Sometimes, I get asked why I won’t post a recipe from a book.
My answer is simple: I am morally opposed to it.
Cooking is an art-form. Creating recipes is an art-form. Even if a list of ingredients can’t technically be copyrighted (how weird is it that it’s copyrighted and not copywritten?) I know how it feels to have work that you’ve created show up elsewhere without credit. I am talking about my photography, but I view it as the same concept. I know how ripped I get when I see people taking my photos, and I can only imagine how ripped published authors must get when they see recipes they’ve poured their heart and soul into to be published in a book appear on websites where people can go and get them without paying a single penny.
I’m all about supporting the author, not ripping them off. I have too much respect for them than to post their recipes will-nill on the internet. In case you’re wondering, yes, I also buy my music rather than downloading it for free. Again, respect and appreciation.
As for posting recipes from other blogs? Well – I understand that basically everything has been done before. If I see a recipe that is similar to one another but there’s hardly any mention of another recipe, I tend to give the author the benefit of the doubt that there was a similar thinking process. But using a recipe from another blog, saying so, and then posting the exact same recipe on your own blog? Well, I think link-backs are sufficient so that traffic can be directed their way as a sign of appreciation…but I think that’s just one of my little quirks.
And lastly, re: adaptations and inspirations. I link-back or don’t post the recipe if from a book if I keep mostly the same. C’mon…changing the flour or a couple spices doesn’t make it a unique adaptation. I don’t even think veganizing something with a flax-egg and earth balance makes it an adaptation. When I do that, I say it and link-back to direct people to the basic recipe and instructions. Only when I change a good number of things – say, at least 5 things that aren’t basic flour swaps, etc – will I just re-post the recipe. And even 5 things is a close-call to me. Take, for example, the chickpea recipe I posted the other day. I was tempted to just write out my swaps again instead of re-typing the recipe – but then sort of realized that by the time I wrote out the swaps it was just plain confusing. Had it been a blogger or book, I might have passed on reposting. But it being a free source I decided to just go for it. Am I guilty of the “I swapped the flour, so I adapted it!” label? Well, I can’t say for certain – but I bet if I looked through my baking tabs I’d find one or two back from my beginnings that aren’t quite as unique as I now require. Not hypocritical – I’ve just learned what respect is.
This was not directed at anybody or any certain event!! Just something I’ve been meaning to mention lately, since I’ve been cooking out of books so much lately. I would love to hear your thoughts on it, though. Am I just picky because, being a photographer, I know how it feels and can relate too much to the authors? Maybe. I mean, I feel bad when I give full disclaimer that something wasn’t my idea and someone comments saying “oh my god! you’re so creative! marry me!”
I just want to say “no no no!! I’m a terrible person, I’m not the cool one!”