Thank you for all the advice. My dh had already told me to go ahead and give out the recipe - but I wanted to check with you all first :) The main reason I was hesitant to share is that I feel like the cookie recipe will no longer be something unique that I can bring to the Christmas gathering where my MIL already prepares most of the goodies herself. But I'm convinced I ought to go ahead and send her the recipe. The cookie recipe is really not fancy at all - Swedish Pepparkakor...(with lots of zested orange peel and cardamom...trimmed with royal icing) - but still delicious.
It is interesting how favorite family recipes sometimes do not go over well with folks outside of the family (I grew up in Canada but my heritage is quite mixed with Swedish/Scottish and Polish/Ukrainian). One of my all time favorite desserts is butter tarts (which seem more common in Canada than the USA) - and yet I have not had anyone "warm up" to them whenever I've made them :)
I generally give out recipes when asked but a unique situation has arisen. Before Christmas I found a cookie recipe that is special b/c it is a traditional Christmas cookie for my nationality (and my nationality is different from my in-laws). It is not a family recipe - but my mother does remember her grandmother making this special type of cookie.
We always get together with my in-laws for Christmas and my MIL always makes a nice variety of cookies...I always bring something to contribute but generally I feel like I could have skipped bringing my stuff b/c it didn't seem to go over very well (recipes from my childhood).
Well this year it was different. The only homemade cookies I brought were the nationality cookies and they were a hit! Especially with my FIL (who tends to be picky and prefer what his wife makes). I don't make a lot of cookies throughout the year and I've been thinking I'd like these to be my "special" cookies that I can bring at Christmas time and know that they are going to be unique and enjoyed.
But today my MIL emailed me and again mentioned how much she liked the cookies and could I give her the recipe b/c my FIL wants her to make them.
So do I go ahead and give her the recipe? This means that the cookies will no longer be special Christmas cookies that I can bring to our family Christmas get together.
Incidentally my MIL does have her own special Christmas cookie recipe that she ONLY makes at Christmas. I know one time I asked for the recipe (via email) and I never got a reply. My MIL and I get along well and I don't think she'll be offended if I say no - I just don't know if I'm being foolish since it really is only a cookie recipe. And if I refuse - how can I go about it in a gracious way without seeming petty?