Chicken Soup for the Jealous Soul

Photo by Nate EmbryHow do you feel about secret recipes, that little pinch of special spice that only so-and-so knows to add to get the perfect combination of flavors? Food blogger and author Molly Wizenberg says the idea is ridiculous. “Recipes are by nature derivative: rare is the recipe that springs, fully formed, from thin air, without the influence, wisdom, or inspiration of other prior dishes,” she writes, “Recipes were made to be shared. That’s how they improve, how they change, how new ideas are formed and older ones made ripe.”

I think we can apply that to pretty much any creative pursuit, from cooking to writing to making music. Sometimes we’re guilty of keeping trade secrets trying desperately to make legends of ourselves and maybe that’s supposed to make us happy. But like the story of the Little Red Hen, if a person isn’t willing to lend a hand to see someone else’s idea come to fullness, they’re not going to reap the benefits when the bread is baked.

I remember one literary agent I chatted with said that at certain writing conferences he attended, even in casual conversation out at dinner, authors would zip their lips about their current projects so as not to leak any details that might give their fellow writers an advantage. It’s a lonely career when you see your contemporaries as competition.

Today, I’m looking at jealousy and the staleness it brings to the creative life. Come on over to my friend Charity’s place and try out my not-so-secret remedy, like a little Chicken Soup for the Jealous Soul.

{This post contains an affiliate link for Molly Wizenberg’s A Homemade Life, a book I “devoured” for my book club last summer. If you click on the link and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no extra charge to you, defraying some of the cost of running the blog. The book contains witty and moving stories based around some of Wizenberg’s favorite recipes. Enjoy!}

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2 thoughts on “Chicken Soup for the Jealous Soul

  1. Nice post! It is interesting indeed how sometimes we like to keep certain things a secret. I find that by sharing with others, we create inspiration in them and in ourselves. Eventhough two people might be working on similar projects, whether it’s a book, a recipe or a work of art, those projects will turn out completely different, because of the dash of personality that goes into their creation, making the end product totally unique.

    • So true. More fun and better results to swap ideas. Why keep our recipes to ourselves?!! P.S. I just followed you on Twitter. :)

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