Recipe Raiders

Today I started to write about those who pilfer recipes from sites and post them on their own sites as originals, or at the very least make NO mention of where the recipe or their idea originated.   Anyone who has ever shared an original recipe knows that can be very annoying –  to see it show up elsewhere after they spent the time, effort and the money to develop that recipe. 

But once I started reading blogs, copyright legalese, and other related articles — I lost my desire to write about any of it.  One topic seemed to lead to another and another on this never ending data supply we call the internet –  so that I started getting confused myself!

My original viewpoint was  — there are too many recipes shared from parents, friends, and pot luck suppers over the years — that not every recipe you think is original or “from your own mom” is actually that!  And maybe a word or two about common ingredients used to make certain items,  and that being unique in ingredients or execution may be harder than you think. 

Recipes are all over the web.  There are thousands of good sites containing all sorts of recipes, and using all sorts of ingredients.  Some of them measure like a chef in grams and pounds and others go by our standard method of a cup and a tablespoon.  You will, if you look, see the gambit in terms of ingredients, combinations and even techniques.  But certain sauces, pastries, meringues, and even some cooking methodologies have specific names attributed to them because they use the same ingredients or procedure time after time to achieve the desired result….and yet, even those are recipes someone, somewhere originally devised.

These are all pictures of some of my breads.
These are all pictures of some of my breads.

Recently some actual recipe developers complained about their recipes being copied, stolen, or used on a “well known” blog without their permission.  And it made me seriously wonder why the blog would do that (knowingly or not) and why the original author didn’t just send a note — thanking them for making and sharing their dish and asking they add a line or two from where the recipe originated. Wouldn’t that just solve the problem?

Yes and No.  And therein lies the dilemma and that’s why I wanted to stop writing about this subject.  I like things black and white, not grey.  While a baker, cook or recipe developer may think that they originally made that recipe and it belongs to them to distribute, authorize or use — what if it doesn’t?  Who makes that call?  What if 40 years ago it was published somewhere and their grandmother found it, made it and then it eventually got passed down — doesn’t it still belong to the original cookbook author  — and how is one to know?  Grandma might be long gone and there isn’t anyone else who really does know.  You could be sure that your dish is unique, but it’s still possible it’s not.

So, while I am not a lawyer and this is definitely not any legal advice — I will just quote the actual US copyright law** with regard to recipes.

Mere listings of ingredients as in recipes, formulas, compounds, or prescriptions are not subject to copyright protection. However, when a recipe or formula is accompanied by substantial literary expression in the form of an explanation or directions, or when there is a combination of recipes, as in a cookbook, there may be a basis for copyright protection.

Copyright protects only the particular manner of an author’s expression in literary, artistic, or musical form. Copyright protection does not extend to names, titles, short phrases, ideas, systems, or methods.

But that doesn’t end the discussion.  The real discussion actually just starts there.  And so after reading about 20 different articles about this subject – I still feel that most recipes are not subject to being copyrighted.  I do believe some may (though there are formidable obstacles) but most are not. 

What seems to be clear to me (and again this is not legal advice, and I am not a lawyer) is that while the list of ingredients and way of preparation (divide into quarters, add the butter to the boiling milk, etc)  is not protected …. the way in which you actually did it, the extra flourishes, your descriptions, your expressions of your unique style and also your photographs are subject to copyright protection.

Clear a mud, right?  That’s how I felt.  And so, just as an aside to anyone who might see this – do yourself a favor – do your own descriptions, do your own photographs, add/subtract and make a recipe your own, but also take a minute to give credit to whomever you got the inspiration from — be it your long gone grandmother, your dinner club, or a specific chef, author or blogger.  If you don’t know …. maybe a word about that might also help them know your intention was not to pilfer their work.  

Some of my homemade soups.
Some of my homemade soups.

 I saw a cookbook recently that had several recipes I have been using for years.  I know that these recipes (shared from my relatives and friends) were not the original work of this author.  I don’t know where they actually originated and likely neither does the author (because saying this is Aunt Mary’s recipe may or may not be actually truthful) — but just because she has now published them into a book — the recipes are still not hers to claim.  The book however and it’s design, format, and contents are unique, copyrighted and hers.

