Suzette, R.D.

NEW DEVELOPMENT OF AN IRONIC NATURE! – Wouldn’t you know that today would be the day that Food Network magazine chose to email me with an important notice. Click here to view actual email. I guess they don’t like it when someone pulls bullshit on them. They have the good grace to apologize for inconvenience. Where is the apology for inflicting bullshit, Liberta?


Like Magnum, P.I. Except I’m not a P.I. I’m an R.D. – a recipe detective. Wait until you hear this bullshit.


Yesterday, we pulled out the I Hate To Cook Book and my daughter made some Hellzapoppin’ Cheese Rice, a recipe I heartily endorse. She had a bunch of cooked rice left over (God bless and watch over our Oster rice cooker) so I thought it would be a good idea to  make some more H.C.R. for tonight.

So I’m sitting at the table, waiting for my laundry to run out the pre-treatment clock and I’m casually turning the pages of the IHTCB until I come across the recipe I’m looking for. On the preceding page is a lovely little thing called Cotton Pickin’ Jam Tarts. It’s a crust made of three fattening ingredients, plus jam and now that our arteries are more than halfway clogged from the cheese rice, why not? So I read the whole recipe and it’s so simple that I know it  just by skimming through it one time. I’m thinking that even though this is a recipe from 1960 written for people who aren’t cooks and who want it as easy as possible and it’s made mostly of cream cheese and butter, anyone nowadays couldn’t help but be taken with this.

That’s not the bullshit part. The bullshit part is coming up.

Flash forward to early evening. My grueling day full of conference calls are over, and even though its dreary and drizzly outside, I need fresh air so I ask my daughter to join me on the deck and for entertainment, we peruse the latest copy of Food Network Magazine. She’s already been though this edition so I ask her to tell me what’s good inside. She reads off a title – “Melissa D’Arabian’s PETITE ORANGE AND RASPBERRY POCHETTES” and shows me  the photo of a plate full of jam tarts. I begin saying I found a fascinating recipe for jam tarts with a very rich dough in the IHTC B and she says “Oh, is it made from butter, cream cheese and flour?”

is this or is this not bullshit?

Pochettes, my ass. I am quietly outraged. Food Network magazine  printed up Peg’s recipe – courtesy of Melissa D’Arabian –  51 years after the fact. Oh, they doubled the amounts and did a head fake by saying make dough balls and freeze them to firm up instead of Peg’s advice to freeze the dough to firm it and then make dough balls but IT IS THE SAME RECIPE which is so, so bullshit.

AND to top it all off, Melissa D’Arabian was the winner of last year’s Next Food Network Stars, an elimination competition program where the winner’s prize is a Food Network show of their own. Melissa won, in part  and by her own admission, by bullshitting the judges with a recipe from the I Hate To Cook Book. Look at her brazen bullshit quote over the photo:

“These little pastry cookies are easy and inexpensive. I used them to wow the judges on The Next Food Network Star last year!”

Have you ever SEEN such bullshit? I’m sure you remember my little skirmish with the J@y Qf C@@king lawyers – where are the IHTCB  lawyers on this? Because this is bullshit if I ever saw it. Purposeful bullshit.

Conclusion: Peg Bracken rules. Food Network drools.

Rest easy, America.  Suzette, R.D. is on the lookout for recipe bullshit on your behalf.

52 thoughts on “Suzette, R.D.”

    1. Thank you for your acknowledgment. Bullshit, right?

      I can get all worked up over a thing like this because I can’t bear the notion that somebody pulled a fast one and thinks they got away with it. That is the exact reason I can’t stand magic shows.

      1. With magic shows, at least, you’re voluntarily suspending your disbelief, because you know, or you’re supposed to know, that it’s a trick. (Or, as they prefer, an “illusion.”)

        This is just plagiarism, and not inspired plagiarism either.

  1. It is, without a doubt, complete theft and bullshit besides. Not like I watch Food Network except by accident, but I do believe I’ll not be seeking them out now. At least not anything to do with D’Arabian. Silly tart-thieving tart.

  2. Good old Peg rolls hers into squares and our D’Arabian uses a “fluted” cutter! Peg pleases her husband D’Arabian “wows” judges. Yes—bullshit in the highest and most refined form. Le poo poo de bull.

  3. I am a faithful lover of NFNS, and I didn’t like Melissa from the start.

    Her “aw, shucks, I’m just a busy mom…” schtick wore on my nerves by episode 2.

    I knew she was a thieving bitch, I just couldn’t prove it.

