I have always wondered about secret family recipes. Where do they really start? If they’re as old as most mothers suggest they are, how did they initially get clocked? More pressingly, how does the initial pass down begin and most importantly, is the interpretation, ostensibly littered by subsequent generations, ever as good as the original masterpiece-so-to-speak was?
I ask because my mother has been making a traditional Persian rice dish with cinnamon and carrots and sometimes chicken for as long as I’ve been able to chew and it is, she says, the best thing her mother gave her. Ask any of her three sisters to expound upon this idea of best-heirloom-ever and without argument, they will agree. The problem is, all three of them make the same dish. I’ve tried them all and it must be said: never ever do any of the four respective iterations taste at all like each other.
In fact, you’d never even know they’re using the same recipe.
My grandmother no longer lives which makes consulting her palette difficult if not impossible but I digress. My point is about recipes. How they get started, how they get passed down and whether or not something gets lost in translation.
But I don’t cook. So when I’m ripe enough to start passing anything down, it likely won’t be nutritious — not traditionally, anyway. No. So I’ve been thinking about the recipes I have accrued. Some are of the style variety. If you’re wearing denim cut offs, offset their boyish nature with a pair of espadrilles. If you want to wear a beach dress, throw your spectators off with a pair of sneakers or constructed, inappropriate-for-anything-but-pavement sandals. But these are subject to change.
Other are more tricks and tips than they are recipes: forgo throw pillows and win at least three minutes of your day back, everyday, or use dry shampoo instead of showers when you’re really, really tired.
And recently, I’ve come upon what I want to call The Motherlode Red Lipstick Combo and I want to call it the simplest recipe I will ever pass down. It only takes two ingredients and like, three smears across your top and bottom lis et voila, there you have it, a really good shade of red lip, well-textured and all.
You start with Dior’s Addict Fluid Stick, which is transparent, glossy, and red enough to call itself a stick but clear enough to wear beachside and tell people you woke up like that. I’ve been using #551. It is vaguely orange and makes the second/final step, Armani’s Lip Maestro in “Hollywood” (it is deep and “demure” like an actress or literal red carpet) –which when worn alone can be quite thick, dark and dry – a little lighter and softer and more playful.
Apply the fluid stick over the Lip Maestro should you please, or simply for a touch up to create a sandwich. And just like that, it really is a secret family recipe. I’m glad I shared with you.
Photos by Krista Anna Lewis