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Overrated Food Blogs?

Have to admit that I'm kind of new to the food blog scene since I just started reading them regularly in 2008. Anyway, for what it's worth, here are my observations:

*Some of the famous food blogs seem to attract attention with their big, blown-up photographs. Upon closer examination, the bloggers don't know that much about food or how to cook well. They're just good at photography and maybe blog design.

*Some famous bloggers copy recipes word for word from other sites then say the recipes have been "adapted" from other sources. No. Lifting texts verbatim is not adaptation.

*Some really good cooks suck at writing and/or photography which is a shame. Their talents would have gotten more attention had they cared to take better pictures or invest in sprucing up their sites.

*Some famous, award-winning cookbooks authors are hopelessly bad at blogging. Makes you wonder how much work other people put into their award-winning books now that you see how bad they are when writing unaided.

*Some of the famous food blogs don't really have much to offer in terms of substance and the only reason for their fame which I can think of is that they started early when the competition for attention wasn't so fierce. These early bloggers seem kind of cliquish, too. It's almost like they've banded together to secure their positions at the top.

*Some food bloggers write very well, but don't seem to want to promote themselves. Sadly, they remain in obscurity and will perhaps remain there until food blogging dies off (will it?).

*Some travel/journalistic/documentary food blogs are devoid of substance and evidence of any real knowledge about different cultures and their cuisines; they just know how to take good pictures of Third World street kids in dirty clothes eating something exotic looking.

Not trying to be negative here. Just making some observations. Having observed these things, I'm glad I didn't take my girlfriend's suggestion that I start a food blog! You can find great food blogs that are underrated in other Chow threads where people recommend blogs you've never heard of. But so far I have yet to hear anyone talk about overrated blogs. In my opinion, without naming names, there are quite a few.

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    1. I stopped reading TAG years ago -- what a self-involved jerk. And you're right: He couldn't cook his way out of a paper bag.

      1. At least Amateur Gourmet is smart enough to know he can't produce a book with any culinary value on his own. If I'm not mistaken, his new book will be about him learning how to cook with famous chefs around the country. It sucks that after all this time, the Amateur Gourmet hasn't moved beyond the amateur stage, but I'm glad he's smart enough to recognize that and is now using other people's talents to promote himself. In terms of marketing, this is waaaaaaay smarter than some bloggers whose popularity might have caused them to overestimate their ability to create good contents and sell them in book form. Here's one very, very tragic example: http://amzn.to/9lJ0zs

        Amateur Gourmet is an example of how you can market yourself as a culinary (sort of) celebrity in the absence of real culinary talents or know-how. At this point, why waste time honing any real cooking skills? His blog sells. His next book may very well sell, too.

        1. re: Jay2512

          Haha, Jay2512. Thanks for the laugh. "The Foodie Handbook" is a perfect example of unadulterated hubris. I laughed my way through the book. I also cried, because I am closely related to a bunch of people who are just as bad. Note to self: do not procreate.

          Strangely, I like a lot of the female bloggers from Singapore, because many of them apparently have nothing better to do than use daddy's credit card to buy expensive camera equipment and travel to Europe for all the latest in muffin papers, chocolate tablets, or whatnot. As repelled as I am when dealing with them in person, I love checking out all the junk they buy with someone else's money.

          1. re: choctastic

            "Do not procreate." LOL I have a hard time thinking someone who can see through such vanity and haughtiness belongs in the same group as those people. Go, therefore, and procreate.

            I don't hate that blog, but I don't see anything special about it either. I don't read it mostly because the writing tone can be a little condescending and because I don't learn anything of substance from that blog. I don't get why chezpim is so popular. People have different tastes, I guess.

            1. re: Jay2512

              The blog isn't bad, but there are many better ones. This was one of the earlier popular blogs in the SF Bay Area, and, as mentioned, she is good at self-promotion, which is why I think it became so popular for a while. Also the recipes work for the most part, but that's because they're mostly well-worn classics that have been very slightly reworded or slightly tweaked (matcha madeleines, for example). Makes me appreciate people like Kenji Lopez-Alt all the more.

