A New Original Recipe … Really?

What really entitles an individual to declare a recipe as “MY RECIPE”? First, does that mean that the individual was the original author or creator of the recipe? Second, does it mean that the individual altered and perhaps perfected an existing recipe and posted it as having a copyright? Third, does it mean that the individual used an existing recipe but added a really “warm & cuddly” anecdotal story relating to the recipe? Fourth, does it mean that the individual used an existing recipe but came up with a fresh really well defined and organized list of instructions to prepare the recipe and then topped it off with a fantastic set of photographs? Personally, I think it is a combination or a little of all of these with the much, much less likelihood of involving the first two scenarios, and a much, much more likelihood of actually being the third and/or fourth scenarios! Please do not misunderstand what I am saying here … I AM NOT saying that there are no new, original recipes created every day somewhere … I am saying that those are about as scarce as hen’s teeth!

Recently, I closely examined my website and realized that I had three recipes from a popular cooking blog. Although I had slightly altered the recipes, I had given the original website owner full credit and even provided a link to their blog; I had not copied their instructions verbatim, nor used their photos, and certainly I had not even alluded to any narrative they had used for their blog’s recipe. Regardless, I felt it was past time for me to contact the other blog owner and request “official” permission to use the recipes. Well, that sort of backfired on me when the blog owner responded to my email politely saying, “I would prefer if you didn’t list MY RECIPES on your site”…(note-the caps are mine). Although somewhat surprised and caught off-guard, I immediately deleted all three of the recipes in question from my website. I made the deletions for two reasons: first, I knew that the recipes were not MY RECIPES and, second, I felt liable for a copyright infringement if I didn’t react quickly.

Well, less than 24 hours later I began to focus on the BIG PICTURE. All three of the recipes I had deleted were near & dear to my heart (or really my stomach). Out of frustration I Googled the title of the first recipe and almost fell out of my chair when I found it repeated over a hundred times on other sites only slightly altered from the recipe I deleted. Also I discovered that it had appeared on others’ sites years before the individual who proclaimed it MY RECIPE even published it on their site.

I’ve now replaced all three of the (previously removed) recipes on my site using others’ sites as “adapted from” or “inspired by” and I have credited them properly and given them links to direct visitors to their sites. More than ever, I am now resolved to believe that the existence of a new original recipe deserving the declaration of MY RECIPE is a real rarity whereas the third and/or fourth scenarios (defined above) are the true situation.