Asian Slaw with Almonds

A simple recipe, this Asian Slaw with Almonds, Sesame and Sunflower Seeds is combined with a light honey and soy dressing and topped with Chow Mein noodles.

A serving of Asian Slaw with Almonds on a serving plate with colorful pink and green napkin.

I first shared this recipe for an Asian Slaw with Almonds many years ago. I admit too that the post was a HUGE rant about a food blogging conference that many of us thought handled their selection choices of attendees badly; food bloggers were mad and I was outspoken, no big surprise there.

But it’s old news and while I still love this slaw, I decided the commentary was no longer necessary, but new photographs were so I’ve done a major revision.

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My rant included the practice so many food people have of dissing others for what they blog about. I personally started this blog as the easiest way to document and share the foods that I served to family and friends; the dishes that were always the favorites and the most well received. It was not only a diary and database for myself but the easiest way to let my sister and friends grab a recipe.

At the time, a new-fangled thing called the Internet made it so much easier to catalogue recipes than having to sit down and write out recipes and sometimes even put them in the mail. After several years of blogging to fulfill my own needs, ten years ago I turned my food blogging into a professional endeavor, exiting as the owner of a web development business and combined that experience with my love of cooking and photography, and my little project became Creative Culinary. A job yes but still, sticking true to my first intent, both doing and sharing what I love.

Fast forward more than 25 years from that beginning endeavor and I’m still doing the same thing; although now I have grown daughters that I hope visit too. Hopefully they and their friends also look forward to new recipes and re-collections like this Asian Slaw with Almonds.

There is still a lot of chatter in the blogging community about people ‘stealing recipes’ for articles on food blogs and forgive me if I chuckle. It’s not like one person can say, ‘This is a pancake and I own all rights to anyone ever writing it down!’

I’ve left the comments from that post though…I still like to be reminded that I’m so connected to others in this crazy food world. For what it’s worth, I provide recipes for people to use and love; you can claim ownership too once you take the time to make them. You can revise them, share them, enjoy them; it all makes me happy.

Food bloggers know there is an unwritten rule that if they copy a recipe and use it that’s it nice to acknowledge the original author and for other professionals; that’s a prerequisite. Still, if someone doesn’t do that? I got over that a long time ago too…why suffer over worrying about something I have no control over? I want to make something new, not spend my days hunting down offenders and filing reports on them. Ugh right?

Crispy Asian Slaw with Almonds is Served in a large white bowl.

I remember that I was curious about this Asian Slaw with Almonds on Google; I’m sure that I was inspired by someone somewhere along the way with this combination of ingredients. I took the time to make note of what I used after I simply pulled some things from the fridge and pantry and threw them together.

Out of curiosity I wondered where/if it had been done before and discovered ONLY 11,400 times! So I say let’s give up any ownership of a group of ingredients and simply enjoy the dish and happily share it so others can too, right? This Asian Slaw with Almonds is so simple and yet absolutely addictive!

The things I love most about this dish? Did I mention simple? I love that. But it is so tasty and crunchy with a honey and soy flavored dressing that it makes me wonder why I don’t make it every doggone week! I could literally eat a plate of this for dinner, nothing more. Actually I’ve done just that.

Making this slaw for one person is well, too much, so when I made it once during Covid, I called my friend Amy who lives across the street, asking her if she would like half of the Asian Slaw dish I had made that included almonds, sunflower and sesame seeds. I put a Ziploc baggie on the front porch with the slaw and another baggie with chow mein noodles. Social distancing and all to keep us from actually getting close to each other.

I cannot tell you how important my glass storm door was…we chatted yes, buy not in my kitchen! I got a message a bit later, ‘This slaw is DELICIOUS!’ That is what I love to hear and it’s easy to make too…the best part of delicious.

Maybe some of those 11,000 Google links I discovered all those years ago were similar so is it fair to say that ‘this is a slaw that thousands have loved?’ It’s simple to make and doesn’t require a wealth of ingredients.

  1. The almonds, sunflower seeds, and sesame seeds and added to melted butter in a skillet on the stove and sauteed just enough to brown them, takes only a couple of minutes.
  2. The cabbage is sliced and the carrots are shredded and if you have a Cuisinart food processor (affiliate link), it’s so easy. If not, why not…it truly is one of those kitchen appliances I literally could not live without!
  3. Mix the vegetables, nuts, and seeds together until all the ingredients are well distributed
  4. Combine oil, honey, soy sauce, ginger, dry mustard, salt, and pepper and mix well with a whisk. Pour over slaw ingredients in bowl and mix.
  5. Serve topped with chow mein noodles.

Asian Slaw with Almonds seems to make a ton and it does make enough for 6-8 good size servings…but when you first start it looks like enough to feed an army. Let the mixture sit for a bit in the fridge and stir it occasionally; the dressing makes the cabbage wilt a bit and the volume is reduced considerably. Plus…you’ll wish you had enough for an army; I always wish I had more.

PIN IT! ‘Asian Slaw with Almonds’

A serving of Asian Slaw with Almonds on a serving plate with colorful pink and green napkin.

Asian Slaw with Almonds

A crispy, crunchy slaw with a nice zingy dressing, this Asian Slaw with Almonds is one of my favorites.
5 from 50 or more votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 4 minutes
Total Time 14 minutes
Course Salads, Dressings, Marinades and Sauces
Cuisine American, Asian
Servings 6 Servings
Calories 461 kcal


For the Salad Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup slivered almonds
  • 4 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 4 tablespoons sunflower seeds
  • 1 head cabbage (Use green or half green and half purple)
  • 4 carrots shredded
  • 3 green onions thinly sliced

For the Honey, Soy and Ginger Vinaigrette

  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For Garnish

  • ½ cup Chow Mein noodles


  • Melt butter in skillet over medium heat; add almonds and sunflower seeds and brown for 3-4 minutes. Add sesame seeds for one minute. Remove browned mixture from heat to cool.
  • Combine cabbage, carrot and green onion in large bowl with cooled browned nuts and seeds.
  • Combine dressing ingredients and shake or whisk thoroughly.
  • Pour dressing on top of salad mixture in bowl and toss to coat.
  • Salt to taste. This should have a bit of a sweet tang to it, so be careful to not over-salt.
  • Serve on plates and top with chow mein noodles.


