Secret Ingredients in Your Favorite Foods
Ingredients you may not have known were in some of your favorite food products
Do you really know what is in your chicken nuggets?
A doctor friend of ours pooh-poohs fears about chemicals in our food. “Everything is made up of chemicals,” he says. He’s right, of course, and in that spirit we offer this article, with a warning that if the idea of weird stuff being in your food bothers you, you might not want to read on.
Good news: a McDonald’s Chicken McNugget does contain chicken. But it’s not the main ingredient—not even close. According to Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma, a McNugget is made up of 38 ingredients, mostly chemicals and corn derivatives. In total, a McNugget is 56 percent corn products. But 0.02 percent is tertiary butylhydroquinone, a petroleum byproduct used as a preservative. TBHQ is actually butane, also known as lighter fluid.
Though it’s often used as a substitute for whipped cream, Cool Whip contains no cream and no milk. The only dairy in the product is a milk protein called sodium caseinate. Instead of milk, Cool Whip uses a combination of ingredients, including water, corn syrup, coconut oil, and palm kernel oil, which have a much longer shelf life.
The main ingredient in energy drinks like Red Bull and RockStar that revs you up isn’t caffeine. In fact, an 8.5-ounce can has only about as much caffeine as a cup of coffee. The “energy” actually comes from taurine, a stimulant much more potent than caffeine. Today taurine is synthesized in laboratories, but it was first discovered by German scientists in 1827, as a naturally occurring substance in the bile of oxen.
As milk hardens into cheese, it leaves behind a liquid byproduct called whey. Many cheese manufacturers just threw the whey in the garbage, until Kraft found a use for it. With an added stabilizing agent called carrageenin—a derivative of Irish moss—the whey can be processed into a soft, spongy cheesy brick, better known as Velveeta.
Polysorbate 60 is one of many chemical compounds in a Twinkie. One of the ingredients in polysorbate 60 is ethylene oxide, a highly flammable material that’s toxic if consumed in extremely high amounts. It was used in grenades during the Vietnam War.
Jamba Juice, one the country’s biggest fruit-smoothie chains, offers a non-dairy option for customers who are allergic to milk. Amazingly, the second most prevalent ingredient in the non-dairy blend: nonfat dried milk.
A chocolate-flavored ice cream topping similar to chocolate syrup or fudge sauce, Magic Shell hardens into a thick candy shell when it’s poured over ice cream. (Similar to the chocolate coating on Dairy Queen’s chocolate-dipped cones.) How does the chocolate liquid harden? The effect comes from a mixture of soybean oil and paraffin wax, a petroleum product also commonly used in candles and skin cream.
12 Disgusting Ingredients You’re Eating Every Day
I’m going to be honest with you – our food is gross. By using terms such as “natural flavoring” or long, weird words, companies get away with putting the most disgusting ingredients, incredibly awful things in our food.
It’s one thing to add pine needles to cookies, eat weird snack pairings, or put eggs in your coffee because you want to. It’s another thing to not even know what’s in the food you eat. The labels are hiding the truth behind 20-letter disguises.
Here’s a breakdown of those long, unpronounceable and confusing words on the back of your favorite snacks.
Basically, this very long name means it’s the same thing as Silly Putty. You can find this additive in most fast food and fountain drinks. It can also be used in caulks and adhesives — tasty. You just learned a new word today.
2. ShellacAbby Mainwaring
Isn't shellac a shiny, glossy coat on cars, or a nail polish, or something? Well, recheck your label —it's also on jelly beans, candy corn and any glazed candy. But this shiny substance isn't some sort of sugar — it's a secretion from a Thailand insect, Kerria lacca. And when you browse the nutrition facts, keep an eye out — they might call it "confectioner's glaze." Sneaky.
The Best Secret Ingredients for Chili
Here are some of the most common (and most effective) flavor boosters to add to your chili recipe.
Booze (Beer, Wine, or Liquor)
Beer chili is a whole genre, and adding a bottle of your favorite brew is a wise move, but other kinds of alcohol can add their own little something-something. A smaller amount of red wine imparts richness, depth, and body to beefy chili (like a larger amount does to boeuf bourguignon), and a shot or two of liquor like bourbon—even vodka or tequila—toward the end lifts the other flavors without obviously announcing its own presence. Still, as you were warned in college, you’re best off choosing one booze and sticking to it rather than mixing them.
If you want to add a smoky dimension to your chili, this is a no-brainer, although if you’re opposed to the oft-maligned ingredient, a few teaspoons of chipotles in adobo makes a nice substitute, as does smoked paprika. You could also use bacon, but most commercial brands are actually treated with liquid smoke to give them that characteristic tang—so you may as well reach for the bottle in the first place. (You can also mash-up these first and second options by adding a smoked beer to your chili.)
Chowhound’s Smoked Chili recipe relies on smoked beer and smoked sausage
Brine or Vinegar
A few tablespoons of brine from a jar of pickled jalapeños (or any sort of pickles, really), stirred in at the end as a finishing touch, adds a bright acidity that perks everything up. Plain white vinegar can work the same magic trick—even balsamic or apple cider vinegar, if you want a suggestion of sweetness too.
Not just for stir fries, a few dashes of soy sauce enhances the umami savor of your chili, and is good for adding some meaty depth to veggie chilis too. Liquid aminos can do the same. You might even try miso in small doses.
This serves the same purpose as soy, really: emphasizing meaty umami notes and bringing a little piquant salt. Added judiciously, it doesn’t taste at all like fish once stirred into the pot. Some people even use a couple anchovies as a briny, umami-rich component that melts away into the other ingredients.