              But that book is so laughably bad and so revealing of the author's personal faults that I actually felt bad for her. The only other food book in recent memory that is so self-aggrandizing is the "The Chocolate Connoisseur" by Chloe Doutre-Roussel. Don't buy it, just find it at the library.

              1. re: choctastic

                One of the Amazon reviews on "The Chocolate Connoisseur" by Chloe Doutre-Roussel says, "I believe the author is probably a high functioning autistic."

                WTF? Also, ouch.

        2. Hundreds of food bloggers have book deals, radio and tv spots, have become conference speakers, etc. I don't blame anyone for taking a deal to make a living. No one is forced to buy it.

          1. re: HillJ

            From the way things look, I'm interested in buying the Amateur Gourmet's new book. But that's based on the contributions from his quest chefs, not anything he has to offer.

        3. It really annoys me when bloggers judge other peoples food yet they can't even boil water... How can you be so into food and not want to or know how to cook!!!

          2 Replies
          1. re: SDGourmand

            Could you cite a food blogger guilty of this SDG. I can't imagine why anyone would run a food blog and not like to cook....unless you're citing the onslaught of anti-food bloggers who enjoy mocking and highlighting the less than edible or the over the top food products out there....

            1. re: HillJ

              I notice a bloggers inexperience with actual cooking when it comes to negative reviews about a dish or restaurant. They don't give examples or opinions on how the dish could be improved, they just state what they didn't like about it. Which is probably why most of the blogs come across as more of PR for the restaurant than an actual restaurant review.

              My previous comment comes from bloggers who I have met, that said they never cook at home. I found this shocking and it made me question there knowledge of food.

          2. I'm looking forward to see how folks weigh in on this. I'm VERY new to reading food blogs (just started less than a month ago). The thing that I've found really surprising is, as you say, how folks just copy a recipe verbatim from another source. I've seen a lot that haven't even bothered to make modifications.

            My understanding of copyright law as it pertains to recipes is very limited but I did think that the recipe method could be copyright protected and should not be duplicated without the express permission of the author/intellectual property owner.

            I've looked on the sites to see if there is a notation such as "copied with permission of..." but so far, haven't seen anything. These are well known blogs that I found by folks recommending them here on Chowhound.

            If there's someone out there that knows more about copyright, I'd love to hear about it.

            The thing that's impressed me most at this point is the photography on some sites. As you point out, some sites have exceptional photographs that are so enticing. It's a shame to hear that in some cases, the food writing/content doesn't do the photography justice.

            Great thread!

            44 Replies
            1. re: Breadcrumbs

              Breadcrumbs, I've noticed that more and more bloggers have taken to reprinting recipes verbatim or almost verbatim from other sources. Some link to the original sources; some don't. However, as far as I know, you can't even reprint something without the author's or the publisher's permission with or without attribution.

              It could be because they see how famous food bloggers have done it before and nobody seems to care.

              Now, tell me if these examples represent "adaptation"? Given the popularity of the blog, I'm sure the original sources see it more as a favor than a transgression. Also, there might be some kind of undisclosed agreement between the blogger and the sources. ??? I don't know. All I know is that if I had a blog and someone else reprinted my recipe word for word in this manner saying it was an adaptation, I would be pissed, not flattered.

              http://tinyurl.com/5tn3cr vs. http://tinyurl.com/2epbgh9
              http://tinyurl.com/6kpq6n vs. http://tinyurl.com/24yovu2
              http://tinyurl.com/d2jfah vs. http://tinyurl.com/2azrzd6
              http://tinyurl.com/2ckcyb4 vs. http://tinyurl.com/24u5adu

              I don't know much about copyright laws, but I don't think these qualify as adaptations. I am not saying that the blogger has committed plagiarism as she may have deals with all of these publications and companies to reprint their recipes in entirety which we may not know about. However, in such cases, I would think something like "reprinted with permission by such and such" would have been appropriate. Am I wrong?