For more information …. **Copyright Information – Main:  Recipes:

**Disclosure, I am not a lawyer and this article does not contain any legal advice, you need to consult with someone much more knowledgeable on this subject if you have a question about copyright laws.  I was not compensated in anyway for this article and the content and opinions are 100% mine.

Odd Woman Out

There are times when you know that you are just…. THE ODD WOMAN OUT.

This weekend I had what I consider to be a unique opportunity – I won a giveaway sponsored by Duncan Hines® to be a guest of one of their bloggers at a unique and fun event at their headquarters.

I entered for this on a blog — and while usually the prizes given away on blog sites aren’t a trip, this one was one that sounded like an opportunity I couldn’t miss.

And yes, I won it from a cooking/baking blog called RealMomKitchen. I wasn’t even the first name drawn, as the first choice didn’t respond to the win notice. That means that I was double lucky. I was lucky the first person didn’t respond and then lucky enough to be chosen as the replacement.

I really was excited and thrilled to have won. I absolutely love to cook and bake. I absolutely love the Pinnacle® Brand of Products of which Duncan Hines® is only one…. and I considered this — for me — an opportunity of a lifetime.

I don’t usually enter for trips to travel alone — but because this was in NJ (where I was born) and because it was to a Duncan Hines® Event – I considered it was going to be more than just a trip for me — AND IT WAS!

The entire weekend was fabulous!

There were some other candidates for the odd woman out title …. those who felt they were “ignored” by the blogs representatives where they had entered – feeling that as a fan and subscriber they meant nothing to the blog owner — and there were some other minor (in my opinion) things to make others feel as if they too were the odd woman out.

But I think I qualified and won that event  – because I spent the entire weekend hungry.  I was not only hungry for the information provided, and for the companionship of the other accomplished bakers, but physically hungry.  

You see I have allergies. Severe allergies. And the foods provided by this spectacular food company just couldn’t really avoid using corn, fructose and fruit, or related products in what they provided to us to eat.   Don’t get me wrong, they provided a ton of food, including unbelievable desserts and everyone but me got to eat well.  Some ladies were even hitting the gym in the hotel to work some of it off, I instead felt like I was going to pass out from hunger. 

It was not 100% their fault, I mean although I filled out my questionnaire listing my allergy, I just don’t think it must have been taken that seriously.   Most people do not realize that there is hidden corn/fructose in products they eat every day – and for the most part don’t have to.  But even commercially prepared bread has corn syrup or fructose added –  and although it’s necessary in many cases to be able to provide a consistant product – do you think about that when you serve it?  Usually not. 

The first night, when I had some green beans and a couple slices of meat/turkey — since it was at the hotel — I thought it would be better the next day.   It wasn’t.  

Do you know the ingredients I asked in the ranch dressing?  And they acted like I had asked them in a foreign language.   The answer, oh it’s just regular ranch.  Helpful?  Not really.  Their reason for not knowing,  “oh we’re just the marketing people”.   I asked because there are products, and even commercially made ranch dressing that I can eat.  For lunch I was having only lettuce and tomato (the only things provided that I could eat) and I would have to eat it dry if I couldn’t find out the ingredients of the dressings.  I couldn’t even have the chips because Lays® products use oils, including corn oil to make their products (which I learned the hard way trying it one time).

To their credit they have a kitchen and they did make me a balsamic vinaigrette that was fabulous — but it didn’t quench my hunger.  I really needed some protein which wasn’t available.


   We spent the entire day learning about great stuff from decorating cakes to making simple sauces, and decorations for our creations.  I would never have wanted to miss a minute of those demonstrations, they were that good!!!  But I couldn’t eat or even taste any of that because almost every item contained or used corn syrup. 

   I didn’t feel “left out” because I know my allergies limit me to what I personally can and cannot have.  I am used to doing without, and not sharing in many of the wonderful things that I love to cook and bake — including desserts.   I cannot eat most commercially made products and/or even indulge in most fast food choices.   I didn’t expect, nor would I ever expect a menu to be made around what I could or could not eat.  But, I can’t just have a bagel, or a waffle till I know what’s in it.  Sometimes they use flours that have corn flour mixed it (from a previous allergic reaction having a pancake in Maine).

   My reactions can be just from my lips and nasal passages swelling, to migraine, to asthma attack, to having to use all the techniques in my arsenal, including my epi-pen to quell it. It’s not an easy journey. I cannot take a chance and just “try” something without considering it could be the last bite I take.