Red Boat Vietnamese Fish Sauce, $6.28 from Walmart
Our favorite brand of fish sauce.
Similar to but more complex than soy sauce, liquid aminos, and fish sauce, Worcestershire sauce is another great umami amplifier that’s why it turns up in Bloody Marys, after all. (And while traditional Worcestershire sauce contains anchovies, you can find vegan Worcestershire too if you need to boost your meatless chili.)
Coffee or Espresso Powder
A moderate amount of bitter, roasty espresso, strong-brewed black coffee, or instant coffee granules will beef up the deep, complex flavors of chili, and work well alone or in concert with a little chocolate.
Added in the form of cocoa powder or unsweetened baking chocolate, this secret ingredient adds another subtle bass note, but you can also try dark chocolate that contains some sugar for a twin touch of sweetness, or even sandy Mexican chocolate (with dark sugar and cinnamon already added) to complement the spicy, acidic, and umami flavors.
Taza Mexican Chocolate Sampler, 8 for $19.99 from Amazon
Mexican chocolates infused with flavors like chipotle, coffee, and vanilla are even more intriguing options for your chili.
Cinnamon is a fairly common addition to chili, but you can also use small amount of nutmeg, cloves, allspice, and other sweet spices to make it more aromatic. Even a bit of star anise can enhance the beefy, spicy flavor of chili without being too licorice-forward (add too much, though, and it may taste more like pho).
Chowhound’s Jerk Turkey Chili recipe includes cinnamon and chocolate
Some people swear by peanut butter to add a little fatty oomph to leaner veggie chilis, but it also shows up in meaty versions, from turkey to beef (and, hey, peanut butter burgers are a thing). Using a natural peanut butter will give you that creamy richness and nutty nuance without too much added salt and sugar.
Dark, slightly smoky, and a little sweet in a caramelized way, molasses is another method of adding a certain je ne sais quoi to your chili. Use unsulphured molasses, dark if you like a stronger flavor, but stay away from the blackstrap variety, which is much more bitter.
Marmite or Vegemite
Divisive though they may be, European imports Marmite and Vegemite are both complex, strong, salty flavor bombs that boost the baseline tastes of your chili. You don’t need to go out of your way to buy either one, but if you happen to have a jar in your pantry, why not scoop a smidge into the pot?
Food Theory: The Secret Recipe for Mountain Dew Pizza!
Crime Scene Kitchen: The all new competition series where America’s best bakers think like a detective, but bake like a pastry chef.
So, Mountain Dew came out with a cookbook. Of course that meant I had to track it down and take a look for myself. Imagine my surprise when in my browsing of The Big Bold Book of MTN DEW Recipes had NO PIZZA! What?! A staple food of most Mountain Dew fans, pizza felt like the PERFECT food to adapt as a recipe. So I DID! Theorists, I made a recipe for Mountain Dew pizza… that you should actually EAT!
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Food may be meant for sharing, but that doesn’t mean the recipe has to be. IMHO, I love the idea of someone having a dish that people consider to be so special that they associate it with that person, that you anticipate it at parties, and dream about it at night . The mystery is the secret ingredient (even if it’s a boxed brownie mix). In today’s age, there are rarely secrets – everything gets posted and shared, which makes things so “unspecial”. Why not just enjoy the dish? That said, I do believe in preserving recipes for future generations, so they are not completely lost. So, rather than asking for the recipe I like to ask the person to promise to write down the recipe and pass it down to a trusted friend/family member when they feel the time is right (or even when they die). I loved getting my grandmother’s recipe box after her passing. It was like a little treasure chest.
My Yiayia makes all types of delicious food (mainly Greek food), but the family favorite is her browned butter spaghetti: spaghetti with lots of browned butter and Parmesan cheese. We’ve eaten it a bajillion times alongside her Greek salad and lemons roasted chicken. It never gets old!
I love this post and wish I had hours to pore over each comment.
There is honestly nothing secret about my “famous pasta salad” except, possibly, I do make it with love, but it’s the thing I’m asked to bring to every family event. there isn’t even consistency except in the pasta and the mayo, because I just toss in whatever I feel like adding. I now take the serving portion and a separate mini portion for the host :)
Before my mom died I asked her why relatives complained that their versions of all her things never turned out the same as hers. She laughed. She always gave them the exact recipe. But for instance her applesauce cake (a favorite) if the recipe called for two cups applesauce…she put in 2 and 3/4s. If a cup of chocolate chips was good in cookies 2 1/2 made it hers. If she didn’t Iike an ingredient she would leave it out or substitute. Non essential ingredients she felt, were/are only a suggestion.
btw…she didn’t CONSIOUSLY not tell people about her additions or subtraction to recipes. She really thought everyone baked that way. Its how I learned and how I also cook and bake.
This is exactly how I cook! I don’t think I could give anyone any of my recipes– not because I don’t want to, but because they’re all in my head and different every time!
Secret family recipes were a big thing when I was growing up (in Greece), mostly because every housewife wanted to be famous for her talents in the kitchen. Luckily, my grandma and her friends always shared their recipes so I got the chance to document them from early on. My grandma was famous for her olive oil and sesame cookies (koulourakia) a recipe which you can find here: https://www.thehungrybites.com/sesame-and-olive-oil-cookies/
I totally agree. It is a compliment to hear that someone likes what you made and you are happy to share the love! Taking it “to the grave” is nonsense!
