Dear Matt: My Sister Plagiarized My Pie Recipe For Her Amazon-Exclusive Digital Cookbook

Another local problem tackled with our communications specialist!

November 10, 2020
dear matt resize

Dear Matt,

My sister Angelica and I do not get along although remain friendly enough to have a casual friendship type relationship. A while back, I shared a pie in the family group chat and people asked for the recipe. I obliged, more than happy to share the details. 

Recently, my sister Angelina published an Amazon-exclusive digital cookbook. I bought the cookbook only to find that among the recipes was my EXACT pie recipe! It wasn’t even modified, it was the EXACT recipe! She had never asked to use it, she did not credit me either. It was the opposite, she seemed to claim it as her own. 

I have no idea how to approach this topic. Since our relationship is already strained, I don’t know if approaching her about this is the right thing to do.

-Pie Police


Dear Pie Police,

This is a major ethical violation that’s more outrageous because she’s your sister. Cooking is a field where there’s always light plagiarism. You learn techniques and styles and replicate them on your own time. Although most Chefs have a habit of tracing back their inspiration. “Well this chef/cuisine taught me ‘x’ which is why I used it to make ‘xy.’ 

I would directly ask her why she published your pie recipe as your own and be ready to share receipts that you sent her that exact recipe over the family text (if you have them). Hopefully she confesses that she did lift your recipe, and you are to make it quite clear that she is not allowed to do this without your permission. Hold her accountable. You’re allowed to be upset over this. 

If she protests, drop it at that point. I’m sure other family members will find out that the pie in her amazon digital cookbook is not her own. And if not, maybe let it go. But let it serve as a reminder for you to stand up to your sister over this plagiarism and perhaps omit her from recipes going forward if you’re concerned she will repeat this pattern.