   What made me the Odd Woman Out contest winner this past weekend was that no one even vaguely considered how hungry I would be all weekend without being able to eat the provided food? 

But, am I still a Duncan Hines® Sweet Star?  You bet I am!

**Disclosure: I was not compensated in any way for this post, and all the information contained here is 100% my personal observations and perspective.

Personal Comment: Acquittal of George Zimmerman

First of all,  I am not being compensated in any way for this piece, nor is it anyone’s opinion by my own.  I know that most people will not agree with it – and I respect that – but feel that I want to comment on these issues.

My heart is saddened that a teenager died,  and I want to cry with his mother and father and hold them up in prayer.   I think they know and understand that stuff happens in this world that isn’t always fair.   Just look around.  And in this case,  certainly Trayvon life was just really beginning.

Kudo’s to the 6 jurors who were able to cut through the misinformation in the media for all these months and still hold onto their integrity and decide this case based on the evidence presented to them. 

Shame on Al Sharpton and all the others who tried to influence their decision with demonstrations and other inappropriate behavior just to stir up the people of this country.  

Kudo’s to the lawyers on both sides who found 6 people who could look past all of that to the facts of the case and decide without the pressure of all of that misinformation.

From the start of this unfortunate event (and I do mean that sincerely), and all along the way from the tapes of the 911 call  which were “edited” before the news outlets even started playing them, to the end with rallies and other things — this wasn’t about race and it wasn’t about guns.

In the end — because of the way the events unfolded —  the way both “players” in this drama presented themselves, acted and interacted — it really was about being in a situation and making a decision about how to defend yourself.   Trayvon could acted differently, George could have acted differently, but neither of them did.  They did as their personalities directed them that fateful day and they ended up in a fight that ended in a death. 

From the beginning the Florida Prosecutor was correct in not arresting George Zimmerman.  He weighed the case and determined that there wasn’t a reason for it.  Both self defense and the Florida Stand Your Ground Law were on George’s side –but Al Sharpton had other ideas.  Ideas about pushing all the buttons he had available to him to make it about race and about guns and about all the things it was never about from the start.  He purposely and willfully incited people across this country with misinformation.  Information that was specifically designed to incite strong feelings for poor Trayvon, and hatred for George Zimmerman, while he pursued his agenda, got TV time and recognition for pushing his view of  justice.

But still a young boy died that day.  That part will never go away.  I honestly don’t think anyone ever wants that to happen.

I have a concealed carry license, and I have taken at least 8 gun courses, including some in tactical training.  I wasn’t fond of guns from a young age — and my dad was a pistol champion.  But there came a time in my own personal life, that I had several individuals try to break into my home and I thought I needed to know and learn and carry for my own self defense.  The courses were sometimes hard,  and there were tests both in shooting accuracy and in knowledge of the laws regarding firearms.  There was training on how to try to disarm another person and what to do if someone tries to disarm you.  One of the things that sticks out in my mind (because they drilled it into us)  is that if you shoot anyone be prepared to be arrested, charged and having to pay a minimum of $250,000.  But the directive always was,  if you are in fear for your life (and that “line” will differ for everyone) and you feel the need to use your firearm, shoot to kill.  

As a woman, we were instructed that could shoot a man coming at us at a distance of probably 5 ft – 10 ft, with or without a weapon and still conclude we were in fear of our life and that we had shot in self defense.   You cannot wait for someone to be in an actual physical confrontation with you, or to have wounded you first before you shoot… It’s not “if you are harmed you can harm back” – it is if you fear for your own life.

With men, it’s a little different, most of them can hold their own (or think they can)  even in a bit of a physical confrontation, but no one says you have to let someone hit you, knock you down, bang your head on the ground before you shoot them in self defense.  You just don’t know what the other person is capable of – and if they too have a weapon (knife, gun, etc) that they plan on using on you.

This really is just basic information.  Each case of self defense is different.  It needs to be weighed on it’s own scale to determine the outcome.  However, if someone of any color, of any gender, or any size or nationality, or even any age,  were beating my head on the ground,  I might feel the fear at some point that would cause me to use my weapon.  You might prefer that I didn’t because that person is young, or of a certain color, or certainly could not have killed me – but they are attacking me, and I do have a right to defend myself.  If you aren’t there, you don’t know, you don’t feel the emotions, or know the actual extent of it — therefore you cannot be judge and jury.