You gotta love it when your family has a ‘secret’ recipe that you can find on Pinterest these days :) Or one that’s better, all for free, online! Lol just don’t tell the mammas!
Tbh, I don’t mind ppl not wanting to give out their secret family recipes. I mean it stings to be told no, but I’d rather the immediate disappointment than the bigger one down the line when you realize that the person whose recipe you wanted knowingly and deliberately gave you an inaccurate one. This passive aggressiveness is the worst, especially after you’d already sunk in the money, time and effort into buying the ingredients, blocking out a part of your day to make it and then being crestfallen when the dish doesn’t turn out as expected because the person withheld some key information. That is just the worst feeling.
I don’t even know what it’s called – lumpia sariwa? It’s fresh lumpia made with vegetables and fish tofu. I ask for it every time I visit my grandma and now that she is in her 90s my mom makes it. I’ve been asking for the recipe but have yet to receive!
The filling is the veggies and tofu. Green beans, carrots. Then fresh rice wrapper that we would keep in damp towels at the table. Then seaweed with fried rice noodle, scrambled egg strips, vinegar and garlic sauce, and crushed peanuts with sugar to add as you like.
I also love this onion pie recipe from my old manager’s wife. It’s become a staple at our Xmas porterhouse steak dinner:
For a 9 inch pie:
1 Pepperidge farm (or other) pie dough
3 large onions diced
3/4 stick of salted butter
1 1/4 cups evaporated Carnation whole milk
1 heaping spoon of cornstarch (1/4 cup might be too much)
1 cup grated cheese (use your favorite) – I use gouda or fontina which melt well
2 tbs of grated parmesan cheese for the finish
Salt to taste
Pinch of nutmeg
In saucepan, lightly cook the onions in the butter until they start getting translucent. In a separate pan, melt the cornstarch with 1/4 cup of milk and set aside. In a third container, bring 1 cup of milk to a boil and slowly pour it in the cornstarch mixture while whisking, to avoid lumps. Add the cheese, the salt and the nutmeg, then the cooked onions. Pour into the unbaked pie dish. Sprinkle with the parmesan cheese and bake until it starts getting golden (10-15 minutes?)
I had a great aunt who made this amazing pineapple cake with cream cheese frosting. My sister requested every year for her birthday. Nobody knew how to make it. Shortly before she died, a family member insisted the recipe get written down. They watched her make it, throwing handfuls of ingredients in the bowl, guessing the measurements of everything to finally create the recipe!
I have quite a few “secret family recipes” mostly because I love to cook and now that I am 62 have refined and perfected many recipes. I do pass them out to people who ask politely. But I do tell them they have to follow the recipes exactly as written, using the specified pans, ingredients and temperatures or else the result will not be the same. My one ” secret recipe” i kept to myself for quite a number of years–the King Arthur Flour Gluten free chocolate cake mix.I steadfastly refused to divulge the secret until my daughter in law begged me for it. I was a bit embarrassed but quite frankly, I cannot make a chocolate cake that tastes this good so quickly and reliably.
Susan! How sweet. Can we be friends?
My Grandmother used to make this amazing fruit dip.
At family gatherings, we’d all hover around the bowl, eating as much as we could before it ran out–it was always the first thing to disappear. Over the years, she would make larger bowls (sometimes several bowls) for each holiday or event.
Just before she died, she gave me the handwritten recipe and a basket of the ingredients as a housewarming gift. Turns out it was 90% marshmallow fluff… of course it made every fruit more delicious!
My mom just published a column on her favorite secret recipe in our local news https://www.lowellsun.com/2020/08/09/conquering-uncertainty-with-cake-and-love/
How sad that the recipe will not be shared. The sale of it could be a great fundraiser for some charity. This is what I am planning to do with my late mother’s very secret peach cobbler recipe. I have searched the internet and my vast collection of cookbooks (over 700) and have never found it. I do not know where she found it or if she made it up. Just a thought
I never understand the “I can’t share the recipe” comment. I would think one of the best things about a family recipe is to share it and let the love get passed around.
My MIL comes to visit every year for a month because my husband’s family is from Argentina, and when she comes she is nonstop cooking. She offered to hand-write all her famous recipes me and my husband love, which was so sweet, but they are just a liiittle too vague. My favorite ‘instructions’- “…put it in the oven and bake until it’s done” no temperature or time given! Or “one mug flour/sugar/oil,” any mug will do! Lol. Even if it isn’t meant to be a family secret I don’t think I could replicate them correctly if I tried. Thankfully, she is always willing to shower us with lots of yummy food whenever we see her :)
What a treat to have your mother in law’s cooking and recipes! This reminded me of this article on David Lebovitz’s blog… about imprecise recipes and how much of it comes down to doing it over and over until you know your oven/stove/ingredients:
My MIL is famous among her friends for her legendary Christmas fruitcake (the secret ingredient is multiple liberal doses of rum!), which she is also famous for refusing to share. According to her, the friend who’s always bugging her for her recipe runs a bakery in town, and she swears he would then turn around and sell an inferior version of her cake (with much less rum/ingredients), make money off of the hard work and years she put into perfecting it, and worse, tell people it was her recipe! Obviously I wouldn’t be able to verify any of this so I just nod and agree with her every time she brings up the story at Christmas, ha!
