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This week, we embark on a flavorful journey through time, where family recipes not only tantalize taste buds but also safeguard tales of tradition and secrets passed down generations, particularly during the holiday season.

Family recipes are like whispered legends, carrying the essence of heritage and history. Beyond the mere mix of ingredients, these culinary treasures transcend time, embodying tradition and culture. During holidays, these dishes take center stage, weaving narratives of ancestors into the fabric of our celebrations.

From Great-Grandma’s pudding to Aunt Sue’s cherished stuffing, these recipes reflect eras of scarcity where creativity served as the main spice. Their evolution spans continents and generations, adapting to new lands while preserving the essence of bygone eras.

Within this broader historical context, my personal family recipes intertwine with our own saga. There was the notorious Blueberry Bat Pie incident, when a bat’s uninvited cameo disrupted our baking endeavors. Then, the ongoing potato saga—my sister’s love for onions versus my aversion—spiced up our mashed potatoes. And oh, the ranch dressing milkshake experiment—a lesson in flavors better left unexplored!

Beyond their flavorsome tales, family recipes possess a hidden treasure: intellectual property and trade secrets. Passed down and protected by generations, these recipes are akin to guarded manuscripts. While not formally protected by patents or copyrights, they’re shielded as valuable trade secrets—known to a select few, ensuring their uniqueness and exclusivity within the family circle.

Take, for instance, the legendary Coca-Cola formula—a closely guarded secret for over a century, known only to a handful of individuals. Or the Colonel’s secret blend of herbs and spices that make up KFC’s unmistakable flavor. And what about Cadbury’s iconic chocolate, where the mystery lies not just in its decadence but also in the intricate method of getting that silky caramel filling inside the bar? These secrets, meticulously guarded, ensure that each distinctive taste remains an exclusive pleasure reserved for the brand’s aficionados.

As we indulge in these familial culinary treasures this holiday season, we savor not only taste but also the rich tapestry of history and memories they bring to our tables. These recipes are more than food; they’re the heartbeat of our family’s legacy, held dear through secrecy and tradition.

Join in celebrating not just the flavors but the carefully guarded secrets behind each dish—stories of resilience, adaptation, and the laughter echoing across generations. These recipes are a testament to the richness of our heritage and the sanctity of culinary tradition, lovingly protected as treasured trade secrets within the family vault.

Now who wants to join our family for a ranch milkshake?!

Disclaimer: The ranch dressing milkshake experiment mentioned above is not recommended for the faint of heart or those seeking conventional taste adventures. In fact, proceeding (or even considering) will result in questionable culinary experiences that may not align with the traditional definition of “delicious.” Kindly exercise caution and, for the sake of your taste buds, consider sticking to tried-and-tested flavor combinations! Join our family for a delightful feast of holiday recipes, but leave the ranch milkshake to the brave souls daring enough to venture into uncharted flavor territories!


This content is not intended to provide legal advice or opinion as neither can be given without reference to specific events and situations. © 2021 Nelligan O’Brien Payne LLP.

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