Just for Fun

What do you do …. just for fun?


I’ll bet many of you answer – that although you find some fun in every day… you don’t always go looking for it.  That’s the way it happens with me.  And in a way that’s sad.  Life as we age, goes by faster and faster – leaving less time for any the fun we tried to save for later.   I know I tried to do everything for everyone in my younger years knowing that some day I would have time to just sit and relax, and have that proverbial (although elusive) time for smelling the roses.  And I am still planning on doing some of that!

Most of the things I enjoy, I do alone.  I love to cook, bake (and eat), read, enter sweepstakes and pretend that I am an extreme couponer – but all these things are not really team sports.  For me these are fun — but these would not be considered fun for everyone.  In fact, I know a few people who would actually call cooking an “extreme” chore. 

I don’t think I ever tried to built fun into my daily day – thinking way too long and way too hard about what needed to be done, and then by default taking care of all of it.  I am not bitter – I feel very “accomplished” — even if no one else in my family had a clue how all that “stuff” was getting done for them.  In fact we still have magic towels  — they get used, and thrown on the floor and then magically re-appear all clean and folded and ready to be used again in the closet!   My life bears witness to that because we (as a family) are where we need to be, at this point in our lives, and although I might have quashed the fun out of it…. we are there nonetheless. 

 My personal issue now is that since I never allowed myself any fun in the past — always making sure every “i” was dotted and every “t” was crossed – that I find it really hard torelax and let “fun” happen.  When some bit of fun creeps in, I try and  let it happen, but then  I am pretty quick to call it “over” and get back to normal.  Why is that?  I think it’s habit.  And I think that the longer you go without it, the less time you want to spend on it…. fun that is!

So if you have any tips on how to “let fun happen” let me know.  I am looking to put some fun into every day … if I can.


10 Things I Wish I Could Change



Here are 10 things I would change if I could….

Getting Old – for more reasons that I could reasonably type in 10 pages of text.  Mostly because you feel like you can see the end of your days and can’t remember a darn thing from the day before yesterday.

Rising Prices – seriously does every single service and product have a price increase every week?  And if they are all legitimate ones, why do they try to hide them?  This reminds me of my Sprint Bill, which has a line item that basically says that this is the increase we are passing on because our costs of doing business have increased.  Really every month, instead of trying to contain those costs and maybe even cut them, just divide by the number of customers you have and tack it onto their bill.

Ignorance – this covers many areas but basically I’d like to see our children coming out of high school actually knowing more than I do – not less.  I’d like to see them be able to add without a calculator, and write so that you can read and understand it.

The Weather – now who hasn’t wanted to change that a time or two.  Right now because it’s a crazy spring, I wish I could just make the temperature an even say…. 65 degrees for a few weeks – before summer hits and I’d want to cool it down say 20-25 degrees.  In winter, I might make the reverse wish, but you get the point.  If I could change it I would.

Rules – Any rule that is silly, stupid or redundant.  In VA, radar detectors are illegal, you may not spit on a sea gull, nor keep a skunk as a pet.  It is totally illegal to park a car on the railroad tracks, or ride on the handlebars of a bike.  In NJ, you cannot pump your own gas into your car, nor delay or detain a homing pigeon.

Time – I’d really like to get just a few extra hours, a few times a week.

Food – I’d outlaw that genetically modified stuff in an instant… or not ever allow it in the first place.

Money – I think the whole idea of a cashless society is flawed.  Right now when we lose power and we do often enough, you cannot buy, sell, or in any way transact financial business.  No one is taking your word that you will come back tomorrow and pay for that item – and you won’t have any way to get what you need from food to gasoline if all you have is plastic and they cannot process your payment.

Law Enforcement – I would just like to change it back to them being there to serve and protect the communities in which they serve, not just themselves and their jobs.  I give all law enforcement credit for doing the job that needs to be done, at personal risk to themselves but I think they’ve gotten trigger happy.

Court System – What a happy day it would be if we could go back to you are innocent until proven guilty.  Right now you stand a snowballs chance in hell if someone (anyone) wants you to be guilty and has the power or the money to make it happen.


So… what about you?  What would you change if you could?