What I find hilarious though is that she’s also started doing that with a cake that *I* make for her. Every Christmas I’ll ask her if there’s anything I can bake for her and each time she’ll request the same cake — my own flourless chocolate fudge cake, for which I’m low-key famous. After our visit, she’ll have her friends over for tea and trot out my cake, which she’ll proudly announce was made by her DIL and then with much pomp bequeath one slice (and only one slice!) to each friend. She’s told me with no small amount of glee that her friends always go nuts over it and insist that they want to order it from me, to which she always proclaims, “Sorry, this cake is for family only!” .
This is hilarious & wonderful!! xoxo
Actually I’d be more than happy to share the recipe with her, but she’s never asked! I guess because she feels so strongly about sharing her fruitcake recipe, she assumed I’d feel the same? Also I think she’d prefer to have me make it, coz food always tastes yummier when someone makes something for you out of the love in their heart. The intention of the baker/cook in spreading joy always comes through in their creation ❤️
That’s such an act of love – building you up and showing you love and respect through food!
my wonderful piano teacher i had growing up would make the most amaaaaazing brownies for our recitals. i finally worked up the nerve to ask for the recipe and turns out it was duncan hines mix! haha
sometimes knowing how much the person who bakes something loves you makes it that much more delicious.
My grandmother always said her mission in life was to feed people and she spent every day doing just that. She had several restaurants over the years in KY and everything was made by hand. She even fed people during the depression whether they could pay or not. Her bread was famous and was made in a 5 gallon bucket…. trucker’s would “reserve” bread on Friday’s so they could take it home to their families for the weekend. She cooked a lot by feel (biscuits) and intuition and tasting along the way. She always shared her recipes but nothing tasted the same as when she made it herself. Love really is the secret ingredient. Sadly, when she passed, my mom didn’t think to grab her recipe box. Later on, when we did think about it, we found out her 2nd husband had given it to her caretaker. So sad that so many of her recipes are gone for good.
My BOYFs mother was reacting to news that he had given me the family’s German Potato Salad recipe. (She hadn’t met me yet). Mom: “You gave her the SECRET recipe!”
BOYF: Which part of it is secret, mom?
Mom: “The mayonnaise.”
Five years later we still laugh about that every time we make it!
My great grandma famously shared all her secret recipes with my mom and her sisters. The recipes however, never quite tasted the same. To their dismay they discovered she omitted one or two key ingredients in every single recipe. It sounds odious, but her intention was that you could only eat these amazing things at her house so the kids were always motivated to go visit her :) She did take all her secrets to the grave, oh well!
Yes, my paternal grandmother had a secret recipe for a steamed cranberry pudding served only at Christmas time. When I asked her for the recipe, she did give it to me with the proviso, “We don’t give this out, you know”. Later on, she did say that perhaps she’d been too protective of the recipe. She was a wonderful cook and hostess. After she died, I got her recipe box full of handwritten recipe cards. I typed out all the recipe cards in to the computer, printed a master copy, and then had that copied and bound to distribute to family members. I could actually taste some of the recipes as I typed them! And the recipe cards indicated from whom she’d received the original recipe (including the cranberry pudding!).
I also did the same thing with my maternal grandmother’s recipe binder. She was also a wonderful cook. And fortunately, that grandmother was still alive at the time, so I was able to give her a copy of the typed recipe book for Christmas.
I found the recipe cards to be a real historical record of my grandmothers’ friends and also of the places where they had lived.
That’s so lovely :) One thing my in-laws do is color copy the original recipe with the Grandmother/mom’s handwriting and then laminate and hand out. It’s really special.
One of the most beautiful gifts I’ve ever received was a scrap book full of favourite recipes from my team members in Germany. I was leaving and it was my farewell gift. Each of them chose their favourite recipe, many of which had been handed down within their own families. 40 amazing recipes a lot of which I still cook to this day, more than 17 years later. A truly amazing gift.
One of my good friends made this for another friend on the eve of her wedding. Although we’d all been living away from our parents, it was a lovely way to prepare for her new home and she still talks us about each of the recipes each friend submitted.
My mom makes Turkey Gumbo the day after Thanksgiving. My granddaddy made peach ice cream- I can’t find the recipe. My stepmom has this wonderful mashed carrots. You boil them, add crushed garlic, velveta or cheddar cheese, and a ton of butter.
This is hardly a recipe, but it’s a crowd pleaser and one of the dishes my father mastered: pepperoni and eggs. Fry 4 to 6 ounces of sliced pepperoni in a large skillet over medium heat until it begins to get crispy. While it’s cooking, beat 6 to 9 eggs (3 eggs per person…trust me!). When the pepperoni is crisp, turn up the heat a little, add the eggs, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until they reach the level of firmness you like in a scrambled egg.
Trying this tomorrow! Thanks!
I make a matzah brei that’s very similar to this, but I use salami instead of pepperoni.
We love our chips and salsa in Texas and I make a Shrimp and Avocado Salsa that looks beautiful and tastes so good that I’ve even caught friends who “don’t eat seafood” eating it heartily. People can’t quite figure out the “secret” ingredient that makes it so wonderful. It’s……….ketchup. :)
Ketchup! Did not see that coming ?
That sounds amazing! Can you please share the recipe??
I have my great grandmother’s “Cheap Gingerbread” recipe, scrawled in her handwriting on a piece of brown paper. It’s a recipe that’s never been shared outside of our family. My daughter-in-law loves this cake. On their wedding day I had a copy tucked in my purse and presented it with a flourish after giving them a toast. We still laugh about it…six years later.
