Did Elizabeth Warren Plagiarize Her 'Pow Wow Chow' Recipes?

The credibility of Massachusetts Democratic  Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren took another hit today as Boston radio talk show host Howie Carr released evidence that appears to confirm Ms. Warren may have plagiarized at least three of the five recipes she submitted to the 1984 Pow Wow Chow cookbook edited by her cousin Candy Rowsey.

Two of the possibly plagiarized recipes, said in the Pow Wow Chow cookbook to have been passed down through generations of Oklahoma Native American members of the Cherokee tribe, are described in a NewYork Times News Service story as originating at Le Pavilion, a fabulously expensive French restaurant in Manhattan. The dishes were said to be particular favorites of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor and Cole Porter.

The two recipes, "Cold Omelets with Crab Meat" and "Crab with Tomato Mayonnaise Dressing," appear in an article titled “Cold Omelets with Crab Meat,” written by Pierre Franey of the New York Times News Service that was published in the August 22, 1979 edition of the Virgin Islands Daily News, a copy of which can be seen here.

Ms. Warren’s 1984 recipe for Crab with Tomato Mayonnaise Dressing  is a word-for-word copy of Mr. Franey’s 1979 recipe.

Mrs. Warren’s 1984 recipe for Cold Omelets with Crab Meat contains all four of the ingredients listed in Mr. Franey’s 1979 recipe in the exact same portion but lists five additional ingredients. More significantly, her instructions are virtually a word for word copy of Mr. Franey’s instructions from this 1979 article. Both instructions specify the use of a “seven inch Teflon pan.” The 1984 Pow Wow Chow recipe reads:

Use a small omelet pan, or, preferably, a seven-inch Teflon pan. Heat about one-half teaspoon butter in the pan. Add about one-third cup of the egg mixture. Let cook until firm and lightly brown on the bottom, stirring quickly with a fork until the omelet starts to set. When set slip a large pancake turner under the omelet starts to set. When set, slip a large pancake turner under the omelet and turn it quickly to the other side. Let cook about five seconds. Remember, you want to produce a flat omelet, not a typical folded omelet. Turn the omelets out flat onto a sheet of was paper. Continue making omelets until all the egg mixture is used.

Ms. Warren’s instructions are word-for-word copies of Mr. Franey’s 1979 instructions for this recipe, with one exception. Ms. Warren says, “Let cook until firm and lightly brown…” and Mr. Franey says “Let cook until firm and lightly browned…” [emphasis added]

Mr. Franey elaborates in this 1979 article on the origins of the recipe:

When I was chef at Le Pavilion it enjoyed a considerable esteem in America, and the owner, Henri Soule, had one particular specialty that he would ask to have prepared for his pet customers. The dish was a great favorite of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor and Cole Porter. It is a delicate and interesting creation, especially good for summer dining. It consists of small omelets, flavored with herbs and bits of tomato, served cold with a crab meat filling…This is not the usual oval-shaped omelet rolled over a filling and served hot. It is a flat omelet that is cooked like a pancake and turned over once on the skillet, then served cold. [emphasis added]

Mr. Franey does not suggest that the Duke and Duchess of Windsor enjoyed Cold Omelets with Crab Meat due to any claim on their behalf of Cherokee ancestry, though it is true that the Duchess was American born.

The third potentially plagiarized recipe, "Herbed Tomatoes," appears to be copied from this 1959 recipe from Better Homes and Garden.

Ms. Warren ‘s campaign has not commented on the suggestion that she may have plagiarized her recipe contributions to the Pow Wow Chow cookbook. Sales of the Pow Wow Chow have heated up on Amazon since this controversy began, vaulting from a lowly 1.2 million ranking book to number 11,289 early this morning. 

Michael Patrick Leahy is a Breitbart News contributor, Editor of Broadside Books’ Voices of the Tea Party e-book series, and author of Covenant of Liberty: The Ideological Origins of the Tea Party Movement.


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