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Recipe exchange experiment

Do you remember chain letters? They were so popular in the late ’90s, when I was in middle school and most people I knew were really into email. They sometimes were funny or cutesy, but they usually were stupid. And for some reason a lot of them ended with instructions for forwarding them on within five minutes and making a wish or your true love would never love you back. Hmm.

I haven’t received a chain letter in such a long time, but the other day I received the following email, which might be kind of a chain-letter descendant:

Hi Everyone,

We are participating in a collective, constructive and hopefully TASTY experiment. As such, you have been invited to be part of a recipe exchange concept. We hope you will participate. We have picked those we think would make this fun. Please send a recipe to the person whose name is in position 1 (even if you don’t know him/her) and it should be something quick, easy and without rare ingredients. Actually, the best one is the one you know in your head and can type right now.

Don’t agonize over it, it is one you make when you are short on time.

After you’ve sent the recipe to the person in position 1 below and only to that person, copy this letter into a new email, move my name to position 1 and put your name in position 2. Only my and your name should show when you send your email.

Send to 20 friends BCC (blind copy). If you cannot do this within 5 days, let us know so it will be fair to those participating. You should receive 36 recipes. It’s fun to see where they come from!

Seldom does anyone drop out because we all need new ideas. The turnaround is fast as there are only 2 names on the list and you only have to do it once.

1. (my friend’s friend’s email address)

2. (my friend’s email address)

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

I normally wouldn’t participate in this kind of thing — mostly because of the effort involved in passing it along. With Facebook, Twitter and other social media making staying in touch as lazy as ever, do you really expect me to know 20 emails off the top of my head? On top of that, how am I supposed to know who will enjoy such things? I worry about these types of things.

But, uncharacteristically, I did participate in this one — for a few reasons. One, I like sharing recipes. And it’s a huge cooking season, so people might send festive recipes. Two, a close friend sent it to me, and I happen to know the friend who sent it to her, as well. Three, I was kind of curious about the accuracy of the math in the letter. Maybe I’m missing something obvious, but I’m still not sure how forwarding this to 20 people will result in 36 recipes. Anyone want to help me with that?

It was easy to think of the recipe to send to my friend’s friend. I copied my favorite recipe for black bean soup, which I’ve read so many times the cookbook’s binding is breaking. And I tried to remember any additional instructions my mom and I have added over the past 10 years. (I’ll have to post that recipe here … once I confer with my mom to make sure I didn’t forget anything!)

Then I took my sweet time — five days, of course — trying to figure out to whom I would send this. I wanted to avoid sending it to mutual friends of the friend who sent it to me … and that turned into a bigger problem, where I attempted to avoid sending it to anyone who knew anyone else on my list. Yeah, I don’t know enough people for that. In the end, I pieced together 20 emails of family members, high school friends, college friends and even people I met through my previous job, hoping that would spread it out enough.

Anyway, I added a little post script at the bottom of the standard message letting people know that I wouldn’t hate them if they didn’t want to participate (well, not in so many words). Hopefully, in turn, they will not hate me for sending it to them. 😀 And I think I’m starting to prove that common assumption that says you tend to surround yourself with people similar to you — a handful of people already have responded saying they won’t be participating, for one reason or another.

But I’ve already received two recipes! Yay! One of them contains dairy, and the other contains both dairy and eggs. Darn. I still plan to post all the recipes I receive here, whether or not I can eat them. Maybe someone reading can eat those ingredients or can adapt them, as I will be trying to do.

Also, maybe someone reading this post is a super social butterfly who knows 20 other foodies (or whatever number you choose) and said reader can now start his or her own recipe exchange! Because overall, even though it made me fret about picking 20 emails, I do believe this exchange is well intentioned … unlike those chain letters I received in middle school. 😉



3 thoughts on “Recipe exchange experiment

  1. love your post! btw … can you send me your black bean soup recipe? I have fond memories of when you made it at our apartment.

    Posted by kimberly | December 15, 2011, 7:01 pm
    • yay! i also thought it was a funny thing to be receiving a chain letter type thing, but i actually love the concept. kim and i have also discussed the fuzzy math on this thing… but it’s still great. can’t wait until you post that soup recipe- i’d love to make it!

      Posted by Maxine | December 16, 2011, 6:36 am


  1. Pingback: Recipe exchange experiment: Butternut squash bake and fudge « An Impossible Feast - January 28, 2012

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