Growing up, my mom would make her mother’s (secret family) cheese dip recipe. Even I didn’t know what was in it, and she would joke that she’d give me the recipe on my wedding day. I ended up getting married at 19, and it’s a running joke that I did it for the cheese dip recipe (which she did give me on the day of!). It’s not true, of course, but it certainly was a nice bonus!
But you’re keeping it secret? ?
My grandparents owned a drive-in in Sedalia, Missouri that was famous for something they called the “Guber Burger” – it was a regular burger with peanut butter on it! It sounds weird but is sooooo delicious. The secret ingredient is Peter Pan smooth peanut butter, because it has to be oily enough to melt on the patty.
Oh my gosh! I’m from Missouri too – your grandparents are legendary! What a small world
I had a friend who once told me, you never really die if people still cook using your special recipes. I think this is true. Every time I make a shared recipe that I received from someone who is no longer with me, I think about them and remember them and the times we shared. It is one way to honor the special people who have been important in my life. And I happily share their recipes and stories with others.
Nicely said, Emily, and so true! So many of my recipes come from my beloved relatives and friends, some no longer with us. Such sweet memories every time I make them!
No secret recipes in our family. (Never understood that approach. Why not share the wealth?)
To that end, I recently created a family cookbook for my daughter’s 26th bday: recipes, cooking tips, old newspaper clippings, letters, and photos … primarily from my mom, who was an outstanding cook, but also from friends and extended family.
Hope it will inspire the next generation.
I have a secret chocolate cake recipe that I’ve made for nearly a decade now. I call it my “secret weapon”.
Just a few weeks ago my oldest was at his girl friends house and was eating chocolate cake after supper. “Hmmmm…. that tastes an awful lot like my mom’s secret weapon, can I see the recipe?”
I got a text a few minutes later with a picture of the popular recipe and the message “caught”.
So fun. Won’t stop me from making it…
My mother in law was a fabulous cook and people asked her for her recipes all the time. She started eating her own dishes every time she was invited to a dinner party. It drove her nuts. She had a recipe for artichoke soup that she then refused to give out and everyone wanted it. She passed it to me with the promise that I’d never share it. I’ve kept that promise but I sure wish she was still here to make it for me!
This has happened to me with my in-laws! Love that they like my recipes but then I never want to make/eat them when they’re often served to me.
My super power not-so-secret recipe is my Maw Maw’s pie crust. Y’all. And I’m beyond happy to share because everyone should benefit from this genius!
For a double crust-
2 cups flour (run your fork through your flour to “fluff” it so you don’t end up with a too-heavily packed cup)
1/2 tsp. salt
In a Pyrex measuring cup–
1/2+ cup of canola/veg oil
1/4+ cup of cold milk
(I’m putting the + because I’ve found in recent years the need to add a smidge more of each to wet all the flour.)
Pour the wet ingredients into the flour, then *this is very important for some reason??* mix it all together with a FORK.
When the dough is combined, roll out half with wax paper. Flip it into the pie pan, then roll out the other half in the wax paper, setting aside until you’re ready to top your pie.
That’s it! No vodka, no butter, literally just four ingredients and just enough technique to make people fall madly in love with you/your pies.
You have inspired me to add “make a blueberry pie” to my weekend to-do list! Thank you kindly!
This is my mom’s pie crust recipe. No idea where it came from because my grandma does not use it. But it’s foolproof and so so easy.
Thanks! I’ve added this to my recipe box.
This is my dads pie crust! It’s the BEST. we use a full teaspoon of salt (and that way the recipe “counts down” from 2, 1, 1/2, 1/3).
My Grandmother Anna was such a great cook, I would beg her for some of her recipes, chicken soup, cabbage and noodles, pot roast, Pork chops and peas, they sound so simple but the way she made them was just incredible. She’d always say NO! but then later when I least expected it she would whisper to me ‘Meet me in the kitchen at (whatever time) and we can make (special dish)’ then it would seem so secret and special! I still make all of her recipes, they are divine. BTW- the secret to her Pot Roast is Gingersnaps, you know the old fashioned hard ones that come in the box? yup, just Gingersnaps, probably like 6 or 7 of them, they melt in the sauce and it’s the best pot roast I’ve ever had. ever.
That’s how my grandmother-in-law made her sauerbraten.
Our family has a “secret” recipe, but not in the intense, bring it to your grave way (what is that even. ). My mom’s mom’s famous peanut butter bars. You could only get the recipe when you got married (it was the “dowry” – boy or girl, didn’t matter). True to form, my aunt brought a typewritten card with the recipe on it to my wedding :)
Here is my flourless chocolate cake recipe. I make it for Birthdays and always make it for Easter. I also top it with chocolate ganache and raspberries. So delicious and tastes even better as the days go on – and is even better after 20 seconds in the microwave.
250g (9oz) dark chocolate chopped
100g (3.5oz) caster (superfine) sugar
100g (3.5oz) butter cubed
125g (4.5oz) of almond meal
5 eggs seperated
Pre-heat oven to 180c (350f)
Place chocolate, sugar and butter in a heatproof bowl and sit over a saucepan of simmering water till melted
Trasfer melted chocolate mix to a large bowl and almond meal, then beat in the 5 egg yolks one at a time
In a seperate bowl mix the 5 egg whites until stiff peaks form- then gently fold in to the chocolate and almond mix gently with a metal spoon – figure eights to keep the air in the mixture
Bake for 40 minutes (test after 35)
You can dust with icing sugar or melt chocolate over the same bowl over sauce pan method and add a little cream or butter to make it pouring consistency.
