Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Recipe For Ludicridiculosity

Yes, I just invented that word: ludicridiculosity. A combination of ludicrous and ridiculous, to describe the all-too-prevalent content of our daily news. Let no one tell you our language is dead -- although the standards of some of our journalist wordsmiths may be on life support.

Now, I agree that it would be no fun at all to only have serious news to read. You have to leaven all that heavy stuff with a certain amount of light and airy. So when a newspaper or a magazine decides to run recipes shared by celebrity figures, I certainly have no objection. You never know when you'll run across one that speaks to your tummy.

I think what happens is, the editor says, "Hey, let's ask all the candidate's spouses to share a favorite family recipe!" Not that this is an original way to fill space but you could probably say it's at least traditional. So the reporter assigned this particular chore will contact the target spouses and will probably get the attention of a secretary or PR person or whatever. Fine. That person will email the requested recipe and the reporter will write it up, along with all the others that are emailed in, and everyone is happy, right?


Somebody always gets targeted for high dudgeon and accusations of (gasp!) plagiarism and then everyone jumps on the finger-wagging bandwagon. Before you know it, the hapless celeb has been pilloried to the point where any thinking soul knows, by golly, there stands a criminal of the lowest order -- all over a silly recipe.

It's Cindy McCain's turn in the barrel -- again. Yes, folks, this is her second culinary offense, all because some eagle eye noticed her recipe for butterscotch oatmeal cookies was nearly identical to the recipe at the Hershey web site. The media keeps forgiving Senator McCain for all his misspeaks and flip-flops but, for all her money, Cindy can't buy even a smidgen of ye olde benefit of the doubt.

I hold no brief for the McCains but I have a couple of problems with the Great Recipe Lynching. Aside from the fact that there are certainly issues out there more deserving of critical evaluation and honest anger than suspect recipes, I have to ask these self-styled investigative reporters if they honestly believe there are all that many different ways to make those particular cookies. If you Google "butterscotch oatmeal cookies," you'll get more than 80,000 hits, folks, and while there are certainly variations like the addition of lemon peel or assorted fruits, the basic ingredients are pretty much always the same. Good grief, if they were a whole lot different, they wouldn't be butterscotch oatmeal cookies anymore. They'd be -- uhmmm -- lemon bars or snickerdoodles or chocolate chip, for cryin' out loud.

I'll tell you what ... if I ever get rich and famous and they ask me for a favorite recipe, I'm gonna make up something that would be the envy of Marie Leveau, of voodoo fame. And it sure won't show up on the Hershey site, let me tell you!

At least, I don't think it will. They haven't done anything like chocolate-covered anti-muckraker potion, have they? That would just be ludicridiculous.


Becky said...

If I were to be asked for a recipe, I swear I'd tell the asker that I always liked the recipe for XYZ goodie from pick-a-cookbook.

Wolfie said...

Ok, I'm laughing here... in a Jimmy Buffet song about gumbo, he mentions the magic of "Marie Lambeau". I never could figure out what the heck that meant. Now I know - it's Laveau, not Lambeau! Sheesh - diction, it's a lost art. ;)

Dee said...

I hear that, Becky. Never let 'em pin you down!

Wolfie-hunny, it isn't just the diction. Our ear-bones tend to fuzz up the intake as we, uhmm -- mature.

Bonnie said...

Well I certainly missed that flap some how. But I have to wonder how many people have a favorite recipe that hasn't come from some where else? Maybe my Grandma, but even hers would of come from her mom.

Dee said...

Exactly the point, Bonnie. And how often, after years of use, does one remember the original source -- such as the recipe on a label or whatever? Want another cookie with your tea?

Maggie said...

I do try and lable them in my Judy Schwarts's meatballs. Then again, the recipe has changed so much that Judy probably wouldn't recognize it. Up there on the shelf is another example. The White House Cookbook. My mother loved her copy which was very fragile. The recipes were not all used in the White House tho. Origonal and Selected it says. "There are sections on carving, dyeing or coloring, French words in cooking, House-keepers' Time-Table, Management of State Dinners at the White House, and Food for the Sick."

Ah, reality.