maurarose (maurarose) wrote,
maurarose
maurarose

Who Owns a Recipe?

Over at Alosha's Kitchen, Melissa got herself into a little trouble with Cook's Illustrated/Cook's Country. Here are her posts about the incident.

The food blogging community has gotten behind Melissa in droves, and for good reason. Melissa thought she was doing the right thing by giving Cook's Country credit for inspiring her to create her own potato salad recipe. Instead, she received what was essentially a "cease and desist" e-mail from CI's PR firm. CI/CC's arrogance about their recipes is appalling, as is their hypocrisy. CI's whole schtick is taking existing recipes and methods and modifying them. For them the take this attitude:

"Sorry, no modifications allowed. Our recipes are tested up to 100 times for a reason (i.e. because they work)."

really gets my hackles up. We're a little too far along into civilization as we know it for there to be a truly original recipe. And suggesting that a CI recipe is objectively better than another recipe is condescending and, because it can't be said enough, arrogant.

I've had problems with CI for years. They Americanize ethnic recipes (their constant use of sugar in any kind of red sauce drives me crazy), and try to make simple, logical, well-known modifications sound like breakthroughs of monumental proportions.

This is not to say that everything they do sucks. I use a few of their recipes on a regular basis. But their recipes are no more likely to work the first time than any others. And they don't take personal taste into account, which I suppose is to be expected from someone (Christopher Kimball) who says "Make the damn recipe my way. [He laughs.] I had someone write in a long time ago and say, "Lidia [Bastianich] cooks with her heart." And I wrote back and said, "Well, yeah, that's the wrong organ. You should use your brain."  Cooking with your brain is good. It's what made Alton Brown successful. But cooking only with your brain is soulless.

So, good for Melissa for having the courage to out them on their bullying tactics. She's my new hero.

Also, check out the rest of Alosha's Kitchen. Melissa just recently started cooking, and she's entirely self-taught. Big props to her for that.
Tags: alosha's kitchen, cook's illustrated, cooks country, recipes
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