    Thanks for confirming what I already suspected, Suzette.

    1. It’s the self-proclaimed busy moms of the world that are the most annoying moms of all. Moms that are really busy don’t have time to go around tooting their own horns.

  4. Well, that is annoying! I’ve never seen this D’Arabian person but am a long time Peg Bracken fan and use a lot of her recipes still. Peg was a funny, talented writer. I am not sure which book it is in, but her chop suey recipe is wonderful!

    1. Highly annoying! Especially the part where she calls them “pochettes”. Pochettes! I wish my own mother had made use of this cookbook. Then we might have had more to look forward to than overcooked meat with salt and pepper and the occasional canned ham.

  5. Sorry to say that that pastry recipe is in a cookbook called “Modern Cooking” circa 1947.
    It’s sometimes called …Fast Puff Pastry. Rich and Flaky Pie Crust, European Nut Cookies.

    1. There’s only so much you can do with the ingredients of the world. The pastry recipe could be painted onto the walls at Lascaux for all we know. My point is that she co-opted the entire jam tart recipe and “wowwed” her way into her own show on the back of a dead Peg Bracken. And then the FN magazine reprints the whole thing without credit. This will not stand.

      1. My daughter gifted me with a cookbook called “Hungry World”, full of international recipes. There are at least a dozen recipes for beef, potatoes and onions, salt and pepper. Each has it’s own regional name, each is noted as a staple for the area.

        What’s for dinner? Depending on the night, it’s “Umbwiwi M’gnelela” or “Mongolian Mock-Yak Stew” or “El Beefy Boilo”. I am the king of leftovers, and nobody out-easy’s me.

              1. I think it’s gonna be my new swear word.

                PS: You need to choose a book, woman. However, I’d advise to choose between Rat Pack and Harem, because I’m about halfway through Rue’s autobiography, and it’s not nearly as good as I expected it to be. Basically, she just chronicles and grades/rates everyone with whom she slept. *yawn*

  6. Yes, that rich cream cheese pastry was around decades ago. I remember making it when a ladies’ group at our church did a planned potluck. The kind where recipes are passed out.

    I heard (also years ago) that recipes are not copyrighted. This is why I could find many of Martha Stewart’s creations in my stash of ancient Sunset magazines. She has always been a world class recipe lifter. Ditto her little projects.

    1. Martha is a well-known adopter of other people’s ideas. Word around Nutley NJ was that her entire home ec class had a good laugh over Martha’s big production about how to make a bed because it was what they all learned together, step by step, in high school.

  7. So Harvard suspends this guy for faking research on whether or not some freakin’ tamerin monkeys can learn morality, but the recipe plagiarists of the world go scot free?? Where is the justice!!


  8. Did D’Arabian claim it was an original recipe? If so then you are correct to call shenanigans. If she didn’t and since the recipe clearly existed prior to the “I Hate to Cook Book”, then she is in the clear in my opinion. For all we know her mother had written it down on an index card years ago and that is where D’Arabian got it from without ever seeing in in Bracken’s book.

      1. Like LuLu said, recipes can’t be copyrighted, because they are technically just a list of ingredients… BUT, earlier in the very same season some guy got kicked off for saying he used a recipe he saw on Paula Deen. The judges never would have known it was ripped off if he hadn’t said it.

        I just didn’t like Melissa and wanted to jump in on the bashing. She really was annoying… every episode she’d say how shocked she was that she was still there because the rest of them were chefs and she was just a busy mom who loved to cook for her precious girls.

        Busy Moms bug the crap out of me. We ALL have stuff to do, bitches.

  9. My understanding is that if you change any element in a recipe it is not technically a copyright violation. As other readers have noted, the same recipes with minor variations tend to show up over and over. Get a CIA giant cookbook or Escoffier or Julia Childs and you will find basic recipes which are endlessly copied with minor variations.

    It’s the same BTW with clothing.

  10. Tart thief.

    I can’t stand the Food Network. All those celeb “chefs” need to be herded out back and beaten. Especially that foul “semi-homemade” cow. My mother was a better cook, and she put ketchup on spaghetti.

    1. THAT IS MY POINT. I was already under the impression that the Food Network was 50% bullshit but I think it’s become clearly evident that the percentage is much higher than that!

