CK Friday Links--Friday October 21, 2011

Here's yet another selection of interesting links from around the internet. As always, I welcome your thoughts and your feedback.

PS: Follow me on Twitter!

Did Bloggers Without Borders give $76k in unnecessary donations to food blogger Jennifer Perillo after the tragic loss of her husband? Should she accept the money? (Get Off My Internets, although the controversy first erupted after this comment by reader Petunia at Blogging Angels) UPDATE: See Casual Kitchen's own post on the "A Fund For Jennie" controversy.

A vegan food blogger pushes back against the "vegan police." (Happy Herbivore) Related: Food Militancy and Food Moderation

What would you do if you saw Red Bull marketed at your local farmer's market? (5 Second Rule)

Are cookbooks here to stay? Readers, what do you think? (Amateur Gourmet) Bonus Post: Does food writing even matter anymore?

Recipe Links:
You'll never believe how easy it is to make your own Homemade Fresh Ricotta Cheese. (The Stonesoup Diaries)

The secret formula to all delicious homemade salad dressings. (Eating Rules)

Off-Topic Links:
A new runner learns to see running as fun. Hard, but fun. (Owlhaven)

33 unusual tips to being a better writer. And one or two tips I now wish I could "un-know." (The Altucher Confidential)

Critical thinking didn't die, it was never really all that alive in the first place. (St. Scobie's Mock Whiskey)

Do you have an interesting article or recipe that you'd like to see featured in Casual Kitchen's Food Links? Send me an email!

How can I support Casual Kitchen?
If you enjoy reading Casual Kitchen, tell a friend and spread the word! You can also support me by purchasing items from via links on this site, or by linking to me or subscribing to my RSS feed. Finally, you can consider submitting this article, or any other article you particularly enjoyed here, to bookmarking sites like, digg or stumbleupon. Thank you for your support!


Emmy said...

Wow - interesting comment threads on the BWoB fundraiser. I started following Jenny Perillo's journey when the Peanut Butter Pie movement went viral. And I looked into our budget to donate to her family when it was conveyed that she was in severe financial disarray (yes, regardless of all the back-stepping, that was how her situation was portrayed). Now I don't know how to feel about our being unable to squeeze out some money fron our budget for her "cause".

Also, we've made ricotta before, using a cheesemaking kit and citric acid instead of lemon juice. I don't know if it was cost-effective, but it sure added extra bragging rights to my lasagna! Did you know that mozzarella is just one or two steps from ricotta? I'm saving that for our first snow day project. :)

Melissa said...

I second Emmy and Petunia and the rest of the angry people re. BWOB uproar. After reading her Twitter and remembering how her situation was presented, I am furious - and doubly glad I didn't donate my money to someone who apparently has more than I do. Jesus.

I loved that 33 Unusual Tips article. Funny and true and harsh and enlightening.

Thanks for the eye-openers this week.

Daniel said...

Thanks for the early feedback on the BWOB links. I had my own doubts as to whether to run them here in a Friday Links post. And, believe me, I had doubts as to how best to phrase the text itself.

But I felt like this was important enough of a controversy that it should be put out in front of CK readers. I think there are ramifications for all of us, for how to think about our charitable activities, for our internal "believability meters", for how to think about genuine need, etc.

There's CK a post in there somewhere too, but it's still percolating in my brain. In the meantime, I wanted CK readers to be able to weigh and make their own decisions. As Melissa says, and I agree, it is an eye-opener--on many levels.


Sally said...

Jennie Perillo addresses this mess on her own blog today (in the comments):

My guess is that her situation was misunderstood and then misrepresented to others by a friend. At least I hope so.

At any rate, I don't think Jennie is at the heart of this mess.

Daniel said...

Thanks for the update Sally. I'm definitely curious to hear thoughts from other readers. I think I agree with you--one can't really fault her for not being out in front of this issue while grieving. However, I can understand the anger and frustration that many donors feel.

So who, then, is really responsible? Is BWoB, for bobbling what otherwise was an amazing, unifying act of charity? Is it Gluten Free Girl, for putting out on her high-traffic platform what now appears to be a misrepresentation of Jennifer's financial situation?

Or is it nobody's fault and just a big accident?


Emmy said...

Up until reading the comment Sally referenced, I really didn't believe Jennie had any fault or responsibility in this whole situation. But that response? The whole "I requested that BWoB donate the money to charity but was denied" bit? Why can't SHE donate the money now that it's in her hands? Is an imaginary someone holding a gun to her head? At the very least pay off the mortgage, which is what those people expected to happen. Some fiscal responsibility would be the next desperately-needed lesson. After all, now she's a single mom...perhaps her $600 boot days should be over (yeah, it sucks that her life has to change. Guess what, we all have to be able to evolve to our circumstances!) Or at the very least, for the love of God censor yourself a little, stop rubbing our noses in it - tweeting about trips, expensive restaurants, and WAY overpriced footwear will piss some people off, dontcha know? One thing that left a really bad taste in my mouth was one of JP's friends talking about how she may be using "retail therapy" to channel her grief? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? (head explodes)

Don't get me wrong, I'm damn proud that the blogger community can pull together and help out a member like that. But maybe we should stick with helping the people we know IRL and can assess their need with our own eyes. Think of how far that $80k could have gone to a food bank. Or the friend you have who's trying to scratch together the money for a bone marrow transplant. This is such a sad, sad example of caveat emptor...

Sally said...

From what I've read on other blogs, Jennie doesn't have the money yet. Also, she says that the money "will be" tucked away into college funds for her girls.

What Jennie does with the money is her business. Obviously not only was she not in dire need of the money, she didn't need it at all. I do think by putting away for her daughter's college expenses, she's honoring something that was important to Mikey.

The bigger issue is that those who donated were deceived into believing that she was in desperate need of money to keep a roof over her family's heads and pay for health insurance. It's too bad, because there are some well-known bloggers involved in this mess.

Melissa said...

I don't know what to think, even after reading all of Jennifer's responses in her recent post. What really muddles it even more for me is how I feel about Todd and Diane and Jen Yu and Shauna. I feel like they spearheaded this thing to an extent and I trust those people - MUCHO - especially Jen, who I consider a very good friend. Maybe I should ask her what I am missing here, because as it is, I am still quite perturbed at what happened.

What a mess.

Matt @ SpoonMatters said...

A little late to the party here, but I just wanted to say thanks for that post about Redbull at the farmer's market. Great example of companies trying to adapt their marketing techniques to hit a different audience.

Remember, we can get angry and complain about the "evil" corporation, or we can choose not to buy their product. You won't find any Redbull in my house!

Daniel said...

Matt, thanks for the comment, and no worries: there's no such thing as being "late to the party" here at CK. I read and moderate all the comments on all the posts, no matter how old!

But yes, I agree with you, and said something similar in my own comment on that post. Complaining is an effete act. Taking action and voting with our wallets are powerful acts. Thanks for reading as always.