Nutrition Facts
Asian Slaw with Almonds
Serving Size
1 Serving
Amount per Serving
% Daily Value*
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Keyword almonds, Asian, chicken salad, sesame seeds, slaw, sunflower seeds
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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  1. How in the world I ended up researching a completely unrelated topic and fell down an online rabbit hole that ended up linking to this post just days after we discussed it?! I’m amazed. We said, my friend. Every last bit of it. Food is meant to nourish us as a community in both body and soul. The rest is just details.

    1. And most comments that sneak through on this post are spam so when I first saw it was good I didn’t auto hit delete! It obviously hit a nerve so while it didn’t make me a favorite to some people it supported the ones I consider like minded souls. Like you! 🙂

  2. Hi Creative Culinary. I haven’t been blogging long so I haven’t gotten into all the controversies, let alone burned out from them. I attribute inspiration for recipes. I know what you mean about it feeling a little like a job. One of my sons (don’t you love it when they get to be young adults and can actually offer useful advice?) was enthusing about people being able to use my recipes and learn a little about nutrition and healthy vegetarian food. It is true that our blogs are out there doing something in the world, being some small part of people’s lives, and that’s always worth celebrating regardless of anything else.

    1. Mary,

      Thank you for your thoughtful reply. I actually love the process of cooking, photographing and sharing what I do and like you; hope someone else will enjoy that effort. It’s when it gets petty and mean that I get, hmm, weary? So I might howl at the moon occasionally in a post but mostly I just shake it off and make sure I keep myself on task for what is important to ME. Guess that’s all we really can do, right?

  3. So very well said!! Well done! This post was everything I thought but don’t say! I’m still newish to blogging, and very much still a “small guy”! 2 years ago I didn’t even know what a blog was! Through twitter I discovered blogging and this amazing community of which I love being a part of. Am I missing something? I thought someone wanting to use a recipe and make it their own by adding and changing things would be a compliment! After all it’s what makes the foodie world go around! Unless you are Heston Blumenthal then I don’t think any recipes now are truly unique. They have all been done before! We have all read so many cookbooks and food magazines and all of those pictures and recipes are embedded in our brains so who knows where our ideas originate from.
    As for the confererence you mentioned, I am truly appalled that any decent person would even go to such an event! What disgusting behaviour!
    I think if everyone stops taking themselves too seriously and remember their manners all will be well.

  4. hi,
    really interesting comments. The same applies to pretty much any industry these days – including handicrafts and DIY things…if I googled all my ‘original ideas’ I’d be shattered to see how many people had thought of them before me!! There are very few new ideas out there – even I make a version of your cabbage salad! Anyway, my mantra about blogging is that we are there to to share, to teach, and to inspire. It seems that’s what you’re about too.

  5. Bravo! I found this link on Pinterest and just had to check it out. Not for the slaw (I’m not a cabbage girl) but for your insight into the food blogging “community.” As someone who isn’t in the community, who turns to bloggers for inspiration and to simply bask in the awe of your awesomeness, I thank you for what you do. It’s a shame that an homage to food beauty can become so tarnished by “mean girls syndrome” and the like. Keep your chin up. We do appreciate all of your time and work on sites like these. And we appreciate YOU!!!

  6. Great post and I’ve read every comment! I’m rather new to blogging so I do appreciate your candor. You’ve articulated the thoughts many of us have, things we’ve wondered about….That being said, I’ve met some wonderful, talented, kind and generous people on my blogging journey. Makes it worth it for me, plus I keep myself so busy with new ideas, plans and their execution that it’s usually out of my field of vision. Thanks again!

    1. I hope it’s not lost in my howling at the moon that I agree with you; so many truly wonderful people in this journey. I own a web development company and a great number are my clients…I’m blessed to know them and so many others who are wonderful and giving; sure keeps me going sometimes! Thanks to you; I appreciate everyone’s comments so much.

  7. I don’t know anything about food blogging so I just skipped to the end and made the recipe. Amazing! I’m definitely going to make this slaw again, as a side for potstickers or something. Only thing I left out was the green onions, because it was missing from the ingredients list.

    1. Uh oh. I have learned to not beat myself up TOO much for the occasional snafu but I will fix that Ruthie AND put cabbage on my list. It is so simple and so good isn’t it?

  8. I haven’t read all the comments so I apologize if I’m asking a question that’s already been answered, but as far as image copyrights, are you saving for web so they can’t be blown up? And do you edit your metadata so you can track if your images are published online anywhere else? I always feel like it’s a sticky mess even adding my professional images to my portfolio site so I tend to only add the ones that I’m not worried about, b/c really, if someone is using my image on a blog it doesn’t make sense for me to sue. There’s little monetary damage.

    As far as recipe attribution I think you’re spot on. It’s a shame anyone would put you in such a position and you make a great point. I always credit a source if I use the recipe for inspiration but I worry about the photos, even when I watermark them.

    1. I can’t speak for others, but I downsize all of my images that I use to 625 pixels wide and 72dpi for the web. So they are pretty useless for printing. I don’t bother trying to track; the ones that used my image that I cited did have a link back and for me that’s enough. The others? Just not going to put my energy into that exercise Jessie; I simply don’t have the time and beyond that…it’s a stressor so I don’t go looking for it. Mostly because it’s a given that it can and will happen and without a doubt…my longevity in this arena has given me a perspective that if it’s futile and just a stressor than I won’t play the game and just let it go. It can be hard to consider but can I tell you what a relief it also is? I simply don’t let myself care as a protective measure. I want to spend my time on the creative and fun enterprises inherent in what we do. Let the scofflaws take what they want; I seriously doubt anyone is truly making a bucket-load of money from my photos!

      1. That seems to be the general thought in regards to them. I wish I could get over it enough to join that camp. Maybe next year?