              Also, in terms of etiquette, since the contents are already out there, wouldn't it have been more appropriate to provide links to the recipes instead of copying texts from one site and slapping them on another? If I'm missing something, please do educate me.

              1. re: Jay2512

                By way of this example,
                Onion Tart with Mustard is an adapted Gourmet recipe, cited by SK and shared w/readers
                Gourmet mag printed the recipe for their readers in 2008. Did Gourmet adapt the recipe from an original source? Did they cite their source in the mag?
                Onion Tart with Mustard is a reprinted recipe on the Epi site. Did they cite their source?

                Then several questions come to mind. Who actually owns the recipe? The important information is how recipes acquire original status, what part of a recipe is copywritten or if ownership based on a list of ingredients and a prep method are in fact copywritable. Did Gourmet write the recipe and/or test out the recipe in the kitchens prior to publication? Same for Epi? What is the origin of a recipe called onion tart with mustard and how far back does it go? Does adding say, two add'l ingredients create a new onion tart w/mustard recipe or one that has been adapted and shared with others?

                All valid considerations.

                1. re: HillJ

                  Great point and I agree with the notion that at the end of the day nobody can claim ownership of any recipes. What I think is a head scratcher in this case is why SK didn't simply link to the literature that had already existed. Citing is not the same as reprinting. I don't see this as citing; I see this as reprinting. As for whether or not it was done with permission, I don't know. If permission has indeed been sought and granted, then, as I said in my last comment, the logical thing to do would have been to say "reprinted with permission by XXX" as done in academic works and professional media. Calling it "adaptation" implies something else that, to my untrained eye, isn't done here.

                  Also, from what I understand, even though a list of ingredients cannot be copyrighted, the instructions are copyrightable. They constitute literature. So even if Gourmet, Bon Appetit, or William Sonoma may have gotten these recipes from other sources, once they have adapted and rewritten them using their own words, these pieces of literature become theirs. And the pertinent question in this case, in my opinion, would be whether it is right to lift texts word for word not who ultimately owns the ur-recipes as that is irrelevant.

                  If I write recipes and put them online, I would want people to link to my site instead of putting my words verbatim on their own site and say they have "adapted" from my recipes. I'm trying to think of one good and ethical reason why people would reprint verbatim something that's available online instead of directing their audience to the source? Nothing comes to mind. Am I wrong in thinking this?

                  1. re: Jay2512

                    Wrong, no. It's interesting. Reprinting original work can imply the simple act of copy & paste; adapting is used to imply actually changing up the recipe and presenting it (as SK does page after page for her readers). I'd welcome the actual law and standards regarding these questions you raise but I will say this...a blogger does not have to state what their relationship to the original work is directly on their blog. As long as they have permission in writing from an author or origin source who requires it, filed in a drawer somewhere they are covering the necessary permissions. Only the blogger knows what occurs behind the scenes of their food blog.

                    I do not think who owns the recipe is irrelevant, I think it's very relevant; especially as it applies to reprinting, copyright and commerce.

                    If anyone following along knows the law or can cite a link on this issue, I'd love to learn more.

                    1. re: HillJ

                      Three points really quick.
                      1. I don't see evidence of recipes being changed up in the examples cited here (there are many more, I just didn't have time). The source recipes and SK's versions are exactly the same, word for word. No evidence of rewriting as far as I can see. (A short blurb introducing a recipe does not count as rewriting.)

                      2. It is perhaps true that a blogger is not obligated to disclose the relationship with the sources. In fact, I'm giving SK the benefit of a doubt. But then without the clarity that would have come with something so simple and straightforward as "reprinted with permission," I wouldn't be surprised if there are bloggers out there who think it's okay to copy contents from another source, any source, and paste them on their own site then call that an adaptation.

                      3. The question of why a duplicate and not a link has not been answered.

                      Look forward too to hearing from those who know the laws. I have to state that my intention is not to call people out but to get some clarification on what's legal and what's not. Also, something completely legal can be totally uncool. A site with such high visibility and accolade definitely has influence on other bloggers.

