Utterly ridiculous part 1

I wrote a post recently about a bento lunch in which I had French toast and SPAM squares, which I ate like sandwiches. It was very simple to make, so simple in fact, that 1) I didn’t use a recipe and 2) I didn’t even think of what I did as a recipe.

This was the lunch I’m referring to:

Thursday bento lunch with salad, SPAM and French toast

Imagine my bemusement when I received this comment today, from someone named Patti Evert:

You stole the French Toast and Spam recipe from me. I have had it published on Allrecipes.com, my own recipe, so I would appreciate it if you would give me credit. http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/French-Toast-and-Spam-Sandwiches/Detail.aspx.

I thought I’d respond to Patti publicly, as I am personally affronted by her accusation. In fact, let me take this opportunity to explain to Patti why this accusation is completely unreasonable and utterly ridiculous. I’ve emailed Patti to tell her I’ve responded to her accusation here at this post.

Firstly: I think it’s absolutely ludicrous to claim a “recipe” like this as your own. It’s certainly not that original. Patti, you’d probably like to think that your recipe is a unique idea, but seriously, I think you’ll find other people have come up with similar ideas, without needing to copy or even be inspired by your “recipe”. I wasn’t even aware of your “recipe” until you decided to accuse me of theft.

Would you like to accuse these people of theft of your recipe?
Zippy’s Online menu (see French toast sandwich).

Or maybe you already have.

Secondly: Patti, if you had bothered to do any research and looked at previous posts at how I make French toast, you’d see very quickly that I make French toast differently to how you do. In fact, I’ve published a “recipe” for my version of French toast previously (and I don’t claim it as “my own recipe” – it’s just my version of a popular dish that can be made in a variety of ways). Your French toast consists of bread, milk and eggs. I describe the way I make French toast in my own words on my site. I use bread, soy milk, eggs and a little raw sugar or honey. I fry my French toast in a little butter. I notice your recipe says nothing about butter. It could be argued that your version of French toast and my version of French toast would taste quite different, since my French toast has sugar or honey in it and is fried in butter. A stolen recipe? I think not.

The funny thing is, when I made the French toast and fried up the SPAM for my bento lunch, I actually did not intend to eat the SPAM and French toast as sandwiches; in fact, I packed myself maple syrup to eat with the French toast as a kind of dessert, and I planned to eat my SPAM as meat to go with the salad I’d packed. I cut the SPAM and French toast in similar sizes more for presentational purposes than anything else. I didn’t even pack them as sandwiches, if you look properly at the photo. And in the end, the way I ate them was pretty relaxed, in a way that gave me maximum pleasure at the time, with only some of the SPAM and French toast eaten as sandwiches. I wrote: “I ate some of the French toast and SPAM as mini square sandwiches, yum. I ate some of the French toast with a little maple syrup. And then I ate some SPAM with maple syrup.”

Hmmm. Given that I’ve demonstrated how my “recipe” for French toast is actually quite different to Patti’s, I think what she meant to accuse me of was not stealing her recipe as such, but stealing her idea. But as I’ve said earlier, the idea to combine French toast with SPAM (or indeed ham, bacon, sausage or any other breakfast meat) is certainly not unique to her. She’d probably like to believe that, but it just isn’t the case.

If Patti had looked carefully through my site, she’d see that I always acknowledge my sources when I do use other recipes, or have been inspired by them. I have nothing to gain by claiming other people’s recipes as my own. I also don’t feel compelled to claim simple recipes such as “French toast and SPAM sandwiches” (well, seeing as I didn’t actually set out to make French toast and SPAM sandwiches, there really was no “recipe” anyway, I just described how I happened to eat my French toast and my SPAM that day!) as my own. If someone out there on the internet happened to cut their French toast into squares, I certainly wouldn’t accuse them of stealing my idea or my recipe.

Patti, I have been making French toast and cooking with SPAM for years; I have certainly not copied or stolen your “recipe” (nor would I need to); you are completely naive if you think you are the only person out there who would ever come up with the idea (idea, not recipe – and I have proven in this post that I certainly did not steal any recipe of yours) to combine French toast with SPAM. If you think having taken the time to write out the “recipe” for French toast and SPAM sandwiches gives you some sort of authority or claim as the author of the “idea” or “concept”, you’re wrong. You’re not the only person to ever come up with the idea on your own. Some of us out there have brains and creativity too, and it doesn’t take much for us to think of combining our favourite foods to come up with even more enjoyable dishes.

And where did you learn to make French toast, Patti? Has anyone accused you of “stealing” their “recipe” for French toast? Or are you claiming French toast as your recipe as well? If you happen to like mustard and lettuce on a ham and cheese sandwich, would you accuse anyone else who made their ham and cheese sandwiches with mustard and lettuce of theft of “your recipe”? If that sounds utterly ridiculous to you, that’s because it is – and it’s as ridiculous as the claim you’re making.

So, it’s a big fat no from me – I will not be giving you credit as you have demanded, as you have no right to credit in this case. I did not get the “recipe” from you. I didn’t even get the idea from your “recipe”, and I certainly do not appreciate the manner in which you accused me of theft. I try to be nice to people; I generally don’t go out of my way to be nasty, confrontational or sarcastic to people, and indeed, I do receive many comments and emails from people that upset me, offend me, and make me angry – but I just could not sit back passively in this case and allow you to accuse me – wrongly and quite unreasonably – of theft.

The saga continues!

See Utterly ridiculous part 2 for Patti’s response.

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