I’m inspired by many things: The colours in my herb garden, a perfect bite of cheese at a Toronto Farmer’s Market, the mango salad at my favorite college dive. Just thinking of these experiences makes my fingertips crave a keyboard.
The question: When is it appropriate to type “inspired by” in a food blog post?
At BlogHer Food in Atlanta this May, the “Recipe Writing: Copyright, Credit, and Etiquette” pannellists, Dianne Jacob, David Leite and a lawyer named Liza Barry-Kessler, posed the same question. Attendees gave examples of possible uses. They seemed to agree that you may use “inspired by” if:
- it’s a dish you’ve had in a restaurant and tried to capture for yourself;
- if you’ve recreated the essence of a purchased product (David Leite’s example: some “Cha Cha Cookies” he’d received as a gift);
- if a picture of a particular snack (e.g., fried smelts with lemon wedges) propels you to your deep fryer for a recipe development session;
- if a recipe for one dish has you imagining its flavours in another (e.g., a recipe for a Moroccan Tagine enters your kitchen and comes out as a chicken stuffing with preserved lemon, apricots and saffron).
Interestingly, NONE of the answers involve the writer seeing a recipe for the actual dish.
Conclusion: Even glimpsing a recipe makes it ineligible for “inspired by” status.
When do you use “inspired by”? Does the above restriction work for you?