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cookbooks, recipes, and so on

updated sun 5 jan 03


Lily Krakowski on sat 4 jan 03

Years ago I wrote a cookbook. The copyright "situation" of recipes was
discussed. I know there are lawyers lurking out there, who actually are
experts on copyright law, so lettuce put that on hold. Come on Esquires; we
entertain you enough. Step out of the shadows, and dance for US!

One of the beautiful things about Rabbinic literature is that there are
repeated statements like this: And Rabbi A said, in the name of his Master,
Rabbi B...."

And that is how it should be. In my opinion, knowledge is not private
property (Wow! I figured out how to soft boil an egg! I am never ever going
to tell anyone how it is done!) but we are conduits FOR knowledge: our
teachers pour it into us, and we spout it out to others.

Over the 53 years I have been in clay I have gotten lots of recipes, and
have had to reformulate them as materials have gone off the market and some
new ones shown up. My original Colemanite glazes became Frit 3191 or W 15
[?] recipes, then GB recipes, now Frit 3124 or 3134 ones. I converted as
many of my recipes from whiting/dolomite ones to Wollastonite/talc ones.
(Those who need to ask why are proving the point I will get to in a minute)
And of course, once Robin Hopper mentionned that strontium is much like
barium I was off and running with strontium blues...Are these transmogrified
recipes the originators' , or mine?

My feeling remains what it long has been. If something appears in a
brand-new book it is wrong to copy out anything in the book and pass it on.
Why? Because the author worked hard at compiling the book, the publisher
put money into distributing it, and the bookseller is donating shelves to
display it....All these people are investing huge sums in TRUSTING US.

But books go OP all too soon. What about recipes that are 20 years old?
Once a book is readily available at libraries, used book stores, in the
common discourse of potters, I think it ok to pass it on. Just do what the
rabbis do/did. This is a recipe from my teacher...

I have passed on many Hobart Cowles recipes. I always give him credit. I
always ask that the recipient mark it in her notes as an HB glaze. When I
get a recipe from a friend, and there is no other attribution I label it
with the name of the person who gave it to me.

As for my own recipes anyone can have any recipe I have. It either works
for them or it don't.

Which brings me to a major caveat. (See Why That Glaze Does Not Work, CM
sometime in 1985) Glazes--like cooking recipes-- are rarely perfect. They
frequently need adjustment--to a kiln, a body, a change in the raw materials
and so on. Every novice MUST learn the ropes; the nature of the materials,
the calculations, the best way to apply and such.

So Cathy: if I send you the molecular formula of my best glaze will you
send me the recipe? If I send you the recipe, will you send me back the
formula? If not, then I might just as well mix up the glaze and send it to
you--better yet, as I do not have the time right now, and my glaze pantry is
under snow-- buy a commercial glaze.

Lili Krakowski
P.O. Box #1
Constableville, N.Y.
(315) 942-5916/ 397-2389

Be of good courage....