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Urban Legends

The Expensive Recipe

The Legend

A visitor to the Neiman-Marcus Café in Dallas purchased a cookie to go with her coffee. She enjoyed it so much that she asked for the recipe. The clerk said that the recipe would be "two fifty," which sounded reasonable enough. Later that month, when the woman received her credit card receipt, she found that she'd been charged $250 instead of the expected $2.50. Her lawyer advised her that she could not refuse the charge now, since she had agreed to it in the first place. As revenge, she is sending the recipe over the Internet to everyone she knows.

(variant)

A woman visited a shopping mall in New York was excited to try one of Mrs. Fields' famous chocolate chip cookies. After enjoying the expensively sweet dessert, she wrote for the recipe. It was sent to her accompanied by a bill for $250, which her lawyer advised her to pay. As revenge, she faxed the recipe to everyone she knew.

(variant)

A woman who dined in the dining room of the Waldorf-Astoria hotel in New York was excited to try their famed Red Velvet Cake. After enjoying the blood-colored dessert, she wrote for the recipe. It was sent to her accompanied by a bill for $250, which her lawyer advised her to pay. As revenge, after she got home she gave the recipe to everyone on the party line.

(variant)

A traveler on a wagon train moving out west loved the cook's special honey biscuits. She asked for the recipe and received it, but she misunderstood what the cook wanted for payment and was forced to give him her husband's good hunting dog instead of letting him marry her daughter. The wagon master was no help at all. As revenge, she taught all the other women on the train how to make the biscuits.

(variant)

The Polish ambassador to Germany very much loved the "Kaiser pudding" that was often served at dessert during dinner with the Chancellor. He asked for the recipe, and when the Chancellor said he was going to "let Poland have it," the ambassador thought he was talking about the pudding. He was wrong.

(variant)

A French woman thought that she had been given Marie Antoinette's revolutionary arc de chocolat recipe free of charge, what with recent "let them eat cake" comment and all. She was very distraught when a royal attendant later arrived at her chateau and demanded payment, which honor dictated she pay. As revenge, she spread the story far and wide, fomenting dissent against the monarchy.

(variant)

The café at the Temple of Athena had the audacity to charge a warrior in Hector's army two pieces of gold for their celebrated "sunlight baklava" recipe, instead of the two pieces of copper of what he had thought was their original agreement. He indeed had to pay, or fear the wrath of the gods. As revenge, he now roams the countryside singing the recipe to all who will listen.

(variant)

Eve thought that the apple the snake was offering looked delicious, and he assured her there was no substantial cost. After bringing it home to share with her husband, she received a bill for $250, which God assured her she had to pay. Embarrassed, Eve paid the bill, then she and her husband made themselves some new clothes and left town.


Behind the Legend

There's not much to say about this one. People have obviously been falling for this scam for years, and as long as there are people who want to cook and cooks who can phrase an ambiguous offer, this one is going to be with us.


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