Cheery Query

Cheery Query

I have a question to pose readers this week.

I make  a living (or rather am working hard at building a living) from my recipes both food and home art.  Creation of good to eat victuals and healthy home products from heritage and/or natural ingredients are a passion for me.  It is so thrilling when someone asks for a recipe or how to make a specific soap.  What is the saying?

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” (FYI:  Charles Caleb Colton originated this in early 1800’s)

Some of my kitchen tools.

But truthfully, it is conflicting.  When it is a recipe printed in a cookbook I have, originated in recent times, it seems right to share it.  The requester could likely look it up (on the ‘net usually) and by sharing, I enjoy helping that person.   Is it right to share out of a cookbook?  Is it a disservice to the author of the cookbook?

Here’s were it gets personal.  When it is a recipe I have invested a lot of time and resources (failed attempts, come to mind 😉 …my apologies to husband John who has to eat the …umm…less than stellar results).  It is a unique recipe  and customers are willing to purchase the product I have developed, how should I respond?  Is it constructive or detrimental?

After all, I love to be helpful and see the many wonderful people in my days happy.

So I query you.  Out of curiosity.  Out of a desire to learn and grow.

What is the appropriate response?  Many of you are incredible chefs and cookbook authors.  I’m just … me.

Your comments are most welcome!!


About vkhanson

Travel back to simpler times. Experience for yourself the heritage skills of your choosing. Enjoy hearty foods and beverages while hands-on experiencing soap making, bread making, home canning, making jams and jellies, pies and more. Learn how these skills were made using old tools and seeing how today's technology can cut time and effort to a serious minimum. This is all undertaken in an 140 year old home, beautifully preserved. can stay here too! Amanda's Bequest, a Heritage Farmstay Bed & Breakfast is now available at Bygone Basics. An absolutely fabulous experience while gaining skills you will use to reduce food costs, ensure the safety of your foods, and re-live a piece of heritage that is fast becoming lost. Travel down Old Channel trail in Montague enjoying the magnificent view above White Lake. Enter Bygone Basics, located in the impressive parsonage, now known as "Amanda's Bequest," built in 1874 for the Ferry Memorial Church and then painstakenly moved (Rather than be destroyed). This is a great activity for female friends, bridal parties, generations of families, spouses, co-workers and so on. Each group is privately held so no extra people are involved. It is held in an atmosphere of laughter, great stories, and hearty food. Each Experience is priced based on the number of persons in the group and the type of experience. Times are flexible. Remember....a gift certificate would be a fabulous idea to ensure quality time with a friend or someone else who is special.

10 responses »

  1. This is a quandry. If it’s something you make and sell then perhaps you don’t share the recipe. On the other hand who’s to say, if you gave me some of your recipes, that mine would turn out as well as yours? If it’s a recipe you got from Betty Crocker you might just say that it’s in that cookbook. (Or “cookery book” as my cousin in Scotland says. 😉

    I don’t know what to tell you. I note that some B&B owners will occasionally share a recipe of their customers’ favorites . . . say blueberry muffins . . . but all her other recipes are secret. So you give your folks just a little sampling of one of your recipes but not all of them. That’s one suggestion.

    • Very good thoughts. I appreciate the consideration of the question that your comment demonstrates. I had also not considered the variable outcomes possible from the same recipe.
      Thank you!

  2. You know Valerie, I would hold on to personal recipes or ones that you have really put a lot of effort into improving at least for now. You dont know what the future might hold for the buisness that you have started and those things are unique to you- and anyone who might continue after you. Don’t be afraid of offending people- They should understand. There are many basics and recipes you can teach too

    • Thank you. 🙂 What are your thoughts on whether it is ok to share recipes from published cookbooks? I had not thought of it before. I wonder how the authors feel about it?

      • Personally, I don’t have a problem with sharing recipes from published cookbooks. Many of those recipes are not original to that publication anyway. Whether it’s a name brand (BH&G) or a church cookbook, just the fact that they are printing them indicates that they are willing to share those recipes. (I’ll have to look at the couple of cookbooks I have with me to see what the copyright says but I would understand it to mean the entire book rather than an occasional recipe.)

        An aside that may or may not be relevant: There are also recipes all over the Internet (like that one can access at no charge. Even though the recipe might indicate it came from Emeril’s show, for example, we have no idea who created that dish in the first place.

  3. If you “borrowed it”, but then changed it for the better, been there done that, then it is yours. If you just use the recipe as found, then you can just give them credit for it at the bottom of the recipe if you like, would take some guilt away too.

    Giving out recipes, have done some, and I will tell you that I have had alot of comments, and actually a reservation from the apple walnut bread recipe I posted last week. You do not have to share ones that are special to your inn, or just breakfast, I plan on sharing some soup and dinner recipes too, a little teaser can go a long way…and I have gotten a few really good recipes along the way from guests as well…

    You can print and sell your cookbooks, and make maybe $1 each, whoopie…would rather have them on my blog, and facebook, and have people “like” both or one, and have them a follower of them forever, than sell a cookbook, only to have it lost on a shelf along with the other 40 or 50 cookbooks, like I have…

    My two cents..


  4. anabaptistcountryman

    My dear Friend,
    (I do hope that I understand your query correctly …)

    We are Plain Folk, and from rural Ireland and (my wife) Scotland on top of that. It is our lifestyle to share with sincere folk, and it gives us much joy to add something to the lives of good people. Before crossing the Atlantic to come to British Columbia, we lived in the Tweed valley in the Scottish Borders where pies and bannocks of bread were freely shared amongst our homes.

    I could never live, or adapt to, (and certainly, never adopt!) this 21st century greed-mentality of obsessing over “copyright”, or agitating if someone is, perhaps, going to “turn a profit” over something we have shown or taught them.

    Our lifestyle is such that we share freely, and find joy in so doing. We have been greatly distressed to find that the North American mindset is to regard everyone with suspicion: people walking past our home look at me with shock because I call out a hearty “Good Morning” to them. We have no friends here after three years; people seem very callous to us, but we will never change our mindset of being Plain Country Folk, and sharing knowledge with those who genuinely ask for it.

    Surely, if you mention the name of a commercial cookery book, the authors will be appreciative of the free advertisment; and, by then privately explaining how you varied, or improved upon, it … you are also able to share something of your own skill or abilities. You are honest and open, hiding nothing; and at the same time, bringing some joy or interest into someone’s life.

    How could anyone reasonably be upset at that?

    Yours sincerely,
    Philip Livingstone

    • Dear Considerate and Generous Friend,

      I thank you for your thoughtful response to my “Cheery Query.” You did indeed understand my question. And I loved your intelligent, honest, and generous response. I much prefer to be generous and giving. To do opposite, feels somehow like I’ve told an untruth and is contrary to my nature. It causes me to FEEL contrary. I appreciate the reminder that the simple act of giving is a ripple in a pond, reflecting increasing that positve act as it grows outward.

      Would that we all shared something of your lifestyle.

      Deep regards,

      Valerie Hanson

      • anabaptistcountryman

        Dear Madam,
        Thank you; well, I certainly perceive that we share similar thoughts. I completely understand your words with regard to “… and is contrary to my nature”. Looking forward to my next visit with you, God willing,
        Kindest regards,
        Philip Livingstone

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