The Dirty Secret of “Secret Family Recipes”, also found via Kottke.

For real, everyone praised my fudge making skills when I was young. All I did was follow the recipe on the marshmallow fluff container, but they all called it “Steve’s Fudge” and asked for it every holiday season.

This supports a firm belief I’ve had since my young adulthood - the person cooking the recipe matters. Cooking is more than instructions, ingredients, technique, and talent; the care and energy of the person making the dish is a necessary and vital factor in how the final product comes out. Even if the preparer remains nameless to the diner, even if the steps and ingredients are identical to the person working in the same kitchen, even if the final products are molecularly identical, food made by someone who cares will taste better than someone just going through the motions. I am a firm materialist and skeptic, and I will die on this hill - putting your energy into your food, be that energy love or passion or curiosity or dedication, will make the final dish sing on everyone’s tongue.