The Billfold looks at the pros and cons of hiring a service to provide you with quality ingredients from local farmers in the appropriate quantities for a meal. The two major perks of this service–you save time on shopping, and you don’t have to manage a lot of food waste–are two reasons why it wouldn’t be a great fit for me: I live near enough to several fresh markets that shopping is not a problem, and transforming food waste into more food is part of the fun for me. (Indeed, this seems like a good time to mention my newest Pinterest board, Waste Not Want Not, where I started keeping track of the ways I’ve found to use up odds and ends or preserve foods that come in quantity.) But I mention it because the existence of several different delivery services for food you must then cook yourself suggests a sea change in cultural attitudes toward cooking. We want to cook, we want a variety of delicious and nourishing dinners, but we are still collectively an overworked and overscheduled society, so those wants are difficult to reconcile without help.
I am often thankful for internet recipes when I’ve got a grocery puzzle to solve: for example, I had half a packet of wine yeast leftover from a homemade ginger beer experiment (not successful), and I wondered whether you can use wine yeast to make bread (yes) and if you can make decent bread without lots of kneading or special equipment (also yes). But this proliferation of free advice often raises questions: where did these recipes come from? How do we know they work? I chose to try the linked recipe because it looked simple and also because I saw several other blogs citing it, and concluded that it was a successful recipe; the blogger herself took the recipe from various sources, one of which she links to. This is a wilderness of feral recipes: who owns them? who could claim them? That’s the driving question of this Montreal Gazette piece on recipe plagiarism and recipe writers who take legal action.
In one instance, a charity cookbook published seven of [Paula] Wolfert’s recipes, without permission and uncredited.
“Legally,” said the head of the group that put that cookbook together back in 1983, “a recipe never belongs to anyone.”
Wolfert agrees, somewhat, but stipulates: “According to the author’s guild, no one owns a recipe. Not an ingredient list, because otherwise a recipe like mayonnaise could never get repeated. But you can only own the language of a recipe, the written text.”
Yeonju Sung is an artist who constructs and photographs gorgeous and vividly colored clothes made out of tomatoes, squashes, boy choy leaves, and other vegetal materials. From her site:
“Wearable Foods” series is the first long term project she started two years ago and it still continues to this day. . . . This series of her work forces viewers to defy the actual meaning, the functionalities, and the aspects of what clothing signifies in our lives. The essence of clothing and food has been reinterpreted. Each element does not fulfill its own role and yet, each suggests an unconventional and even contradicting role – un-wearable clothing that is made out of the materials that do not last.
Can’t pick a favorite: this prim and pretty leek dress on the right, or the purple cabbage corset that reminds me of exploring What Color is This Cabbage in the wake of #TheDress meme.