Recipes are for sharing – Enjoy !
Hi CB! This is so similar to version 2 from Jill Dupleix. She uses 250g chocolate 150g sugar 150g butter 100g almond 5 eggs. The method is the same. Now we just need a chocolate loving recipe tester to taste test all three variations! Regardless of the tweaks – it is a fantastic flourless chocolate cake!
I have never understood secret recipes. I am always happy if someone wants a recipe of mine and am always happy to share. They are family recipes not a restaurant recipe that you don’t share so people will come to your restaurant to have it.
Our secret family recipe is a flourless chocolate cake too!
My dad makes a “secret sauce” for grilled chicken. We’ve called it a “secret sauce” ever since I was a kid. I’m pretty sure it’s just a magical combination of everyday ingredients (like ketchup and vinegar), but my husband recently asked him for the recipe and he said no! So now we always joke with him that we are going to film him making it :)
My husband makes all sorts of Mexican food (he’s 1st gen Mexican/Honduran) – taquitos, aguas frescas, sopas. The rest of my family is always asking for the recipe when I post his bomb dinners on insta, but it’s all in his head and learned passed down from his family, and from his father’s Mexican restaurant! It would be great to have it written down some day, but also, it’s tradition to pass it down through learning with your hands. I look forward to my son (and other future children) learning this hands on from their dad :)
Theres a co-op in town and an older lady Sherry would make the most INSANE chicken salad. I’m a vegetarian and I would eat it lol! It was a secret recipe and would sell out everyday. She no longer works there and my husband and I will forever dream about it for the rest of our lives!
We don’t have secret recipes, but I have a few videos of my mother making her signature dishes. People of her generation don’t use recipes, they learned it either by learning aside someone who was cooking it, or by cooking it again and again until they are satisfied. Writing down is tedious (because they are mostly Chinese cooking that involves a lot of work), and by recording her in action, we will be able to retain not only the techniques, but part of my aging mother’s essence: her voice, the way she talks, her laughters, her face. I have started asking my 10 years old children what are their favorite dishes, and started writing and collecting the recipes for them, because I was diagnosed with stage III breast cancer early this year. I hope I can still be around for another 10 years, to raise their younger siblings, to be there to cook the special food my mother made for me when I had menstrual cramps, or when they need a little comfort or encouragement. Cooking for someone can achieves that, and delivers more than we thought to the receivers. If I am not around anymore, I hope they can have a piece of their childhood memories, part of my love, that when they cook and eat the food, they found themselves home and loved, again and again.
Yes! My Chinese mom never writes down anything and is not all that descriptive when I ask for amounts. I have tried taking notes, but I love this idea of video! Thanks for this tip!
Sending you the best wishes for your health. I can hear the love in your words about this connection with food, your mom, and your kids. I’m sending you warmth and connection – that same feeling you get when you share a warm bao with a loved one : )
oh CW, your comment is so touching and you are in CoJ prayers for sure. How beautiful your connection is to food, family and generations.
Sending you love and saying prayers for your health. Your children are so blessed to have such a loving and thoughtful mom xx
The very best of wishes to you throughout your breast cancer journey. Your post makes it clear that you are an amazing mother. Your care and thoughtfulness ensures that you will always be a part of your children’s lives.
My grandmother’s secret brownie recipe turned out to be ghirardelli. She finally disclosed it after we nagged her about getting the recipe for years! Still the best brownies, IMO
That is MY secret recipe LOL!
OMG, me too….the dark chocolate one!
My secret recipe too…hahaha! But I do a homemade frosting and it really elevates it!
I really hate that answer!! Food is meant to be shared, right? Unless you somehow make money from your recipe I don’t know why you wouldn’t share it.
I have a secret salted chocolate chunk cookie recipe and a zucchini bread recipe. Everyone loves them and it’s what keeps people wanting to stop around for a cuppa so I keep it secret!
I’ve also just nailed the perfect balance in a chilli oil and spicy Asian sauce! As the first of my family who really loves cooking I plan to make these family secret recipes that I’ll share with my kids!
We have a secret family recipe for Swedish meatballs and gravy. (They’re from IKEA but you don’t really want to tell your dinner guests that so “it’s my husband’s Swedish grandma’s secret recipe!”)
My family has an amazing spoon fudge recipe. Soft and delicious right from the pot and even refrigerated.
My uncle was gifted the secret family recipe from my grandmother and his siblings swear he gives them all altered recipes as none can make it like him.
He promised he gave me his real recipe but over the years I have altered it too (especially when friends ask for the recipe!)
I’ve been making a flourless chocolate cake for years and am always asked for the recipe, which I happily share. It is from Jill Dupleix (an Australian food writer), who modified an Elizabeth David recipe. I just searched online for it and found that there are two versions – one with 1 tbsp of espresso and 1 tbsp of rum/brandy (the one I make), and the other with no espresso/rum but an extra 50g of chocolate. I will now try it with espresso/rum AND the extra chocolate!
This is what Jill has to say about the recipe: “I swear I will put this classic French flourless chocolate, coffee and almond cake in every cook book I ever do, just in case there is one person out there who doesn’t already know it. I first came across it in Elizabeth David’s French Provincial Cooking, immediately doubled the chocolate content and have been pathetically grateful ever since.”