        1. Maybe! Trust me…when I first started my website business 17 years ago and people stole my code AND my graphics I was verklempt. I struggled with all of these issues and I know that my perspective is based on almost two DECADES of seeing this and coming to my own reality. I don’t want to immerse in the anger and negativity that comes from it if that makes sense but I had to do a lot of self talk, believe me. Today…if I see something I might say something but I have to be honest; I just don’t care. And that’s freeing in it’s own way you know? At some point you have to do a self survey. Are my efforts bringing me enough results to make up for the time I’m spending that could be spent building more revenue from doing what I love. I hope it won’t take 17 years for you and more than anything I wish everyone played fair. But they don’t. Those that don’t never will. Not to be all preachy or Bible thumpy BUT I think everyone is one day held accountable for their lousy behavior and that list will surely include stealing the efforts of others. Even if you can’t make them pay, they will. 🙂

  9. Great post, thanks for sharing! I had a recipe of mine that was directly copied and pasted recently. A friend gave me good advice: You could pour your energy into being angry and ‘getting back’. Or, you could pour your energy into your creative work.

    1. Hey Mama…that is my mantra absolutely. Why get upset over something you really can not control; better to use that energy for what we love. High five. 🙂

  10. I LOVE your recipes – and your blog. I’ve been blogging even before I realized what *blogging* was. One thing I know is there are no original thoughts, just more creative ways of expressing these thoughts. I have a food blog, also. It’s just fun for me, because I like to write about my experiences in the kitchen. It’s my creative outlet. I have no desire to go back to high school, and I find that certain social media sites are littered with that mentality. This was a very well thought out and written blog, Barbara. I am going to go use this dressing…. is that okay if I just use PART of a recipe? 🙂 You’re wonderful and thank you for all you write about to educate those of us that need to know.

    1. Thanks Jane; you know the one thing about comments is that just my article could be accused of being one sided and not true. But hearing comment after comment about people dealing with the same thing means it has really only lent a voice to many others. I’m good with that!

  11. Oh, almost forgot! The part about googling to see if a recipe’s been done before? I’ve tried to stop doing that. Because dammit, I’ve had some great ideas that I’ve wanted to blog, but after a search, I found they’d been done by some else. I’d forget about doing them altogether.

    But you know what? There are a million banana bread recipes. A million chocolate chip cookie recipes, fried chicken recipes, pizza recipes….and so on. Are we all supposed to just give up and say “it’s been done?” No. I say go ahead and do it. Yours may be different, or have that one ingredient that I didn’t think of.

    One last thing. I’ll *always* note if I was inspired by a blog post or a magazine/cookbook/TV recipe, etc. Always! But to attribute to 12,000 google results? Ridiculous! Just make it easy on yourself and don’t google it in the first place. 😉

  12. First off, the slaw looks fabulous. Like, “I could eat a whole bowl of it” fabulous! I love the addition of the crunchy Chow Mein noodles! (Going to remember those for next time I make a slaw!)

    Second, I had no clue that this convention thing was happening. Which one is it? Because I’ll be sure to never bother attending another one by the same group! That’s elitism at it’s worst.

    I’ve been struggling with this issue for quite some time, Barbara. I’m becoming disillusioned with the whole food blogging thing. I love it, I truly do. But I’m getting quite fed up with the high school behavior. I was told by a friend that she approached some of the “big” food bloggers at one convention, and while most of them were gracious, one of them just stopped talking to the group entirely and felt the need to walk away rather than be approached by one of the peasants. Excuse me? If not for those that read your blog, you’d be nothing but one of the millions of bloggers out there. I’m tired of the “my you know what doesn’t stink because I have a cookbook deal or a huge paid sponsor” attitude. You wouldn’t have any of that if the peasants didn’t read your blog, so suck it. And by the way? Your “processed food sponsor” does not impress me.

    My response to all of that is to just keep doing what I’m doing, and be happy doing it.

    As far as the stolen content, it does tick me off. I’m surprisingly pretty easy going about it, though. If you use one of my photos, but link back to me AND write my content in your own words, I let it go. Completely. I’ll probably leave a nice comment, though, so that person knows that I know. You know? If you use my photos and my content word for word, I’ll ask that you at least link back to me, and “maybe next time, you could take a photo of your version and show off what *you* can do.”

    If you take my photos and my text word for word and call it your own, then I take issue. And if I find some of my friends work on your site, also being called your own, I have no issue going to Twitter or Facebook and alerting other food bloggers to check for their content being stolen. But that’s just me, and the way I deal with it. I don’t have the time to waste chasing down every single person that swipes a photo. Who does?

    For the most part, the food blogging community is still a good one. But in my eyes, it’s slipping down the slope into the Mommy Blog territory, with that nasty elitism and mean girls snobbery. Eventually, all of that will be realized by the food blog readers, though. They’re a smart bunch. They’ll see who is genuine and who isn’t.

    1. I share many of your feelings Elle…you know it seems so simple, kind of a Golden rule sort of thing. I know as hard as it be believe for those of us immersed in this ‘world’ but many people are naive…I mean if Google delivers those photos to you in a list after you search for one; doesn’t that infer that it’s OK to use them? So I expect naivete but it’s the obvious that gets all of us. Still, I think we have to behave in a manner that behooves us too; I have seen one person call her minions to attack and was shocked to see for one recipe on an 18 year old girls blog. All I could imagine was my daughter on the receiving end of that ‘mistake’ and how it would have hurt her. Still makes me cringe.

      Maybe because this is a part time effort and my real job that puts a roof over our head and buys the food for these posts takes precedence I can more easily choose to not make chasing them down my life’s work, I admit.But we all know this elitism culture exists. I think the one funny test of just how important the ones who feel they are God’s gift to food are is to ask your neighbor if they’ve ever heard of them. We know the answer to that question!

      Thanks for your thoughtful reply…it’s much appreciated.

  13. You are brave, and you are right on the money. I’m not a “big guy”. I do chat with some of the “big guys”, but I’m hardly one of them. I often struggle with how things go down in the community (re: such a conference), but I’m also always amazing at the kindness as well that’s offered by many. I suppose it’s like anything, there are always bad apples.