                      1. re: Jay2512

                        Another approach Jay2512 is to email the blog owner privately and ask the question. Bloggers take all sorts of questions from their readers and you can reach SK directly via her email posted.

                        You might find this link informative: http://foodblogalliance.com/2009/04/r...

                        Thank you for bringing the discussion forward. I share your interest.

                        1. re: Jay2512

                          Just to piggyback, is it actually illegal to reprint a recipe without citation? It may be sort of rude, (which I agree with), but I think you're clearly within your rights. Some things simply can't be copyrighted, and I believe that recipes are one of those things.
                          Now, the text accompanying the recipe can definitely be copyrighted. That's intellectual property. But I'm not so certain that a recipe falls under that purview.

                          1. re: gilintx

                            A list of ingredients alone is not subject to copyright protection. Substantial literary expression (the instructions) is.

                            http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl122.html

                            To get around this, some people have taken to copying the ingredient list word for word and rewrite part of the instructions. Legally, they may be able to get away with this. But there's no denying that there's a douche factor in this kind of practice.

                            In the case of SK, I really don't know what the deal is. Word for word. No rewriting. No evidence of deceit either as the sources are cited.

                            {shrug}

                            1. re: Jay2512

                              Given that SK has a cookbook deal in the works the publisher and their legal team should be quite familiar with her particular blog practice and will guide her as required by law. Until SK actually answers this question, I'm siding on not having enough information to draw conclusions.

                              1. re: Jay2512

                                Thanks for posting this link Jay. Its easy to imagine how complex this issue becomes when materials are posted on-line, crossing multiple global jurisdictions all with varying degrees of, and in some cases, no legal protection for intellectual property.

                                You would hope folks would proceed on the side of caution but, clearly that's not the case.

                                1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                  The Food Blog Alliance seems to be addressing many of these issues under a new frontier...but it still comes down to food bloggers putting these guidelines into practice. If any legal battles ever make the light of day, I would imagine more people running food blogs would pay attention.

                                  1. re: HillJ

                                    You're likely right HillJ, look what happened in the music industry.

                                    1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                      Sadly, B, in just about every industry. And the music industry has deep pockets to protect its clients and still ran into major headaches...the average bloke starting out or in biz for himself has a big hurdle.

                                      The entire intellectual property genre is up against a huge global space thanks in part to the ease of the Net....only way to buck against it is to safeguard your work with security software and legal notices....and even then you could find your original work placed in another space....or you don't post your work at all.

                                      Ah the modern age.

                                      1. re: HillJ

                                        Agreed HillJ, between the internet and globalization, we're living in a completely different world. I wonder what's yet to come....

                              2. re: gilintx

                                How many recipes are truly original? If you Google one it will come up on many web sites. If you're worried about it all you have to do is change one thing...example.. 3/4t of salt instead of 1t.....sure won't make a difference in the recipe, but it's all yours!!

                          2. re: Jay2512

                            If I write recipes and put them online, I would want people to link to my site instead of putting my words verbatim on their own site and say they have "adapted" from my recipes.
                            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                            I can respect that and you can take measures to make that clear in plain language but you can also expect to spend every waking hour locating your original recipe on other sites who believe "if it's on the FREE internet, it must be free information to use as I please." I've had two work experiences like this (non-food related). Today, I use setup measures that make my work online impossible to lift without inkmarks and fragments.

                            1. re: Jay2512

                              As someone who writes my own recipes, it would be most annoying for another food blogger (even with atribution and a link) to copy my creation in full on their own page. While food culture is great in that want to share good ideas, the originators should at least be able to count on others to respect the work and creativity put into it enough to refer to the source rather than take from it. Copy and pasters and lazy pseudo-adapters should be called out for inconsiderate behavior when they use other people's work to fill their own pages. Maybe that's just me getting my dander up at the notion of my work being lifted but, whatever the letter of the law, stealing is stealing.