In case the link doesn’t work:
200 g (7 oz) dark, bitter chocolate (couverture), chopped (min 70% cacao)
1 tbsp strong espresso coffee
1 tbsp rum or brandy
150 g (5¼ oz) caster sugar (fine, granulated white sugar)
150 g (5¼ oz) butter (unsalted)
100 g (3½ oz) ground almonds or hazelnuts
5 eggs, separated
icing sugar for dusting
Heat oven to 180°C (350°F). Melt the chocolate, coffee, rum or brandy, sugar and butter in a bowl sitting in a pot of simmering
water. (You can do this in the microwave.) Remove from heat and stir until well mixed.
Add ground almonds and mix well. Beat in the egg yolks, one by one. Beat egg whites until stiff and peaky, and stir a couple of spoonfuls into the chocolate mixture to lighten it, before gently folding in the rest.
Turn into a buttered and floured 20 cm (8 in) round or square cake tin, and bake for 40 to 50 minutes. Leave to cool before removing from tin and don’t worry if the crust falls and collapses. That’s perfectly normal, if not desirable. Dust with icing sugar to serve.
Jill Dupleix, Old Food, Published in 1998.
If you make the cake and like it, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE share the recipe and tell everyone it’s from Jill and Elisabeth.
From your experience, do you think it’d be better to bake this in a springform pan?
Hi Emma, I usually make it in an ordinary cake pan – well buttered and with a dusting of cocoa powder. Once it’s cooled in the tin, just run a spatula around the edge and remove. It’s very forgiving. If you want a more fudgy texture remove from the oven after 40 minutes leaving it in longer makes it a bit more cake-like.
My Grandma has given me a lot of her recipes, and I have a few of my mother-in-law’s…but I don’t think they are secret. But they are full of memories.
I do however, have the secret recipe for the Caesar salad dressing from a local restaurant that people go mad for. I have to tell people its a secret when they ask for the recipe.
‘Family Recipe’ in my family means…store bought, boxed mix, etc!
Recipes food benin
Secret Chicken Karaage Recipe (Juicy Even Using Breast Meat).
Hello everybody, hope you're having an amazing day today. Today, I will show you a way to prepare a distinctive dish, secret chicken karaage recipe (juicy even using breast meat). One of my favorites. This time, I'm gonna make it a little bit tasty. This is gonna smell and look delicious.
Secret Chicken Karaage Recipe (Juicy Even Using Breast Meat) is one of the most popular of current trending meals on earth. It is appreciated by millions every day. It's easy, it is fast, it tastes yummy. They are nice and they look fantastic. Secret Chicken Karaage Recipe (Juicy Even Using Breast Meat) is something which I have loved my whole life.
To get started with this recipe, we have to first prepare a few ingredients. You can have secret chicken karaage recipe (juicy even using breast meat) using 10 ingredients and 12 steps. Here is how you cook it.
The ingredients needed to make Secret Chicken Karaage Recipe (Juicy Even Using Breast Meat):
Steps to make Secret Chicken Karaage Recipe (Juicy Even Using Breast Meat):
- Prep the ingredients. Slice the ginger without peeling it..
- Take any excess fat off the chicken breasts, and butterfly open the thick parts of the breast so that it's a uniform thickness all around..
- Tip: Cut the breast meat into large pieces. This way it doesn't dry out when it's fried and comes out very juicy.
- Put the cut up chicken and the ingredients marked ● (salt, pepper, curry powder, Chinese soup stock) in a bowl and massage the flavoring ingredients well into the meat. The point here it to add a little curry powder..
- Add the sake, soy sauce and ginger to the bowl and mix well..
- Let it marinate for 20 to 40 minutes to flavor it well..
- Pat the chicken pieces dry with paper towels..
- Put katakuriko in a plastic bag with some of the chicken pieces (about 6 at a time) and shake..
- Shake off any excess flour..
- Deep fry in 170°C to 180°C oil. (Put the chicken pieces in one by one by hand, and don't move around right away.).
- When the chicken has fried to a golden brown, drain them well..
- Finished. Serve with sudachi citron or lemon..
So that's going to wrap this up with this special food secret chicken karaage recipe (juicy even using breast meat) recipe. Thank you very much for reading. I'm confident you will make this at home. There's gonna be more interesting food at home recipes coming up. Don't forget to bookmark this page in your browser, and share it to your loved ones, friends and colleague. Thank you for reading. Go on get cooking!
3-Ingredient Brownies Recipe: This Easy Brownie Recipe Has a Secret Ingredient by Kathy Widenhouse
Homemade brownies with just three ingredients? Yep, that’s all you need to make this easy brownie recipe. The secret is Nutella – the chocolate hazelnut spread made from cocoa, sugar, milk and fat. (That’s all the good stuff you usually include in brownies.) Using Nutella saves steps and means you don’t need to measure and add other ingredients. In less than five minutes, these brownies will be in the oven.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Here's how to make them:
- Line an 8x8-inch baking pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper, allowing ends of foil to extend over two sides of the pan. Coat the foil lightly with vegetable spray.
- Put all three ingredients in a bowl. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, combine the mixture, scraping the bowl constantly, until the brownie batter is smooth and all the flour has been absorbed. Batter will be very thick.
- Use a spatula or a large mixing spoon to scoop dollops of batter from the mixing bowl into the pan. Spread the batter evenly.
- Bake 20 to 25 minutes in a preheated 350-degree F oven until brownies are set and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Do not over bake. Remove brownies from the oven and allow the pan to cool completely on a wire cooling rack.
- Grasp ends of aluminum foil and lift the brownies from the pan. Peel away foil. Cut brownies into squares.
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Pandemic Pantry: A List for Eating Well With Humble Ingredients
Social distancing and quarantines don't mean you have to live on canned soup alone.
