Monday, April 03, 2006

What does an "adapted recipe" mean to you?

I share a lot of recipes from cookbooks and use the following definitions regarding recipes:

1. If I follow a recipe exactly and it's not available to link to online, I don't include the recipe but instead include a vague description of the ingredients and describe how it tastes.
2. If I make minor changes to a recipe (a change to ingredients), I include it as an adapted recipe of X.
3. If I got a combination of ingredients idea from a particular recipe or a recipe somehow inspires me to come up with a recipe, I credit it as a recipe inspired by X.

I see a lot of recipes listed as "adapted from" and I'm wondering what that means to others.

Also, I've noted some disclaimer statements on some sites. I'm wondering why people include these.

Thanks in advance for your input

This Post was written by Catherine from Albion Cooks


fooDcrazEE said...

u r on the right track given to those whose recipe belongs.

The disclaimer is just to protect ourselves.

Andrew said...

I believe the law is vague on copying recipes (probably covered here before) but if you use a recipe from a book you should include full details ie title, author etc. You can list the ingredients exactly but the steps to make the dish should be in your own words and not copied verbatim.

Adapted from means just that - you have taken the recipe and made some changes.

Barbara said...

What Andrew said--that is the correct form as listed in The Recipe Writer's Handbook by Ostmann and Baker.

When I say, "adapted from," on a recipe on my blog, I always say who it is from, etc, and then give the recipe, sometimes in its original form, with my changes in different type or in parenthesis, so the reader gets two recipes for one.

And for me, "adapted from" is when I make only a few changes to a recipe. Enough changes to make it my variation, but not enough to utterly change the character of the dish. If the dish becomes unrecognizable because of my adapatations, I may still acknowledge the parent source, but I usually give it another name, because once I have changed the main ingredients, proportions, prep method and cooking method and time, it is no longer the same recipe anymore.

That said, I very seldom follow a recipe exactly. Not even baking recipes anymore--I finally have enoug experience to know how far I can change baking recipes without a disaster.

Anonymous said...

I always give credit for a recipe while noting to change it.


Rosie said...

Howdy folks!

I wrote an entry on "cookyright" recently -

I didn't see any mention of "fair use" for copyrighted material. Some good guidelines are found at

There are also older books where copyright may have lapsed. This is known as "public domain". I have a couple older books that fall into this catagory and legally have the right to use the contents at will.

Of course, legal requirements are very different from ethics. If you feel it is unethical to post recipes on your site - even if it may fall within the legal definition of "fair use" - then you should act in accordance to your ethical standards.

Catherine said...

Thanks to all of you for your feedback.

I always list the author and cookbook and provide a link to purchase the book, where possible. I realize, however, that I should be noting how I changed the recipe from the original. I like Barbara's suggestion about making this clear by using a different font. And thanks for the book tip - I've ordered The Recipe Writer's Handbook.

In regards to a disclaimer, though, I wonder why they are necessary? Has anyone been sued for anguish caused by a failed recipe? Am I naively missing something?

Emily Stone said...


Thank you for mentioning copyrights and fair use. I have been doing a lot of recipes on my blog recently (, some my own but many taken from cookbooks or other publications. My blog is fairly new but I have every intention to help it grow, not just in the number of posts but in the amount of recognition. At the very least, I want everything I publish on Chocolate in Context to be legal and ethical. At times, the technical ease of posting something on the internet can overshadow the legal ease of doing so.

If necessary, I will begin writing to the publications I have in mind to cite to ask permission. But I haven't been doing this for a couple of reasons. First, requesting and awaiting permission is a complicated and time-consuming process. And, second, I have (tentatively) concluded that such permission is not necessary according to US copyright law. I've looked at the Fair Use doctrine (see, and it seems to me that the best support for reproducing recipes is that citations for the purpose of both criticism and commentary are allowed under the fair use doctrine. So if I quote a recipe as part of a book review, or reproduce a recipe (citing the original source, of course) in order to test it and comment on the results, am I in safe legal territory?

What do newspapers and magazines do when reprinting recipes from cookbooks? Do they always have permission, even in reviews?

I'd love to get an expert opinion on this. Many, many thanks.


ejm said...

No expert comment here...

I do basically the same as Barbara. If I have made zero changes to the recipe, I simply refer to the page number of the book or URL used.

That being said, I'm generally incapable of following a recipe exactly. In those cases, I type up a whole new list of ingredients, invariably changing the order (because SO many recipes do not list the ingredients in order of use), writing up the instructions in my own words and state that it is based or inspired by the other recipe. I then offer a link to the actual recipe via URL or title of cookbook and author if known.