                              1. re: mangetoutoc

                                I don't mean to be confrontational, but could you please post one of your "own" recipes? I rarely come upon a recipe that is not derivative in some way, which is not always a bad thing. Sometimes the addition of an ingredient or the tweaking of a technique can make a huge difference. I'm not sure that such changes equal an original recipe, however.

                                1. re: pikawicca

                                  Excellent point pikaw.; this debate works both ways. Origin of recipe, true ownership is not as easy as one might think. Plus, blogging by its nature is an individual or individuals journaling about items that interest them, hobbies, collective wisdom, AND original work. Sharing a recipe on a personal blog isn't stealing unless the blogger is outright attributing every aspect of the recipe, procedure, copyright and design to themselves. If one reads a blog you will often see the back story of discovering a recipe elsewhere, buying the ingredients, making the dish with some personal preference tweaks and writing about the experience for their readers. As for the law, hard & fast rules apply to certain aspects of recipe copywrite but not all...and as for sharing information over the Internet...the law is still being written.

                                  1. re: HillJ

                                    I guess stealing is a bit of a strong word, HillJ, but it does (at least karmically) apply in terms of reaping benefit from using someone else's content to entertain one's own readers. I suppose, to me, even if one includes attribution and a link, their readers are not as likely to go to the source if the thing is already posted in full. Certainly, it is not an according-to-Hoyle legal thing, at least yet, but since website owners can benefit from their traffic (via advertising, sponsors, etc) it is a rather shifty thing IMO to lift the reason for the traffic (the content). *heh* Guess that's the webmistress and content producer in me showing. Once I've put time, energy, and budget into creating something to share, I get a bit protective of it.

                                    1. re: mangetoutoc

                                      But is the benefit shared joy with fellow food lovers or for financial gain? I'm not condoning the practice, I'm simply of the belief that recipes of origin are not easy to identify, that readers do not always know what is happening behind the blog-scene as to whether or not permissions have in fact been granted and without proof positive on the "motive" of any given blogger I'm going to side on the positive and believe that food bloggers (or bloggers in general) do not wish harm, do not have bad intent and that the legalees on blogging will continue to form and be shared with layman and pros using blogging as a communication tool. Last I checked, blogging was a phenom in the thousands and I anticipate alot of new frontiers and lessons to come from the popularity. As for bad apples...well then yes, karma of one sort or another, is for those elk to deal w/. I agree, protecting your original work is always a good practice. Keeping original work 100% out of the hands of viral communications entails avoiding the Net altogether and sharing your work in another way..but then that doesn't always stop someone else from sharing their enjoyment of your work with family & friends online. In this day and age, most people can't help but share information they like with others online....so where one draws the line has many answers.

                                  2. re: pikawicca

                                    No worries, pikawicca, no confrontation taken. I utterly agree with your point about most recipes being derivative. There is very little brand new under the food sun earlier cooks haven't though of already. Even the recipes I write are often based on something, usually dishes I've tasted and enjoyed. I think, in the end, the difference is in how I handle it vs some others who use someone else's recipe as a jumping off point. Rather than working off existing recipes (outside of tweaked family recipes, which I sometimes post as well), I simply gather the ingredients I'd like to taste in my version and write down what I throw in the mix as I do it, adding to it if I tinker during the process. In some cases, it's really just another version of the dish, while other times it becomes a virtually completely different thing by time I'm done with it.

                                    I write most of the food portion of the blog at Sex, Food, and Comic Books. My posts are here: http://sexfoodandcomicbooks.com/food/...

                                    1. re: pikawicca

                                      I have made up my own recipes. I like different things from different cultures and sometimes I mix things and get a good result. I guess that is a quasi derivation. I make a lamb and rice casserole with spinach, onion and cinnamon layered and then topped with a layer of yogurt and baked. I have had lamb and rice baked together and spinach with lamb or rice, but I have never had anything baked with yogurt on it, but I figured I love yogurt made into cheese so I thought - why not! On went the yogurt and 20 years later I am still making it to the clappy excitement of my loved ones.