Welcome to the new coronavirus kitchen. Many of us have practice in stocking up for storms and such, but the pandemic pantry is a slightly different animal. Hurricane shopping, for instance, has people buying "hedonic products" to weather the storm – like cookies, chips, and alcohol, along with the bottled water and batteries.
But stocking up in the face of a pandemic varies a bit. We expect to have power and gas, so cooking and food storage shouldn't be a problem. That said, in preparation for a pandemic the government recommends having a two-week supply of food on hand. Which makes many people think: Canned soup, rice and beans, pasta, and 46 cases of granola bars.
With this in mind, we took a look through our archives, and as it turns out, our food section is basically like Little House on the Prairie meets Pinterest – which is to say, pretty pandemic friendly. In terms of delicious basics, we've got this covered. Here's a start we will keep adding as we find more.
5 Foods You Should Always Have in Your Fridge
One secret to preparing healthy meals is having the right ingredients on hand. Here are five basics our dietitians believe no fridge should be without:
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“Eggs really are the perfect food — especially local eggs that come from chickens you know,” says Kristin Kirkpatrick, MS, RD, LD.
Conveniently packaged, eggs are rich in nutrients, low in calories and packed with high-quality protein.
“In moderation, eggs are an affordable, easy protein source for breakfast (in veggie omelets), snacks, salads and dinner (in stir-fries),” says Anna Taylor, MS, RD, LD, CDE.
Although you can eat unlimited egg whites, egg yolks are high in cholesterol.
“If you have, or are at risk for, heart disease, limit yourself to two to four egg yolks per week, depending on your risk factors,” advises Julia Zumpano, RD, LD.
“For general health, limit yourself to six or seven egg yolks per week (about one a day).”
She recommends keeping half a dozen hard-boiled eggs on hand for snacks or salads. They’ll keep in your fridge for one week.
2. Fresh veggies
“I keep a variety of fresh veggies in my fridge at all times: broccoli, bell peppers, carrots and other basics, plus fun veggies like sugar snap peas or asparagus,” says Ms. Taylor.
Think produce is expensive? “It should make up one-third of your diet, so it should take up one-third of your grocery budget,” she says.
For faster prep, buy veggies prewashed and precut (or do this yourself on weekends). Add veggies to your favorite recipes, dip them in hummus, saute them or roast them.
For Ms. Zumpano, it’s all about the leafy greens: They’re packed with vitamins (A, B2, B6, C, E and K, and folate) and minerals (calcium, copper, fiber, magnesium, potassium and zinc).
“I keep a large container of organic spinach, arugula, mixed baby greens or spring mix in my fridge at all times to add to soups, salads, rice, pasta, smoothies and protein shakes,” she says.
Love salads, but hate the prep? Buy salad kits in the produce section. “They allow you to make restaurant-quality salads in minutes,” says Hillary Sullivan, RDN, LD. Complete with crunchy toppings and dressing, just add a lean protein to your salad kit to make a meal.
“But beware of the high-calorie dressings,” she cautions. “I recommend using half the packaged dressing and half balsamic vinegar.”
“Berries are low in sugar, compared to other fruits, and quite versatile,” says Ms. Zumpano. They’re rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals (specifically vitamin C, folate, potassium and fiber).
She adds berries to cooked grains and dry whole-grain cereal, yogurt, smoothies and protein shakes.
Ms. Kirkpatrick is partial to blueberries. “I always have them on hand. You can take a handful for a quick snack, and blueberries are an easy add-on for oatmeal and salads,” she says.
4. Low-fat Greek yogurt
Plain, non-fat or low-fat Greek yogurt is a good source of probiotics and protein.
“It has twice the protein of regular yogurt, with none of the added sugar in flavored yogurts,” says Ms. Taylor. “Greek yogurt is definitely a staple in my home.”
Top yogurt with fresh or frozen fruit (and cinnamon) for breakfast or snacks.
“Or use 2% reduced-fat plain Greek yogurt to add instant tang, like sour cream or cream cheese would, to any meal,” says Ms. Sullivan.
Both dietitians suggest using Greek yogurt:
- As a base for creamy dressings, dips and sauces
- To replace mayonnaise in egg or tuna salad
- As a substitute for sour cream on chili and tacos
- To add protein to baked goods (like oatmeal banana pancakes)
- To add protein to oatmeal
5. Other lean proteins
Cooked chicken breast. Grilled turkey burgers. Beans. Quinoa. “These ready-to-eat lean proteins make prepping dinner quick and easy at the end of a long day,” says Ms. Sullivan.
Ms. Kirkpatrick would add tempeh to that list. She uses it in a variety of meals and snacks.
“I love tempeh for two reasons,” she says. “First, because it’s made from soybeans, it provides wonderful isoflavones that help fight disease. Second, it’s fermented, which helps provide more good bacteria for my gut.”
So put these items on your grocery list, and keep your fridge well-stocked with them. You’ll find yourself enjoying healthy, amazing meals all week long.
This might seem like an obvious one, but finely ground coffee can be substituted for powdered espresso. Try to stay away from coarsely ground coffee if you can help it.
Flax and chia seeds are popular substitutes for eggs in recipes, but they can be difficult to find or expensive. Orange juice, applesauce and canned pumpkin puree are simple options. If you use a substitute with higher sugar content (such as orange juice or applesauce), you should reduce the amount of added sugar in your recipe. Buying unsweetened applesauce is also an alternative.
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