Monday, December 27, 2010

Sharer or Hogger?

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.


Shell said...

Oh, that's horrible! It would be better not to share than to leave something out and have someone make a recipe that ends up not being good!

I always share my recipes...though I have to admit that if it's for something that I always bring to family get-togethers and then I share it with a family member and for the next get-together, they bring MY dish and I have to come up with something else...that is a little annoying.

Jill said...

oh you're funny!! and you really called her a recipe hog? hahaha!! I was having a similiar conversation w my step-dad about his deviled eggs. He won't give you the recipe, but he'll teach you how to make it if you help him. :D now that's how ya do it! I hate recipe secrets! truly! ♥

The Redhead Riter said...

I don't understand that mentality either, but I have known women who do the same thing. If you don't want to share the recipe, just say you don't want to share it. Why mislead people? I think that is evil.

Jill said...

I agree!! tell is straight and say you want to keep the recipe a secret! what's with holding out and leaving 1 ingredient out?? LoL.....very old school. something my grandma would have done - if she cooked.

Christy said...

I've gotten recipes from people and it didn't come out as good...they must have left out an ingredient like her! Now it all makes sense...

katlupe said...

I consider it a compliment when someone wants my recipes. I share them with anyone, even put them on my blog. I did share recipes with my family members and they made them for other family get-togethers. I was pleased. because after that those dishes had my name in the title. LOL