    As for the attribution, I try to attribute base recipes to wherever I originally spotted them from. They may be elsewhere, but one blog, one book, introduced them to me. I think it’s in the wording, but frankly, there are so many combos out there, most everything has been done.

    Thank you for being brave enough to speak your mind!

  14. GREAT post! On a similar note, I think many food bloggers often forget that not everyone has their time, resources, know-how or even desire when it comes to cooking. They’re kind of in their own little world and don’t realize it. I am an avid cook and beginning food blogger, so I can understand most blog posts without doing any extra googling, but I feel many blogs who claim to reach out to anyone and everyone only accomplish “anyone and everyone who is already food-educated.” Just another way the supposedly far-reaching community is a little hindered. Hipsters everywhere you turn! Grown people acting like 18 year olds in glasses and stupid sweaters!

  15. A food blog conference that cherry picks. Gotta love that kind of hubris. Food is food. I find all of the peacocking of bloggers tiring and is probably a contributor as to why I’ve stepped away for so long. If it’s not the A listers, it’s the mommys. If it’s not the mommys it’s the offended. I could go on and on. I wish we could all go back to 2004 and begin again.

    I’m making slaw tonight. Not sure I’ll call it your slaw or mine. ;0)

  16. Barb, you know how I feel about all this. It is horrifying that adults can act in this way! When I heard that people were applying to attend a conference and that there was a selection, I thought that it took some kind of chutzpah for anyone to do that! Selection? Like they had to choose the bloggers with the most traffic and visibility so they could go home and be sure to talk all fabulous about the conference and those who organized and spoke? There is so much trash and shameful behavior in the food blog world and in my opinion recipe stealing is not at the top of the list (what I find more scandalous than that is that one of those mega-huge bloggers who make the biggest stick about their stuff being stolen does it too – I’ve found copy and pasted recipes on their site a few times that I had seen on big websites (and I can assure you those types of sites don’t go to bloggers for recipes). The favoritism, the snubbing, the snobbish behavior, the nastiness and ignoring in public… not to mention the sharing of sponsors, etc. The food blogging world is developing a mighty bad reputation. It has all become about fame and fortune, money, traffic, book deals and creating a brand and many are willing to do anything to get to the top of the heap. Food bloggers with PR teams and agents? Wow! And funny thing is that I find that those with the most talent – writers, photographers, recipe developers – don’t necessarily have the most traffic or attention. What a shame.

    1. I think there are two separate and totally different camps with some having their toes in both. Some of us love the experience of cooking, photographing and writing in itself and others are in it just for money and ego stroking. It is funny that as we’ve discussed; bigger does not mean better. I would rather remain exactly where I am and not compromise my site for money. Offer me a truckload of money and I still will not do product placement for every post in order to accept it. I love cooking, am starting to feel more comfortable with photography and force myself to write more as time goes by. Please come hit me upside the head when I start scheming JUST to post for revenue. Those posts are evident and mean no more to me than a Pillsbury commercial which is often exactly what they are. 🙂

  17. This was a very interesting read, Barb. While I think it will always irk me when my photos are taken, I definitely never approach the situation in a public forum. Why? Because I like to think that for the most people just don’t know. Sure there are people who do know, but in my experiences most are just a little naive to what are considered to be best practices in this industry. However, I don’t have the time nor the energy to email every single person and quite frankly I don’t want to.

    As far as the food blogging convention goes, I honestly have no idea which one you are referring to and I’m actually glad that don’t!

    Your slaw looks fantastic, I love when something that’s tossed together turns out so brilliantly!

    1. If you were here I would high five you…so in agreement with your thinking Jamie. I have to say for all the laments about the thieves, the people that I think start to look equally bad or those whose tattling behavior is on display for all of us to view. So immature and unprofessional!

  18. Living in Europe I had missed that there was going to be a food blog conference over there but I have to say that I am appalled by that kind of elite thinking! I really expected more of the food bloggers who organize the conference but see, I was wrong. I can’t help feeling that we all have the same worth, big and famous or small and new food bloggers. And yes, the spirit has changed too much since I started food blogging more than 6 years ago and it is not for the better. Unfortunately.

  19. For me, one of the reasons I cook is to gather my friends and family. Together we sit around a table, sharing the food created, thoughts about our days and more. As we do this ritual, we create new memories of our own that is all centered around a table of food and the kitchen it was cooked in. Why would anyone want to limit this ritual of sharing and gathering starting with food and leading happiness? What is the point of cooking if not to share the food and in turn the recipes? Sure, list if you had an inspiration, but if you threw something together on your own, then its your own-until you share it of course, and then someone else has a chance to add their own spin.

    The Dinner Belle for

    1. In it’s simplicity it seems that ad revenue and income has transitioned the sharing of food from something that once was a tradition among people to a crime because some one person feels slighted or even worse, stolen from. The biggest irony for me is that I see such noise about recipes whose core ingredients have been mixed together forever. It’s a total bastardization of the culture of food. Now it’s all about taking credit and making money. I mentioned to a friend the other day; can you imagine giving a friend a recipe they requested, going to their home where they served it and asserting to everyone there that it’s ‘your’ recipe. I can’t imagine that but sadly I can imagine some of the food bloggers today doing that. Just makes me grimace.

  20. I can’t believe I missed this. Your points are great, Barb. I often see many refer to how wonderful the food blogging ‘community’ is. Sometimes I think ‘clique’, or a ‘bunch of cliques’ that form their own ‘community’, might be the better word/term. There are loads of incredibly amazing, warm and welcoming people in the food blogosphere, but there are also some who won’t give you the time of day if your traffic isn’t high enough, or you’re not considered ‘popular’. When I read the part about the food blog conference, my lower jaw hit the floor. Are you kidding me? This is accepted behavior among adults? I don’t even know what to say without going overboard, cursing included, so I’ll stop there.

