Occupation: College student
Residence: Denver, CO
Date of Performance/Collection: 4/30/2013
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s): Spanish
“Oh yeah so my mom has this secret recipe for flan… that… as I understand it you can make the flan in a third of the time as it usually takes, and it’s… considered the best flan anyone’s ever had… according to people who eat it, but I don’t like flan so I don’t actually know… um… and, yeah, she’s got this secret recipe and everyone she’s ever told this recipe to has like, vanished from our lives, and…”
[“Do you know the recipe yourself?”]
“Myself? No. I’ve glimpsed it but I don’t… I didn’t commit it to memory. Yeah… everyone who’s… who’s read the memory, has been like friends who then move away suddenly, and we never talk to them again… or like yeah, I don’t know, the worst was when she like… gave my girlfriend the recipe… and… and then yeah… and then she broke up with me. Eheheheh.”
[“Does everyone in your family now, like, believe the recipe…”]
“I mean, we knew the curse before she told, but she’s like… ‘okay, it’s alright, this will break the curse, and it didn’t…”
My friend is an Interactive Media and Games major at the University of Southern California. His father is from Colombia and his mother is from Spain. He was born in Texas.
This story is about one of his mother’s recipes, and for him, the flan is significant not so much because of its taste or recipe, but for its effect on his family’s friends. Thus, this is more about the folk belief than the particular foodway.
The curse of the flan does affect his family’s willingness to share the recipe. Apparently, the times his mother has been willing to give out the recipe have significantly lessened. But she does believe that there’s a possibility to break the curse. As the attempt to give it to my friend’s ex-girlfriend demonstrated, however, the curse has not yet been broken.
While the giving of the recipe and the departure of friends might not be correlated, the fact that my friend and his family correlate them indicate that there’s some belief that divulging this secret can actually lead to broken friendships. Since they believe in the curse, my friend’s family might not share as much as they could with their friends in order to maintain relationships.
One thought that I had while listening to the story is that it reflects a belief in distance for maintaining healthy friendships (not completely, but to some extent).
It’s interesting how my friend, who’s neither tasted nor made the flan, accepts that the curse exists through experience. There’s no need to explain it with any other factor outside of the giving of the recipe. Overall, it’s a humorous story and I wonder if the curse will ever be broken.