Some days I struggle to find something to post about, but today, my post actually came to me via Facebook. Actually, I probably should rely on Facebook more for topics. Considering the topic I am writing on today, I can’t say that is actually a “good” thing. Recipe thieves!!
One of my favorite food blogs brought to my attention that this happens, and how the rightful owner feels about it. I Am Baker touches on this very topic in one of her articles Why You Should Never Start a Food Blog. My heart just broke for her as I read these words, “People copy you. They steal your recipes, your pictures, your ideas. Sometimes intentionally, sometimes not. When I saw one of my original cake designs in a VERY famous bakers book, I cried myself to sleep. For a week.”
Something similar happened to a new friend on mine of Facebook RoseBakes. Rose had an order for candied apples made from scratch. She had never made them from scratch before, so she did her research, photographed the entire process, shared her process with everyone (along with her beautiful photo), and next thing I know, she is posting that someone has stolen her photo and is passing it off for theirs on their FB page. It was a page that posted only recipes, and it had thousands of followers. Many of us went to the post on their page and made sure to alert anyone who is interested in that particular item that it had been stolen, and where they could find the true owner.
Now that you have the back story on why this particular topic really got me, I’ll get on to writing my post. I noticed a recipe on Facebook today. You couldn’t miss it. It was a gorgeous Red Velvet Cheesecake fusion cake. If you have read my past posts, you know that I do a lot of recipe reading. I learned early on not to take for granted that the recipe is a good one.
I read the recipe, and something seemed odd to me. The cake in the photo (left) has red velvet crumb sides and appears to be one (1) layer split in two, but the written recipe mentions baking the recipe in two (2) 9″ cake pans (there’s definitely NOT that much cake here), and a cream cheese icing crumb coat plus fully iced top and sides with the cream cheese icing, and as you see from this photo, avoiding crumbs was not the goal.
I decided these two were wrongly put together. Someone found the recipe and decided to pair it with this photo. Now, it’s showing up all over FB and Pinterest. The problem is that if you actually bake the recipe as written, your cake would NOT look like Juniors photo. Not at all! This recipe was initially intentionally taken because I found the original, and the owner of the recipe was clearly marked. She also gave credit to others whose recipe’s she adapted to make her creation.
I personally don’t have a problem with someone not giving credit if they have adapted something considerably, but unless something brand new comes out of it, then I believe credit should be given to the original owner. I searched the web and found approximately 10 different occasions of this photo/recipe. I posted a comment on each of them stating they weren’t meant to be together, and I shared RecipeGirl’s link where the cake could actually be found. Unfortunately, that won’t happen for most bakers. This will no doubt happen again and again. Update: I notice there is a link back to RecipeGirl at the very bottom of the page. The post was made by a third party who apparently found the recipe with the wrong photos from somewhere else and posted them together. I feel a little better that the link is there, although I think it should immediately follow the recipe.
The ultimate goal of this article is to two fold. The first is to make consumers aware that what you see online isn’t always what you’re going to get. It’s really easy to just “Share” a post, and you may not want to go to the effort to read it over and try to determine if it’s from the original owner or not. Just keep in mind, one day it might be your work out there stolen, OR it could be the work of your son or daughter. Be aware that these thieves are out there, and hey, sometimes, if a recipe isn’t well documented, it is unintentional. When you review the original recipe here, you’ll see for yourself that this one was. It was intentional.
Secondly, I want to make bakers aware that this can happen. Some readers may think, big deal…it’s just a recipe, but you have to realize that some of these end up in a high price cookbook that someone (not the rightful owner) will be making money on. So yeah…it’s a big deal, and should be even if only for ethical reasons.
Look at these cakes…would you confuse one for the other??
As a part of my Family Heritage Project, I am writing down everything that I cook–as I cook it. I don’t measure anything when I cook for my family. I go exclusively off of taste. I seldom ever use recipes, unless I find one in Cook’s Illustrated that I just can’t go without trying. I am building my personal recipe collection to pass along to my son, so he can recreate some of the memories that we made together with his children/family one day. Yeah, I know. I think WAY ahead of the game, seeing how he’s just 8 months old. 🙂 It’s never too early to start. As a matter of fact, starting early actually increases the likelihood it will get finished one day. If you don’t start, then you could forget you even wanted to do it until it’s too late, and you’re saying, “I wish I had written my recipes down for him.”
Well, I am all about sharing the bad with the good, so I share warts and all here. If I mess something up, I share that I did. For one, someone can laugh with me about it. Two, I can pass on to you what I learned about the process. So here goes…brand new recipe. A concept. I was wanting soup, but also wanting black beans and Spanish rice. Why not put them together?? This could have worked if I had known what would happen, before it happened. This is what I learned about making black beans, chicken, and Spanish rice soup.
1. The rice will absorb almost ALL of the water you put into the pot. Even if it is 4 times what the recipe calls for.
2. Two 1 lb packages of Spanish rice will feed a small country when you use 4 times the water called for.
3. Onions will not cook through before the rice burns to the bottom of the pot.
4. Boil onions with chicken in the beginning.
5. Cook rice as directed in a separate pot and add at the very end.
6. When your husband says, “Whatever Mommy is cooking smells really good” to your 8 month old son, it’s time to pull it off the burner because within the next 5 minutes, he will say, “Something’s burning” right about the time you say “Uh oh” when you smell the char.
Burnt! Yep. The rice that had completely cooked was heavy having absorbed all that water I guess and burned to the bottom of the pot before I realized it. Smelled like coffee. I quickly pulled the pot off of the stove and poured it into a cold pot hoping it would only be the bottom portion that was bad, but if you’ve ever had something burn to the bottom of a pot of liquid, the liquid will always have that smell.