    As for recipe attribution, I think someone needs to touch on baking because I know many are not weighing, measuring and testing leavening amounts for ‘their own’ base doughs and batters (I did it once – took almost a month to get the result I was looking for – never again). What one adds to these ‘bases’ makes them unique, but how about the base ‘scientific’ formula? I rarely, if ever, see any credit given there.

    Having said all that, I change recipes around a lot, but always give full credit to who, where or what inspired me and the original recipe. I also come up with my what I ‘think’ are my own ideas, but like you..always find someone who did something similar, and that’s where the line gets really blurry, and I still don’t know where to go with it. However, if I feel a recipe I found elsewhere is 100% perfect as is, (and I feel no need to make any changes to suit my personal taste), with clear, concise instructions, methods, etc.. I don’t even bother rewriting the directions anymore. Why confuse the reader with my ramblings and/or restructuring of sentences? I just link the whole damn recipe and leave it at that. Problem solved.

    Love the slaw. If I ever make and blog it, I will link it in full. I don’t think this ‘Barb’ creation need any tweaking. 😉

    1. I think those basic formulas are lost in the archives of no man’s land Lisa. Though I did see someone give credit to her friends recipe for chocolate chip cookies the other day that is pretty basically the good old fashioned version of those first made at the Tollhouse Inn. Some folks are mistaken in their opinion of themselves and their place in our cooking culture. Cooking did not start with blogs in the past couple of years…it actually was something people have been doing for a bit. 🙂

      I’m not blurred at all by the similar thing business. If no one had a thing to do with my work, our having similarities does not credit them deserve. For me it’s that simple.

  21. Hi Barb, your post has sat in a tab on my browser for a few days now. Between your post and the comments, there was so much to process. My first reaction was to the conference you referenced – I must be in the dark because I don’t even know what conference you are talking about, and I am relieved I don’t know about it! That does not sound like the type of venue I would want to attend, that is for sure! As for the ethics of blogging and our intent as bloggers, I think you nailed the issue right on the head. I honestly can’t say what precisely motivated me to begin blogging, other than to share with others, but I can say that with as much effort as it takes to publish a single post, when I see thievery online, it can be so frustrating. I was just as clueless when I first started – but am now very cognizant to give credit where credit is due, when I can. Thank you for so eloquently addressing this issue!

    1. And I thank you Liren for your perspective and taking the time to comment from the heart.

      I’ve mentioned this on some post somewhere else but another incident I had was last summer when I wanted to make a trio of sorbets using herbs from my garden and liqueurs from my bar. I search for 2 hours trying to insure that what I had planned was not made. I finally gave up; every combination I could come up with had been done…and done in a sorbet even! Give credit where it is due? Absolutely. Give it when it is not your inspiration? That’s asking for a level of ownership of my thought processes that are too much. It seems to me that a word I love is the easy answer. Give grace. Be graceful. Show grace. If everyone did that it would be a non issue. Sadly a huge if isn’t it?

  22. I have no idea how I ended up here…but it must have been some sort of divine planning by the food gods.

    Many reputations have been built, bought, lost, and imploded via blogs (and Twitter I suppose). I cannot tolerate all the crap and high school antics. I don’t care about all that.

    I like to cook. I’m good at it. I refuse to spend money on cookbooks. Okay, I don’t have money to buy cookbooks. I spend way too many hours reading recipes in every nook and cranny on the internet. I take notes. I may like one part of a recipe, but 10 minutes later find something better for another part. The only time I follow a recipe is for baking bread and I’m getting better at it so I just may be doing my own thing soon enough.

    These children need to get over themselves. You decide to put something on the internet? It’s no longer yours alone! Get over it!!

    1. I love your blunt interpretation Tracee…but it rings true. It seems there are a small group of folks who think they own food and recipes now. It is childlike behavior isn’t it? How did we manage without them. Like 6 or 7 years ago? Or 30? 🙂

    1. Thanks go to you…speaking our mind is not always welcome; so your comment helps to make it all worthwhile.

    1. Thank you so much on all counts…and it’s sort of become a mainstay here too; seems I can’t get enough of it. Maybe it’s the good factor and the easy factor so closely aligned!

  23. A wonderful, eloquently structured criticism. Passion is often misunderstood, but jealousy is not. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for expressing what I couldn’t put the words to. Food is pleasure and sharing is a basic human emotional byproduct. Thank you for sharing. Now back to my regularly scheduled insanity.

    1. Thanks Jim; I appreciate your two cents (and more!). Though I’ve been called to task for speaking up; warned I could see a backlash against me and be somehow blacklisted and have had more DM messages than comments left on this post because others fear a similar retribution. Wow huh?

  24. I need some quiet time this morning to read all of these interesting comments about recipe originality. As a wife of an executive chef and the daughter of a chef, I do know that recipes are oftentimes inspired from other recipes. With that said, recreating a recipe you were inspired by in your own kitchen or restaurant and recreating that recipe and posting it online word for word without citing the original source are two different matters. Creating recipes/cooking/baking is an art and as in art, many of our modern day artists are/were inspired by the geniuses that came before them. It’s a topic that can be debated until we’re all blue in the face. It upsets me to hear that Clotilde’s entire cookbook was copied online. The internet is a tricky tool that is difficult to monitor. If people have the time to check if their recipes are being copied/pasted without proper attribution, they should be able to confront the perpertrator and ask them to remove it. Same goes for food photographs. It seems that once you put your ideas/photos online, it could become a full-time job to monitor their unethical duplication.

    Great food for thought and a mighty tasty slaw .:)

    1. Well said Lora…I in no way am saying that it’s OK to use the work of another and call it your own but that it’s evident that more than one person might be inspired to do the same thing. Copying and pasting of content is wrong but I stand by my call to manage those issues on our own, in a professional manner and not use our social media resources to call out the dogs. It’s an old adage but it’s still true…two wrongs do not make one right. Thank you for your thoughtful comments.

  25. Thanks for your comments. I’m not part of this world, but sure love reading blogs and recipes. In addition to all you have said, I find many way too precious. I’m in a field notorious for people loving hearing themselves talk and roll words in their mouths—I guess it’s fairly ubiquitous.