                                      Now, if I were writing recipes for a living - derivation or fusion or whatever - but my own from my own head and trying to make a living from it and some wiseguy claimed it as his own or as an adaptation when it was actually just stealing... I would be pretty darn pissed. It is someone's livelihood! Food for their own children.

                                2. re: HillJ

                                  Gourmet spent more than a million dollars a year on its test kitchen, flying its many cooks around the world; perfecting and testing recipes to within an inch of their lives. Sometimes the recipes were original, sometimes they were inspired by things the cooks or editors had tasted, but it was never - never! - as simple as copying and pasting. And while, say, a dish like cassoulet may have existed for hundreds of years, Gourmet's cassoulet (even if it isn't the version you like the best) was re-engineered.

                                  There may be few new recipes, but there are new approaches, and the few people who actually write the recipes know.

                                  1. re: condiment

                                    hi condiment. What's happening at Gourmet dot com? Big changes. I don't disagree with the magazine we came to count on...but this is not the current Gourmet now avail. online.

                                  2. re: HillJ

                                    Just one small point. Epicurious is owned by the same company as Gourmet (was) and Bon Appetit is Conde Naste Digital. The have the right to reproduce exactly all the recipes from those magazines because it is a sister organization meant to give their recipes a functional web presence.

                                    1. re: smkit

                                      I understand the connections. I was referring to anyone else who "stops by" the Gourmet site and its many links. Cut & pasting is way to easy at Gourmet dot com. If protecting intellectual property means anything anymore (& it sure does!) why do co's. as smart as Gourmet make their own website so easy to hack?

                                      1. re: HillJ

                                        Roger that. Sorry for misreading the post.

                                  3. re: Jay2512

                                    I totally agree w you Jay. I would expect folks to post links to the original recipe if it's online vs cutting and pasting it. I note in some cases bloggers don't even bother to fix typos etc. . . . a sure sign of "cut and paste". If folks wanted to use one of my recipes, I would expect them to credit me as the source and, obtain my permission before re-printing it. That clearly seems to be the exception rather than the norm though.

                                    1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                      What do you think of this: http://bit.ly/9IBsEF
                                      Adapted from Gourmet. The only change is the first line of the instructions. If I ever submitted a thesis consisting of another person's idea and writing with only one "differently worded" paragraph or sentence, they'd flunk me for plagiarism.

                                      I blame famous bloggers for setting a bad example for lesser known bloggers. Next thing you know, this will become acceptable. Wait, it already has.

                                      1. re: Jay2512

                                        I'd like to hear what Gourmet publishing thinks of bloggers. A great many are adapting from various Gourmet publications. While this appears like plagiarism, Gourmet.com is also blogging and linking bloggers from various food backgrounds and culinary skills. This is really a bigger question for Gourmet. I would find it difficult to believe that Gourmet is not aware of the blogshere and use of their recipes; original, adapted or hacked.

                                        1. re: HillJ

                                          I'm beginning to feel this way, too. Having incoming links placed on various blogs is definitely an advantage for Gourmet (and other Condé Nast publications) from an SEO stand point.

                                        2. re: Jay2512

                                          I don't disagree with you really, but I don't think there's a generally accepted meaning for "adapted". In fact, if your thesis consisted of *attributed* quotes strung together, I don't believe that would be plagiarism. Of course, it would be very lame and hopefully not earn you a degree.

                                          In this case, I think it's the second sentence that has been changed, and the blogger's version has an interesting use of the word "machine", subbed for "mash":

                                          "Let stand, stirring, and machine occasionally for about 10 minutes."

                                          Ironically, this change would actually cause me to look up and work from the original, because it makes me wonder if I am supposed to put the mixture in the ice cream machine at this point!
                                          It's also ironic that the blogger has protected their images with watermarks (or whatever the online version is called).
                                          Yes, this is a good example of a lame post/blog that I wouldn't be back to read again.

                                          1. re: julesrules

                                            LOL

                                            Hey, I guess you could swipe one of her pictures, crop out the watermark, and repost it somewhere else with attribution (photograph "adapted" from ....).