Once I changed it to the new pot and completed my process, the smell wasn’t quite as bad. What’s bad is that all of that soup (that could have fed a small country) is now in the trash because while tolerable fresh out of the pot, surely it wasn’t going to be tolerable the next day. EWW.
So, that is what I learned from my recipe creating session today. Not everything I try will work out, but everything I try, I will learn from. I think I know how to merge the two together next time, without the coffee undertones. I’ll let you know how it works out when I get the nerve up to try it again (and can forget that coffee smell).
I have gone in search of vintage recipes. The problem is that all I find are cookbooks printed by magazine companies, churches, etc. What I have learned in the process is that most of us (me included) cook meals that our family looks forward to, but we do it without a recipe. We just DO IT. This is what I want you to do…I want you to have someone in your family sit and document what you are doing. Yes, this may feel a little odd for you. You will actually pull our those measuring cups that you never use–not to be sure you use enough of something, but instead to tell your recorder how much of it you are using. Have them document your steps, being careful to include the time for prepping, the time for cooking, how thick you cut your items (roughly), and any small details that may mean the difference between success and failure. Don’t worry about documenting brand of ingredients unless the brand really has a lot to do with the outcome of the dish.
When you finish your recipe card, share it. Maybe even have someone in your family cook it for you by following your recipe to see if you forgot to add anything. This will be the first of your personal collection–your family heritage collection. Something that follows us throughout our lives (the memories from the foods we eat) is being missed. How many times have you heard, “I wish I had a slice of grandma’s carrot cake.” Well you could if grandma had written it down. Think about the future generations of your family. WRITE IT DOWN.
In an attempt to encourage you to pass along your recipes to those you love, I am going to be creating a number of different printable items for you. I am calling this project the “Family Heritage Project.” This first printable is a recipe card. It is my first, so give me your feedback.
…ok, so maybe not, but I really don’t have any other excuse for not posting other than I HAVE BEEN SOOOOO BUSY. Let me update you on all of the excitement.
If you follow my blog, you know that I was applying for my “cottage foods” license. I got it! I finished my food safety training, applied, and had my inspection. Now, I am a legal producer of cottage foods. It’s nice to be on the right side of the law. 🙂 If I can say I was abducted by something, it would be my kitchen. Since I got my license, I have been in my kitchen baking nearly every day. When I am not baking, I am researching all kinds of things about baking. This is just my personality. A friend of mine once said that it didn’t matter what I decided to do, that I would always become a professional at doing it. She’s right. I just educate myself and strive to provide high quality outcomes. When you make that your goal, then everything does seem to turn out to be “professional.” Although, I’m striving for more of a casual, country outcome (with professional results 😉 ).
I think my favorite part of what I do is research. I LOVE searching for recipes. It’s amazing how you can become educated to which recipes will likely work and not work. Sometimes, I can see a problem in a recipe. Other times, I don’t see it and the result shows there was a problem. Either way, I learn from the experience. Whether it’s too much flour or too many eggs, or perhaps not enough egg whites and too many egg yolks–all of that comes into question when deciding why it didn’t work out. Have you ever asked yourself, “what is a large egg?” When you buy eggs from the grocery store, that is pretty much defined for you; however, if you get your eggs from a farm, that definition may vary according to the breed of hen. It does matter.
This week I will be testing some recipes. One recipe isn’t written down. Yeah, fun. It is my grandmother’s recipe for buttermilk biscuits. She says she’s been making them since she was 12 (she’s 85 now), so she doesn’t use a recipe. She just knows when it feels right. I have a pan of them getting ready to go into the oven. Actually, the first 9 felt too dry to me. I had room for 3 more biscuits, so I threw together the ingredients working solely from what I felt, and the last 3 felt “right.” How I know what “right” feels like, I have no idea. haha. I’ve never made a truly successful pan of biscuits before. There has always been something off about them. Well, we’re going to see how they work out. I’ll post about it when they are finished baking.
As you see from my photo, I was successful in baking nice, big biscuits. They even tasted good. These would be perfect for a breakfast sandwich because they are firmer, but yummy! Can’t wait til the morning. I’m gonna have a sausage biscuit.
In the past, my mother wasn’t very sentimental. I recall learning that she had donated a lot of my and my brother’s things, and I was upset–not because they were mine (ok, maybe because they were mine), but instead, because I valued what she, or another special someone, had given me.
Well, time has passed, and mom is a little more sentimental than she used to be. She now has black and white and other vintage pictures around her home of her family from years past. She has passed on to me a few items that she made by hand. Now that I am home with my little one and learning all of the joys of being a mother, she is sharing some of our family’s amazing recipes also. Note: most of these recipes aren’t in writing (or they were and when I was a teenager, I thought I would do her a favor and write them in a recipe book for her. I saw no need for the tsp, tb, c, etc that littered the pages either, so I left them off.) Uh…yeah! So the recipes she passes along to me are from her memory.
My family has a lot of great recipes, but everyone knows this dressing. Every year, there are requests for it. For years now, I have wanted to learn to cook it and carry on the tradition of making it for family gatherings. Finally, mom and I got on the phone and hashed out the very rough recipe (not written down). She had me send her video of the consistency of the dressing on her cell phone, and she would tell me to add more chicken stock. It was a very enjoyable experience. It was part of her legacy (whether she realizes it or not). She is passing on to me a great number of things (not materialistic items). Fortunately, some of the family recipes are part of that legacy. Pictured here is baked chicken with great-grandma’s homemade dressing and giblet gravy with a side of salad (that one lone olive killed my photo–so I ate it ;).