  11. Suzette, I wish you could see my Peg Bracken cookbook, it is in tatters. It will be in my hot hand when I am escaping my burning house !
    It isn’t just the recipes, which are terrific, it’s the droll and witty writing.
    My favorite line of Peg’s “Of all my husband’s relatives, I like myself the best.”…perfect…
    Her Elevator Lady Spice cookies are fab !
    Of course, many of us have moved on to ‘baby squash’ and other un-born vegetables.
    But I can never thank Peg enough for her Stay -Abed-Stew, which has got me through many a bad day.
    Thanks for sticking with Peg. her ” I hate to Housekeep” book introduced me to Washing Soda, which I used just this morning to clean my ancient {how ancient ? harvest gold, nuff said} it looks like a teenager again..

      1. Washing soda is made by Arm And Hammer, it looks like a big box of baking soda, and can be found near the Borax, but it is a different product. Peg probably had something to say about Borax, but the Washing Soda is priceless…Baked on gunk in pans, etc..
        BTW..My harvest gold….? I forgot to add coffeepot. I have a very vintage kitchen, not purposely, I just inherited some stuff from my mother and in-laws, and tend to not fix what ain’t broken ..I know you are into vintage kitchens…”d probably like my yellow metal breadbox with a red bakelite knob and matching feet…and matching cannister set…..or my stove from the 50’s…we live in my dh’s grandmother’s house, she died in the 50’s and I believe she would still feel right at home here, although the plumbing and wiring and roof have been brought into the 20th century, if not the 21st.The old stuff lasts forever, and just looks ‘experienced and mature’ kind of like me…
        ps. all my kids were given IHTC books when they left home…so Peg our family anyway.

        1. Oh Suze, my mother adored Lana Turner! Mom was a definite glamour girl in her day, although I’m not aware of any dead boyfriends..

  12. I’m freelance travel writer and I’ve often heard it said in my profession that using one source is plagiarism, using ten sources is research.

    While I don’t watch Food Network (my idea of cooking is anything I can put in a crock pot or the microwave), if that contestant claimed it was her creation, she deserves to be outed.

    The other posts are correct that recipes cannot be copyrighted. Sad, but true. I have a friend who writes cookbooks and most of her recipes are original variations of tried and true staples. That’s the key for cookbook authors–make the recipe new and fresh with a unique twist. And that’s how my friend made a over million bucks on crème brûlée.

    Sadly, travel guidebook authors (me) don’t make that kind of money.

  13. I made a carrot cake today, but added an extra 1/2 c flour because it looked watery. I wouldn’t dream of calling it my original recipe. Good call on the BS, Suz.

  14. I am annoyed with Food Network a lot lately..I loved Mario Batali, not only could he cook like a dream, he looked like he ate once in a while.
    Jamie Oliver was fun and made it look easy in a horrible kitchen.
    Giadda looks like nothing but water and juice ever cross her lips, oh sure she takes the required taste of things, and probably goes and vomits later. Never trust a skinny cook.
    Barefoot Contessa,, enough already, don’t you have enough money to retire by now ? she has done some great recipes, I now realize she probably stole from somewhere.
    Rachael Ray is like fingernails on a blacboard to me, and the constant pasta, and no baking, c’mon she has pulled that string about as far as it’s going to go.
    Bobby Flay, who has built an entire career out of chili peppers, I think can really cook, when forced.

    As to last year’s winner..omg..the other day she made some sort of terrine of eggplant and lentils, pretending to stick to her ten buck limit, and claimed that’s what her children eat on picnics..Those poor kids. first their mother is a thief, and now they have to dumpster dive at parks, if they want actual ‘picnic’ food.

    1. That tasting thing on TV annoys the daylights out of me. If I’m watching a cooking show and someone says “and now, for the tasting …” oops! time to check the channel guide.

  15. Must find a copy of that cookbook! I love reading old cookbooks. One place we lived had an old library and I checked out a few cookbooks from the 1930’s just to read them. Endlessly fascinating.

  16. I see some of you have the same opinion that I’ve developed about Food Network lately. Same ol’ sh*t , different day, 1/2 tsp soda different.

    I liked Melissa when she first started on NFNS but thought she should have come in second to that hunky guy. Her show absolutely sucks big time. Under $10? my butt….

    I think the show that really grates on my nerves is the southern-drawl, kissy-face black couple. All their “old family recipes” are always “handed down for generations”…I call bs. I really doubt great-great-granma made mint flavored icecream with dark chocolate and raspberry syrup on a bed of anise flavored liqueur.

  17. Reblogged this on drinkscoaster and commented:
    Aha! A food detective catches a Food Network start red-handed! And wouldn’t you know it, there’s a tart involved. Isn’t there always? PS: I had to Follow this blog. Anyone who loves Peg Bracken as much as me is my kinda people.

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