Pinch of MysteryThe bitter truth about secret ingredients.

Pinch of MysteryThe bitter truth about secret ingredients.

In the children’s book Strega Nona, a village herbalist in Calabria owns a magic pot that can produce an endless flow of delicious pasta. Her boarder, a bumbling oaf named Big Anthony, tries to use the pot while she is away, bringing disaster. His mistake? He didn’t know to blow three kisses after chanting the magic spell.

Spoken about in whispers, guarded by barchans, bubbles and bibs the world over, culinary secrets—most often ingredients—are handed down with ritualistic seriousness, like cast-iron pans. And yet these secrets often turn out to be quite ordinary: a pinch of pepper in the strawberry pie, a touch of sugar in the ragù, a dash of plum vinegar in the pot roast. And yet we obsess, arguing beyond reason that our family’s sweet potato pie is like no other, or rushi...

The full version of this story is only available for subscribers

Want to enjoy full access? Subscribe Now

Subscribe Discover unlimited access to Kinfolk

  • Four print issues of Kinfolk magazine per year, delivered to your door, with twelve-months’ access to the entire Kinfolk.com archive and all web exclusives.

  • Receive twelve-months of all access to the entire Kinfolk.com archive and all web exclusives.

Learn More

Already a Subscriber? Login

Your cart is empty

Your Cart (0)