But that ties in really nicely with today’s guest post because my recipes are hardly that. I kinda, sorta mulch things together and end up with something that’s usually edible and tasty (I’m lucky like that). But it does make me wonder if my ‘experiments’ would be less hit and miss if I used a recipe.
Anyway, here’s Nick Baron. ^_^
Great Aunt Sally would be so proud. You are finally going to put into print the recipe for the most mouth-watering loaf of wonderful beef and finely chopped vegetables. Swept away on a cloud of nostalgia, you float through memories that conjure up each ingredient. You can smell the onions. You can see the bright orange bits of carrot and fresh green peppers being cut by your aunt’s capable hands. With your chest puffed up with pride, you hand the list of inspired elements to your bespectacled niece Brittany, who has volunteered to be your typist. Brittany prances out of the room only to return a few moments later with her laptop in her hand. She turns the monitor towards you. You see on the screen your worst nightmare! Your beloved aunt’s recipe, exact in every proportion, available in a downloadable copy of the 1936 edition of The Joy of Cooking published by Irma S. Rombauer. As you collapse into your chair, crushed and in shock, your niece is already pecking away again at the keyboard.
5 Heaping Scoops of Inward Workings
“Lists of ingredients, as in recipes or formulas, are not eligible for copyright,” Brittany paraphrases from an article. However, your dashed hopes are now cautious suspicions. That person is not a lawyer, you think to yourself. Though she makes no claims to telepathic powers, Brittany is already at the website for the United States Copyright Office before you can say a word. Based on your humble interpretation, it seems that the proprietary element of a recipe is the description or the directions. Those ingredients reflect no creative expression, but the commentary or directions may be protected. Your risk of being sued is probably low, but still possible if your directions are too close to the original.
A Small Pinch of “What’s the Point?”
Now you know that Belinda B. Doolittle, the only sister of your dear mum, did not invent the delightful meatloaf recipe. What is the point of trying to write it down? This sentiment you voice aloud before your uncanny sidekick can read your mind again. Brittany looks at you over her trendy purple plastic frames.
“The point is, to share the recipe. You were never going to write a whole book anyway.” Young people think they are so smart nowadays! Yes, you were never writing a cookbook. You are not copying from the book, and you wrote the ingredients in your own words. Brittany sashays back to the office and zips off a copy. You enter the room at her call and look over her shoulder.
The Finishing Touches
Though you do not see any of the telltale squiggly red or green lines that indicate spelling or grammar errors, you know better. Your mother-in-law zeroes in on errors like a heat-seeking missile. She would definitely find something to criticize. You work for Grammarly, a proofreading service. You have seen even the most educated authors make mistakes if they do not use proofing tools. Sure enough, the absence of a squiggly line does not indicate the absence of an error. Brittany has a great time helping you to correct your twelve mistakes. With the click of a mouse, the printer is churning out 15 copies of Great Aunt Sally’s Not-so-Secret Meatloaf recipe to be distributed at the next family dinner.
Ready to Serve!
If you have always had the secret hope of publishing your own cookbook, let me save you the emotional rollercoaster ride. You can do it! Make sure that the recipe descriptions are original. The organization, or composition, of the cookbook also needs to be unique. However, do not assume that a secret family recipe is not an already-published, well-known recipe. Chances are that your ancestors too owned a cookbook!
Heh, maybe it’s years of cooking from my mother’s before me passed down through my braaaaaaaaaaaain! :p Thanks for stopping by, Nick!