    1. I know I appreciate them…sometimes we need something simple too don’t we? This was so good…I’m sort of having a small addiction. Now it’s gone and there will be more cabbage purchased tomorrow!

  26. What a great post, Barb – thanks for nailing your colours to the mast so eloquently. I had not heard of this hand-picked conference, but I agree with you – it is elitist and hurtful. I also agree about the whole content theft issue. Most recipes are a simple list of ingredients and a method and it is a truly remarkable and rare recipe that does not reference some earlier dish even in some small way. It is impossible to credit every single source and unnecessary, too. If you’ve been inspired by someone else then credit them, if it comes from years of kitchen knowledge, skill and experience, then why should you? Of course, wholesale scraping from one site to another is a completely different matter.
    As for the relentless self-promotion, I truly despair about this. Marketers have invaded food blogging and there are bloggers here in Oz whose sole aim seems to be to make a name for themselves and to drive traffic to their pages and Twitter feed. Some of these folk seem to have no prior background in food and I really wonder about their motives. As you say, the culture and history of food is so much more than a marketing opportunity or two.
    Love your slaw and don’t care who thinks they did it before.
    Like your post, it is refreshing.

    1. So glad we’ve connected; I love your sane and thoughtful comments. I remain sad I was not a part of your US tour though. Might force me into a trip to Oz. 🙂

  27. Funny enough, when I started blogging I was very aware of the “issues” that riddle the food blogging community and chose to pursue a more varied content (also, despite all my marketing and branding know-how, I just knew one subject wouldn’t cut it for me…though it would help). I’ve seen some of the ups and downs, the back-stabbing and competition but in the end I think the core of the passion remains and that is what I look for and where I find enjoyment. As such I tend to stay away from some conferences and a lot of promotional/sales pitches, but I do try very hard not to judge those who are invested in those things. To each their own – we all have different comfort levels and opinions about acceptable guidelines and behaviors.

    As such though, I do have Pinterest opinions, BUT, this has been going on for a long time and has a basis in the non-food world. For photographers, who make their living of of images the rabbit-hole that is a copyright infringing site or service (tumblr, pinterest) can be a nightmare and one where control is quickly lost (as well as revenue). When Pinterest emerged one of the first and most painfully hit areas was the arts and homemade/handcrafted world. It was a very short time before artists and people who make their living on handcrafts started seeing their world pinned as “DIY”. While this affects the bottom line for a business it also hurts in a more emotional way. When something you have poured your heart into suddenly becomes a do-it-yourself, make a copy, no copyright/copyright infringed upon trend it hurts, plain and simple.

    The same can be said for recipes – which, while they hold no copyright in and of themselves, someone still puts their time, love, talents and passion into…when you find your photos pinned, the entire blog post as well as the recipe, all your words, time, effort pinned up but with no need for anyone to visit your site it can be painful, frustrating, and exasperating. While, of course, you WANT people to DIY a recipe, you want to pass that passion of a great meal, time in the kitchen, excitement about life that comes through in food it still hurts when it feels like an opportunity for credit is stripped from you.

    Let’s be real – if all it was about was sharing a recipe and didn’t have some ego involved we wouldn’t spend so much time with mastering photography, spell-checking, testing recipes, etc, after all that a little feedback helps, it soothes the soul, it keeps you going – especially for the “little guys” people who are lucky to get 2 or 3 comments. Everyone comes at their blogging from their own place of perspective and purpose and I still hold the belief of “to each their own” but ethics and morals do come into play in the long run.

    Food bloggers often think twice about where their food comes from, all I could hope is that people think twice about where their ideas for food come from as well, and remember the people behind the pretty pictures or new favorite cakes. You never know what straw will break a camel’s back and for some blogger it may just be that lack of credit, that feeling of constant threat that makes them stop giving their gifts to the world, and what a sad loss that is and can be. I can’t lie, it is part of the reason I took a three month break from being public and while I have realigned my intentions, steeled my resolve and continued on many will not, and I, personally, think any loss of public contribution is a loss for all of us (but then again, I don’t believe the world can be over-saturated in blogs of any kind either, because I love all the unique voices, and I know that is not a belief everyone shares).

    I guess my long-winded point is this, sometimes it isn’t about cut and paste of words or images, sometimes it is about the cut to a soul and the paste that isn’t found that matters. No, attacking people should not be condoned, people make mistakes, they don’t know what they do hurts, and no, no one person is better than another – no matter their success or popularity…but yes, yes we shoudl be mindful of one another and yes we should support one another, without exclusion. We are all small once, and are always small in some area: share your talent, highlight someone else’s but be mindful of how you do it – the fine balance of imitation, flattery, and theft can make a difference to someone somewhere, no matter how much or how little money may be involved. But, to each their own.

    1. All good points…for me the ‘food blog world’ was a shock of sorts since I had been doing something similar for 15 years; only thru Twitter did it become evident to me. And in some ways pushed me. I used to do just a recipe, no photo and no story. This is harder, more labor intense, more expensive and certainly more timely so while I ‘get’ the exasperation the truth is I’ve let it go. I refuse to spend my time on policing…but that’s my choice and while I don’t demand it of others I do wish they would not demand of me either in their efforts to seek retribution.

      I’m absolutely with you on the ‘to each their own’ – I made the mistake of commenting on a site run by someone who fancies herself a food blogging expert and she dissed the little guy, the ones who are in it just for fun. As if they had no business taking up blog space without attending to the rules that some unnamed people have decided that we should all live by. I stood up for their absolute right to blog and I got dissed too. Oops! I’ve got my own set of expectations…not one other person has to live by them but then I also don’t expect others to demand expectations of me either. Except that moral code; but this is a snapshot of society…if we could only demand a moral and ethical code in all aspects of our lives, now wouldn’t that be great?

      Thanks so much for your lengthy reply; it’s good to know and hear from others and I must say…I get you on Pinterest. Wow…some do not get it do they?

