to the office. I love to bake. I may not be the best, but I love sharing and seeing others sample my goods. Back in the day, I also loved to see (and sample) said-former-coworker’s creations. Once for a holiday party, we both made some tasty treats well-received by our colleagues. Many people asked for our recipes and once, while sharing mine, she was within earshot.
Her: You just freely give out your recipes?
Me: Yes. (I am sure I had a really weird look on my face as I replied because, after all, the request is for my recipe. Not my liver, or plutonium, or a kilo of heroin.)
Her: That is so generous of you.
Me: I actually got it from a cookbook so….
Her: (whispering conspiratorially) When people ask me for my recipes, I often leave one ingredient out.
Me: Blank stare.
Her: Isn’t that coy? (She winks.)
My mental response: Yes. That is coy. Since apparently coy now means idiotic and juvenile.
Me (out loud): Huh?! (highly intelligent response)
Her: (more insistent this time) When people ask me for my recipes, I often leave one ingredient out. Isn’t that coy? (She winked again!)
Me: Oh, so you are one of THOSE women?
Her: (innocent blinking) What women?
Me: A recipe hog. You don’t want to share the good stuff.
Her: I work really hard on my recipes and I don’t want people copying them.
Me: Good thing Rachel Ray doesn’t feel that way! (And then I actually laughed out.)
Her: (Slightly pouty face, but thinks I am joking) Those are MY recipes!
Me: I totally hear you, Betty Crocker! (I laughed more. And scurried away because I just learned who my least favorite co-worker at that office was: The Hogger!.)
Now, if you are hogging Halloween candy… well, that is a different story! I know you are only doing it to protect those around you, whom you love dearly, from getting cavities.