Just as often, the recipe I end up with is an amalgamation of several recipes. In those cases, I don't usually feel that I am obligated to say which recipes were consulted (unless one or two from which I have been borrowed outstandingly.)

I hope that what I do is considered correct.


P.S. I believe that under no circumstances is one allowed, without specific permission from the publisher, to type out a recipe verbatim (even with added notes in a different font) from copyrighted material - even if credit is given.

ejm said...

I just read over what I typed:

unless one or two from which I have been borrowed outstandingly.

Yikes!!! How's that for wording?!

So sorry. I meant to say:

"unless one or two have been borrowed from outstandingly."

Rrrrrrr, not much better, is it? No matter, I'm sure you get my gist.


Barbara said...

Emily--newspapers and magazines get permission from the publishers (or the holder of the copyright) in order to reproduce recipes from cookbooks.

If they don't do this, they can get sued for it--and depending on whose recipe they print without permission, very well might.

Especially if they don't give attribution.

McAuliflower said...

Alot of (most?) newspapers don't get permission regarding reprinting a recipe. If you'll check out the inside of your average cookbook you'll find this wording:
"No part of this book may be reproduced in any form, except brief excerpts for the purpose of review...". Also, when a press release about a new cookbook is sent out to a magazine or newspaper it will include a recipe for them to try (and print).

I think of my reposting of recipes as a review of the cookbook I am using.

Emily Stone said...

So what does everyone think of contacting the publisher (or holder of the copyright) and asking permission? Do some of you bloggers do this? What are the results? Are you able to get permission more often than not? Thanks.

qishaya said...

Milan create week ended last night with donatella christian louboutin london disregard presenting the ending show of the autumn christian louboutin online frost 2003 italian collections.Donatella, the creative chief of christian boots the house her delayed brother founded, delivered a collection that was, christian louboutin uk as they say, very christian louboutin shoes.First up was the versus limit, louboutin boots the cheaper christian louboutin line. Girls stomped christian louboutin 2010 out with backcombed tresses bearing turquoise leather trousers, christian louboutin uk sale patchwork pullover and blonde fur sliced into stoles and active jackets. christian boots uk But this aggressive hell’s angels look almost seemed a caricature of the christian louboutin boots christian louboutin boots comfort. louboutin sandals Next up was gianni christian louboutin, buy christian louboutin the main collection.

longge said...

The haversack of a louis vuitton
. As for Louis vuitton bags
, the designers accept their own cast value, even for their louis vuitton handbags
. lv
is so abiding and accept able ability for water-proof and fire-proof.

dingdang said...

In the case of CHEYENNE
recorders, even bifold band recording is provided, so that its anamnesis can still be broadcast to some extent. This advantage is not accessible in CD. Similarly, CHEYENNE DVD amateur can bake DVD data, CD data, VCD abstracts etc. But, in case of CD, this case is not applicable. It can address alone CD formats and not others. In case of Combo drive, it can be acclimated to appearance CHEYENNE DVD COLLECTION files.
Tiffany jewellery is one of the most well known brand names and design houses in the jewelry business. The quality of Tiffany rings , customer satisfaction and the fine designs of silver rings offered by the company are one of the best in their times. The company is primarily famous for Tiffany earrings superb quality and artisanship.

Anonymous said...

Tim Gifford, chief Ed Hardy Swimwear executive of Alexandra, refused to Abercrombie Shirts comment on the rumours and it Ed Hardy Swimwear is not known what firm has made Ed

Hardy Swimwear
the enquiries. Last summer Alexandra Plc returned a £10 million loss and saw sales slump 17 percent ed hardy swimsuits in the six months to July last year. Mr Gifford took over

as chief executive at the firm last July. He joined the firm along with Elaine New, who became the company's finance director.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this blog. I'm glad I'm not the only one with questions. I was just very politely told that I copied, not adapted, someone's recipe since it has the same ingredients. My ingredients were multiplied by 6 because that's the way I like it and I suggested using different forms of the ingredients; but that wasn't different enough to call it "adapted". She suggested I use a different title which I promptly did. She also told me that I didn't break the copyright because I put it in my own words. She said some things about reprinting which I'm very unclear on. I will investigate further. I better find a suitable disclaimer as well. I always link to the recipes I'm inspired by, adapt, or whatever. My blog is set up so it notifies the owners of any posts I include links to. This is how I got this valuable info. I see this post is very old, so hopefully you know what you're doing now. Please share!