  28. I’m not a recipe writer or an improviser, so my food blogging consists of me talking about the experiences of making other people’s recipes. So I’m pretty conscious of the concept of “stealing content”. I link to recipes available online (true of nearly all) and generally only post them when they’re not with the NY Times style “adapted from” designation. The few times it happens I’ll copy the ingredient list, but I’ll rewrite the instructions in my own style. My content is really the story, but if somebody comes across something I’ve made and likes the looks of it, I don’t think they should have to buy a $40 cookbook to make it.

    To me it’s pretty simple: you can’t “steal” a recipe since it’s simply a set of instructions, but appropriate attribution is the right thing to do. What you definitely don’t want to do is plagiarize someone else’s words or story.

    1. I could not have said it better Jason. Most of us tend to adapt anyhow…I always have something I want to do differently even if I read a recipe I like. I guess my lament was more for the nasty attacks that some bloggers feel qualified to make if/when they feel they have been wronged and my story was to illustrate that having something really truly unique is almost impossible in this day and age. Almost everyone agrees…been there, done that…or someone has.

  29. Being a relative newcomer to this whole blogging “thing,” I must say that I do worry when I post some recipes. Granted, I always give credit where credit is due, but so many of my recipes are what I like to call “improvisations” of others. A blatant theft is not cool, but we must admit that the wheel has already been invented, and so many of the recipes out there are just one or two ingredients away from so many others. I teach cooking and nutrition to children quite often, and they LOVE knowing they have created something of their own. This is why I tell them, “this is my recipe, if you take it home and change an ingredient or add something new, it then becomes your recipe.” That’s probably not going to fly with many food bloggers out there, but it works for the kids, and it works for me. (Loved YOUR recipe, BTW.)

    1. I agree with you Mindy…the funny thing I see is that some of the people most incensed about people stealing their ideas fail to ever credit others as inspiration. As if somehow they just started cooking one day and it all came to them without any resources. Yeah, sure. For me, my creative side will hardly let me ever make ANYTHING without my own spin coming into play…by the time I’m done I do feel I own that recipe. I make a barbecue sauce the other day and the idea I got from another recipe? Rum. That’s it. I’ve always loved bourbon in my sauces but thought I would give rum a try. That hardly qualifies for my recipe even being inspired by someone else in my book; even if I will mention that note if I publish it.

  30. I am often rather defensive when it comes to aspects of copying/stealing, because as an aspiring one-day-hopefully photographer, I can empathize with issues of trying to share and be part of a community online without having the “bad apples” capitalizing off of one’s hard work. However. There is a proper decorum and behavior expected for handling such situations in a respectful, adult manner. And rallying one’s online friends to bully the alleged infringer is NOT appropriate, period.

    Copyright infringement when it comes to recipes is also not nearly as cut and dry as many would like to believe. Even directions cannot be copyrighted unless there is a substantial amount of literary expression, as Clotilde recently shared in a comment on Dianne J’s blog detailing her issues with someone copying and publishing her entire cookbook’s worth of recipes verbatim. And if her published in paper and bound cookbook can’t even be protected from online copying, I highly doubt blogger A who adapted from blogger B who got the recipe from magazine C really has that much legal ground to go about complaining about recipe ideas being taken.

    That being said, there is an etiquette expected. It’s not nice to copy others’ work for the sake of copying, especially to then claim it as one’s own. I love the amount of inspiration, collaboration, and sharing over a love of food that the food blogging community is generally about. But we creatives are also here to share our own voice – and that means taking our own photos, putting in our own perspectives and style, using our own words, etc. and in general not being a jerk about sharing and inspiration. Because in the end it’s a matter of respect, and the entire community needs to respect each other. But that mutual respect requires people to view themselves as peers amongst the community rather than as better than everyone else. And it requires everyone to act as mature adults. Maybe easier said than done.

    1. I’m absolutely in agreement regarding etiquette; it’s the right thing to do for all parties. However, I feel pretty strongly that etiquette goes both ways and does not include inciting a mob to affect a change either. Talk about crying fowl. ‘Do as I say, not as I do’ has never worked particularly well that I can recall.

  31. This totally reminds me of my Mother-in-Laws Asian salad she makes us! We love it, so I know I would adore this recipe:-) I will have to share it with my Mom, she loves new salad recipes:-) Hugs, Terra

    1. I had to laugh Terra when after writing this post, I stopped into Whole Foods and what should I see? Asian Slaw. Cabbage, carrots, black sesame seeds…another variation on the same theme. So simple and so good; only wish I had a head of cabbage in the house now, I would be making more!

  32. When I started blogging, it was for the same reason as yours to document the recipes I liked and share some of my day to day experience with my mom and family back in India. For the first 6 months that I started my blog, the blog address was only shared with my mom and 2-3 friends of mine. So I would copy and paste recipes- because it was basically an online journal for me and since I wasn’t making any money off it/ and to my knowledge no one else knew about the blog, I just thought since I would have been copying and pasting in my notebook, this should be fine. But the pictures were always mine, the story behind it was mine. Of course when the blog got more public, I tried not to copy and paste, giving my own spin, but every time linking the recipe to the original source. I did debate with myself, whether I should not post the recipe at all and just provide the link (though there were cases I would slightly change the original recipe), but since the blog is my documentation of the recipes I try and I really would like all the recipes I like under one roof, I thought providing credit when due is just fine. Even the blogs I was copying the recipe from did the same. And yes, like you said- there are millions of people with similar ingredients that you have in your pantry- so there is bound to be some overlapping in recipes. Plus, with so much information available, certain ideas get stuck in your head while browsing and even though you would like to give credit when due, sometimes you just don’t remember where you saw it first and just post a recipe as you recall it, calling it your own. Which most probably it is! Hope the salad help ease the frustration. The look of it does not ease mine- because it is making me so hungry! A whole new frustration of fighting hunger pangs has started for me!