                                            1. re: Jay2512

                                              That's great Jay...love that idea!!!

                                              I took a quick look through this blog and it seems to lack substance yet, there are 600+ followers. It makes me wonder what folks are looking for in a food blog. You would think that a "cut and paste" or "cut, paste and change a word or two" would undermine the credibility of the site/blogger.

                                              If I want a recipe from Gourmet, I'd go to Epi and search there, especially since I get the benefit of the feedback and ratings of others who have made a dish.

                                              Other than the pretty pictures, I'd like to know what the value proposition of a blog like this is.

                                              1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                Exactly. That's why posting a "slightly adapted" recipe with attribution (just to get your butt off the hook?) is silly.

                                                The only value for the readers that I can think of is that the blogger has tested the recipe so the readers don't have to. But wouldn't it be easier for all involved for the blogger to simply post a link to the recipe which has already been written somewhere else online? Then we wouldn't have had this conversation.

                                                If the recipe comes from a book, then it's different because you can't post a link to something that's not online. But I just can't for the life of me figure out why the entire recipe needs to be reprinted on the blogger's site when a link would have sufficed. Had she done that, there would not have been any objection. She wouldn't have had to invest all that energy cutting, pasting, and changing those few words. The pretty photographs would have been enough to let the readers see what the end result looks like.

                                                Some bloggers prefer linking instead of reprinting existing recipes.
                                                http://bit.ly/aZzgdF
                                                http://bit.ly/cDcBVw
                                                http://bit.ly/b50bBx
                                                There are a few more of them who do this regularly. I say good for them! They test the recipes for me so I won't have to. They include tips on how to avoid the mistakes they've made, what to watch out for, what isn't clear in the instructions, etc. This is good information. If someone is to do someone else's recipe, this would be what I expect from them and nothing more.

                                                There's really no need to reprint something that has already been available elsewhere unless you change it so drastically that linking doesn't make sense.

                                                This leads me to conclude that those who choose to reprint, even with attribution, do so with a questionable motive.

                                                1. re: Jay2512

                                                  Saveur does a pretty good job at making sure THEIR source gets the credit. If they dig out a recipe from long ago (like the 1940's) they tell you where they got it and maybe include something from the article/book that the person reading the Saveur piece might appreciate. Fully credited. If they like a recipe from a blog, they provide the link. Now, they do not demand the links to be above board. I am not sure that is their responsibility.

                                                  1. re: Jay2512

                                                    The only problem with providing a link alone is that if that link ever breaks, deletes, or changes, your post is messed up.

                                                    I appreciate the linking along with the printed recipe on the site I'm looking at.

                                                    1. re: Azizeh

                                                      Are you saying users' convenience justifies plagiarism?

                                        3. re: Jay2512

                                          What an interesting post. I have always wonder what adaptations were being made on blogs claiming to be adapting a recipe. Godda say I am a little shocked after looking at those examples. That does not seem legal. It looks like stealing with attribution. I am not sure how I feel about them now. It seems a little cheap to be a rip off artist with pretty pictures... yet I love the pretty pictures and certain bloggers who have a knack for picking yummy things to ummm.... share?

                                          Food for thought. ~Snicker

                                          1. re: Sal Vanilla

                                            The reason food bloggers post a recipe and provide their readers a step by step hands on experience, often with photos, videos or even illustrations is (often) because the blog form (meaning the definition of blogging) is a personal journal and journey; sharing experiences and ideas. For some food bloggers that journey is working through a recipe, for others a restaurant experience, for others a food author, and so on. I think what is forgotten when commenting on the blogsphere is how this medium began and why.

                                            Beyond that point, there are good and bad bloggers; thoughtful and thoughtless journals and it is up to your taste buds (if you will) to decide the rest.

