Welcome to my rant! I know that for some die hard foodies, these are some serious topics. I hope that you can read this with the same light-hearted intentions I had while writing.
I’ve always had a complicated relationship with the “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery” idea.
When I’m imitating someone, that’s exactly how I feel. Generally, I’m impressed with someone and I want to emulate them in my own unique way. But when someone’s imitating me? I have mixed feelings. Sometimes I feel like they’re just trying to one-up me, or prove that they can do something better. Sometimes I can take it as a complement and not read too much into it. I guess it depends on the situation.
When it comes to recipes, I think that even if the person changes it, it’s definitely a complement! They liked what you did. They were intrigued or impressed enough to give it a go. Even if they change it to suit their own tastes, they’re thinking of what you did and why.
I used to feel guilty for “ripping off” other peoples’ recipes. It sort of felt like stealing, even though YOU CANNOT COPYRIGHT A RECIPE!! And then I realized that I’m not ripping anyone off. I’m not making any sort of profit from my cooking/baking, I’m not claiming any revolutionary breakthrough in the kitchen, I have no aspirations to write a cookbook or host my own show on Food Network…Basically, all I’m doing is enjoying the process of making and eating really good food. Why should I feel guilty about that? As long as I give mad props to the person(s) who gave me the inspiration, I feel like I have the right to try new things and then share my experiences. (Yes, I really did just say mad props. That’s ok to say if you live in Montana, right?)
Really spectacular things can happen when you copy someone. Like this pizza, for instance:
Here we have homemade dough and sauce topped with mozzarella cheese, globs of ricotta and red onions.
Next we added some sliced bell peppers and raw broccoli. We put it in the oven, and after it was done baking, we topped the whole thing with arugula, creating this saucy little devil:
It was so ridiculously good! We were copying a pizza we’ve eaten many times before at a place called Biga Pizza here in town. They have by far the best pizza ever, and they win restaurant of the year often. Are you really going to tell me that I can’t enjoy this because I didn’t think of it first? That would be mean. And then I’d be forced to make this kind of thing in secret. It isn’t as if I’ll never go to Biga again because we figured out how to make something LIKE their pizza, it just means that I can make it on my own when we can’t go out.
This brings me to my next topic: cheating. (Well, what some people would call cheating.)
There’s no way that I would make bread if I didn’t have a bread machine. Unless it’s the kind of bread that you don’t have to knead. I (usually) have neither the time, nor the patience to knead and rise, knead and rise. But my bread machine let’s me do cool things like homemade bagels without having to worry. Lots of people will tell you that they couldn’t live without their rice machine, or other such convenience item.
There are some people that would call me a cheater, because I don’t take the time to painstakingly make everything the old fashioned way.
I would love to tell you that I’m a purist, and that I do everything from scratch, but that would be a lie. I do what I can, when I can, and I enjoy the fruits of my labor. (Although I refuse to use boxed cakes/brownies etc. That’s totally cheating, in my opinion. Don’t worry though, I’d never hold it against you. It’s just a personal preference!)
So you see? Everyone feels differently! Don’t let anyone make you feel like you didn’t do the work if you took a few shortcuts. So what if your cornbread came out of a box? You still get to eat the cornbread, don’t you? All I’m saying is, don’t knock it till you have 20 minutes to be some place and you just got home from work and you’re absolutely starving and you still have to change your clothes before you leave. Or you finally have a free Sunday and the weather is gorgeous and you’d rather be outside taking pictures of the fall leaves than stuck inside kneading bagel dough.
The moral of my rant? (I have to have one? Fine…) Let’s just all play nice. Let’s appreciate everyone for what they bring to the table, not just for the recipe they used and the method they used to get it there. And finally, LET’S EAT!