Saturday, February 16, 2013

Making it mine

I've been talking to my roommate about how much poking and prodding is needed before someone else's recipe becomes your own. David Lebovitz writes that most cookbook authors agree on three rules:

"1. If you’re modifying someone else’s recipe, it should be called 'adapted from'.
2. If you change a recipe substantially, you may be able to call it your own. But if it’s somewhat similar to a publisher recipe, you should say it’s 'inspired by', which means that you used else’s recipe for inspiration, but changed it substantially.
3. If you change three ingredients, you can in most instances call the recipe yours."
I just started working on a Salted Caramel Mascarpone (potentially with dark or white chocolate). I changed Jeni's Salty Caramel recipe, replacing cream cheese with mascarpone, adding chocolate, and changing the amount of corn syrup and vanilla extract. So I'm teetering on the edge of "inspired by" and "mine," one ingredient shy of rule #3.  And that made me wonder -- are there people out there who will make an extra change in a recipe just so they can call it their own? Which then made me realize that, regardless of whether I pass rule #3 or not, I will always be proud to say who/what has inspired me.

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