                                            1. re: HillJ

                                              HillJ, yeah, like we've discussed before. If the blogger rewrites a recipe originally published on another website entirely in his or her own words with comments and remarks detailing his or her experience making the recipe, it's one thing. What some of us can't understand is when a recipe in its original composition is reprinted on the blogger's site often with nothing but attribution (or a paragraph introducing the recipe added in the beginning which does not constitute a rewrite). Why not just link then?

                                              Oh, yeah, search engine optimization. You get more traffic that way.

                                              1. re: Jay2512

                                                Hi Jay, Sure, for some it's traffic, it's providing a "guided tour" of the recipe as the blogger works thru the recipe for its readers, it's how bloggers are encouraged to post AND thru posting a full on recipe might be the criteria of the actual recipe owner that the recipe be posted and linked. Permission is given/granted (hopefully asked for) in all sorts of ways.

                                                2nd point, this answer does not have a one size fits all answer. Bloggers vary, recipe use criteria vary, results vary.

                                            2. re: Sal Vanilla

                                              Agreed. Every time someone reprints other people's contents VERBATIM instead of providing linkage, their intention (and integrity) should be questioned.

                                        4. Jay2512, you've hit on a great many keen observations regarding food blogging. Whether a hobbyist, marketing genius, web site owner with an active blog, an accidental food blogging sensation turned cookbook author or a defunct newspaper/magazine that's switched to blogging...the medium is not going away anytime soon...on any topic. Advertisers love the revenue. Let's face it, busy people love quick information.

                                          Like any interesting community, people seek out like-minded folks and bloggers and blogHERS have found each other for the same reason a site like CH attracts food lovers. At the backbone of all this interaction is the way we communicate via the Net. No comparing the global reach of today with the past. No comparing e-media we all enjoy today with the past. Blogging is already passe..vlogging, podcasting, food bootcamps, webinars, YouTube videos, recipe swaps...all old hat already.

                                          As for adaptation, recipe sharing, copyright and this sort of thing...unless the work is sold for dilberate profit...and until Internet laws are hard wired...it's a case by case basis for concern for those who do or don't want their original work cited, republished or credited. In most cases, original authors are delighted for a NEW and expanding audience. Bloggers can reach. If an author wants their work removed it's done with a few keystrokes. Many experienced bloggers do ask for permission and rec' it.

                                          As for overrated blogs, well like any new author....finding your audience...is a challenge. Blogs that have a limited audience aren't necessary underrated and the hot blogs, winning all sorts of webby's and such aren't necessarily overrated...it's still comes down to personal taste. And folks voting with their keyboard won't be ignored by ad co's. Have you noticed how many food bloggers are enjoying ad revenue? And, what they are doing with that revenue? Interesting "new" medium.

                                          The photography can be outstanding. I read recently that the digital camera biz and the software co's developing programs like Photoshop owe bloggers and their followers a great deal.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: HillJ

                                            Thanks for your insight, HillJ. Regarding adaptation, please see my reply to Breadcrumbs above.

                                          2. I don't follow any blogs in particular, but I generally get my recipes on the web these days and I find bloggers as reliable a source as any on the net.
                                            But last fall I made a Nigella recipe for brown butter cupcakes that I first read about here on CH. It seems there was an editing error in the first American version of the source cookbook, such that the recipe called for both self-raising flour AND baking powder (I guess the former is more commonly used in the UK, the latter in North America). There was much discussion on CH on how to adapt the recipe not to mention a general consensus that it had to be an error.
                                            Well, when I started searching for the actual recipe online, I was amazed how many bloggers simply reprinted the list of ingredients with no comment on the weirdness of it, or what they actually used to make their cupcakes, or if they actually followed that version, how they thought it affected the result. It definitely made me question the general credibility of the baking blogosphere, because it seems like Baking 102 to at least question why a recipe would use both.
                                            But then I guess that's why I love CH and pretty cupcake blogs, not so much :)

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: julesrules

                                              I totally agree. Yeah, I'm with you. It doesn't always apply, of course, but if a blog is all about pretty cupcakes, the blogger is usually an amateur baker with an expensive-@$$ camera. Most of them won't detect something like what you've cited here which would have stood out to veterans bakers.