    1. I think there are forces that want to put rules on our endeavors for one reason. Money. Food blogging for many of us is still about our passion but those that feel most passionate about making money want to have control over the sharing and community that food brings. I think it’s all about common courtesy. Both in the recognition of citing others that assist us in our endeavors and in the way we treat people within the community as well in other ways. I honestly saw someone allude to a recipe a blogger friends of hers had developed that was a basic chocolate chip cookie. Really…I think that needs to be attributed to Nestle!

  33. Barbara- yes yes! All very true! I make up recipes constantly, knowing there has to be at least another dozen people that have come up with the exact same recipe. It’s ok to have similar or the same recipes as another. I too get so over the theft talk and “You stole my blog idea’ BS! There are how many food bloggers in the world?? There will be quite a few that look strikingly similar. Ugh! Love this post! Oh, and the slaw is gorgeous! 🙂

    1. Thank you Katie…good to know I’m not alone! I’ve even got cookbooks with identical recipes in them that were published before the Internet; before food blogging even. Wonder who cried such a loud foul then?

  34. Thanks for this nice recipe, I just can’t wait for the weekend when I’m going to give it a try! I really like the asian food so I think this one’s gonna be my new favorite! Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  35. The on-line community of food bloggers and others is no different as any other organized society in that it has it good and unfortunately, not so good aspects to it. Short of dealing with people who may make attempts to hurt those I love and care about, I am the most non-confrontational person so I have to tell you how much I admire you for having written this post and for having the courage to speak your mind.

  36. I too started blogging in order to collate and organise my recipes in one central, easily accessible place. It works a treat to this day! I have to agree with your sentiments about the blogging scene at the moment. When did we all get so critical? Part of me wonders if it’s something to do with the rise of “reality”/vote-for-your-favourite TV programmes that seem so popular.

    All I can say is, I find your views refreshing and your voice extremely engaging. Talk and write about what you want – it’s your space to do with what you please!

    1. Who knows Sarah…I personally think it has to do with the perceived loss of revenue if someone else has something similar. I appreciate your encouragement…I suffered over whether to open this door but you said it…it’s my space and sometimes I have to put a part of the real me on here even if it’s to write something that might be deemed unpopular. Thanks.

  37. I want to thank you so very much for the recipes you share with us, the fans. Truth be told, there are only so many ingredients in the world. Some work well with others and some just don’t. For each of us preparing dinners for our families each day it would be impossible to try every combination and not cost effective. Plus there are many foods out there that are specific to a geographical area. So unless you know about them you are not going to even think to try them. Therefore, I am very grateful to you and the other people willing to put the time and effort into trying things using your reach and influence to learn about new foods and SHARE them with the rest of us. Other wise we would simply eat the same things every day. Thank you I love to cook very much!!!! My FAMILY thanks you 🙂

    1. Thank you so much Robin…I love sharing what I do and knowing that others actually enjoy and use that effort? Well, that makes it all the more worthwhile.

  38. BRAVO!! Standing ovation!! Brilliantly stated Barb and something that desperately needed to be said!!! One thing that I have found amusing – in all this hoopla over “recipe” theft, what about magazines? Does anyone seriously think that every recipe in a magazine is an original creation? Of course not! But the magazine’s don’t give credit (unless its a cookbook review!). Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not criticizing them – magazines invest a lot of time and money to test recipes and for the most part, make sure the directions are clear and that they work. THAT is what people are buying when they buy the magazine. Sounds a bit like food blogging, doesn’t it? So, I guess what I would wonder is that if we aren’t critical of magazines for this, why are we so critical of food bloggers for it??

    1. Thank you Nancy; I’m sure many won’t agree with me but then they seem to make up the rules to suit themselves. I didn’t plan it but thought it was an interesting exercise that says more than I ever could!

  39. Whoa I didn’t hear that about the conference. I would like to know which it was so that I can avoid it in the future. Meh. I will say, for every instance that is like this, there are those of us who want to help and support each other in the food blogging world. We all like to cook and share recipes and we need to remember that that is what our bond is.

    1. I’ve chosen to not share the name of the conference Andrea; my frustration born of personal relationships might not be enough to warrant calling them out; especially when I lament using our online resources to do that. If I knew of an illegal situation that would be a different story but this just affected me in a more personal, emotional way.

  40. This is fantastic, and I’m so glad I stopped by today. I think you are so right…most feel the way you do, it’s just that everyone is too afraid to speak about it. I have a huge love/hate relationship with Twitter for the reasons you mentioned. The overload of self-promotion drives me crazy but I love the community, when it’s visible. It’s so hard to balance it all. I’m so glad to read your thoughts, and I plan to read it all again. Very well-put together!

    1. Exactly Cassie. I do wonder about that ‘fear’ issue…I’ve had people DM me and wonder if I fear being ‘blacklisted’ – not sure exactly what that would look like but if sharing our opinion on our blog calls for negativity for having a voice…uh oh, I’m in trouble. But I’m also beholden to no one. I’m not sure how much anyone could hurt me if they wanted to!

  41. Barbara, as you know one of the examples that you bring up is very near and dear to me. I for one am so proud that you were willing to post this and to stand up for many who won’t venture to communicate about this on their own blogs. My business website and blog appear side-by-side, so I personally have not been willing to communicate thus far on my experiences with “breaking in” to the food blogging world. I work very hard to focus on the all of the positives and the great people and friends that I have made, but I too struggle with several of these issues.

    1. It’s sad. For me the saddest thing is that I associate food with giving, caring for others, sharing and nurturing those I love. How it’s become this element with cliques, haves and haves not is beyond me. That seems tantamount to the opposite of foods historical importance to family, culture and community.

  42. I hope, when I next visit the US, that we can make time to have a real good chat Barb. I feel your pain in a similar but different fashion. The foodie community is a lovely place to be and I have made exceptional friends and contacts from swanning around blogtopia but the darker side of it is lethal.
    Well done on sharing your very honest thoughts on this and the recipe writing/blogging issue too.
    Oh and I could have sworn I saw that slaw recipe somewhere else :0)
    Hugs from Ireland x

    1. We have to make that happen Mona..although my 1/4 Irish self wouldn’t mind sneaking to Ireland one day either. Thanks for your comments and friendship Mona.

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