Section 1:
Situational Awareness (10%)

  • Who is asking?
  • How did they ask?
  • Did they cross a lawn/room to make the ask?
  • How big of a mouth do they have?
  • Did other people overhear? If so, did they chime in?

Section 2:
Threat Assessment (30%)

  • How close does a Google recipe search come to your original?
  • Is the person a friend?
  • They should know better.
  • Does the person live nearby?
  • Has this person ever seen you without makeup?
  • How much time has passed?
  • Number of times they have reminded you (1-2 socialite, 3-4 possible cook, 5+ babushka-serious)

Section 3:
Skill Assessment (20%)

  • Can they carry it off?
  • To your standards?
  • Are they able to recipe-reciprocate in the future?
  • How recipe-selfish are they?
  • How many reciprocal recipes is yours worth? [Choose an accounting method: Old World Family 3 × 5 cards or Millennial]

Section 4:
Long-term impact (20%)

  • Can you see yourself associated with this person three years from now?
  • Will they give you credit?
  • Have you ever heard them credit other sources out loud?
  • Answer honestly: if they use it, your recipe reputation will [soar/plummet]
  • Do they have a good cook in the family? Does said cook like this person?
  • What do you want that the Real Cook has?
  • Is the Real Cook within five years of dying? [yes/no]

Section 5:
Origin Story (20%)

  • From whom did you get the original?
  • How much of a liar was s/he?
  • Do you like the originator?
  • Do you like them more because of the lie?
  • Is the originator dead? (If deceased, your belief system posits that this entity: [exists somewhere and can get at you; exists ethereally; is just super dead])
  • How much did you pay for it? (“Payment” can be defined broadly. Using Base 10, tabulate: # of years of criticism; # years of guilt (real or imagined); attendance at mind-numbing family events; endurance of close talkers, medical horror stories, political views, placement at the singles table, any forced photo-viewing; amount of flattery required each time you see the originator.
  • Have you amended the recipe over the years? [nope/no!/well…]
  • Honest self-assessment: your version represents __% of the original

Add and weight the percentages above.
Then deliver a “recipe” accordingly:

0-10%: The social climber: A Martha or Epicurious version with back-ordered ingredients.

11-20%: The stranger (or, a family member being downgraded to stranger): Any blog version featuring: mason jars, outdoor string lights, a background picture of cupcakes, a sleepy cat, black & white photography, a mustache, the word ‘lite,’ exclamation points (anywhere), or starting with the confessional: “Ok guys” or “I’m just a…” or “So yesterday….”

21-50%: They were wearing taupe: A Joy of Cooking version, with amounts secretly converted to metric. Acceptable substitute: unconverted, but run through Google translate. Any language will do.

51-75%: The tolerable neighbor: A Rachel Ray version in loopy writing across five pink Post-It notes, out of order. Wine-stain optional.

76-100%: Never. They represent a domestic hegemonic threat.