It’s been a tough week here at But we have been thrilled by all the support you, our readers, have given us in response to the angry letters we have received. Rest assured: is not the New York Times. We will not succumb to cancel culture.

It is, we must say, typical of our critics to assert that we have a duty to distinguish ingredients that do belong in our recipes from ingredients that don’t, and that failing to do so is letting our readers down. Clearly, we think more highly of our readers than they do, and it’s not our job to spell things out for them. Not because we’re totally abdicating our responsibility as an arbiter of what should or should not be in spinach dip: because we respect our readers.

We remain as committed as ever to offering alternatives to mainstream recipe sites moving in pusillanimous lockstep. We feel no obligation to coddle the concerns of these readers, but we wanted to take a moment to answer them, anyway.

First, the politely worded suggestion that we remove “eight 20 mm lithium coin cell batteries” from the ingredients list for our “Best Casserole Ever!” is ridiculous on its face. The reader is smart enough to know that those batteries are poisonous and should not be included in a casserole. Yes, reading them on a recipe site might be confusing, as well as our suggestion that “you can’t get that casserole flavor without them!” But — it’s not our job to point out how that’s misleading. This is just one of those robust recipe ideas that needs to be exchanged, robustly, and it isn’t on us to remove it, which would not be robust.

We will not cave, either, to your suggestion that “six heaping tablespoons of Pledge™ Restore And Shine Furniture Oil” does not belong in a recipe for “Mom’s Scrumptious Chocolate Cake.” First, Pledge™ Restore and Shine Furniture Oil has been a great sponsor and partner, and if anyone wants to argue that their wonderful products have even more uses around the home than we originally suspected, we want to hear them out. Second, it isn’t our job to tell you what is correct and incorrect to put into your chocolate cake. We are just the authors of a recipe site, telling people what is correct and incorrect to put into their chocolate cakes. And we refuse to cave to the mainstream of recipe discourse, where everyone maintains, unchallenged, the assumption that Pledge™ Restore and Shine Furniture Oil is "absolutely NOT an essential ingredient to any cake” and “dangerous to ingest, as it says on the side of the bottle.”

We have too much faith in the marketplace of ideas for that nonsense. We will let the reader make up his own mind in the long-standing tradition of intellectual exchange. In that spirit, a simple Google search would have revealed that neither snake venom nor “weapons-grade uranium (store-bought is fine)” were essential ingredients for “Aunt Kathy’s Eggplant Surprise.”

I know you said we owed Kevin Mitchelnik an apology for the suggestion, in our “Rib-Tickling Kidney Pie” recipe that “a great source of kidneys is Kevin Mitchelnik, who resides at 63 Kangaroo Court, Sydney.” Sorry — we won’t apologize. We are not succumbing to cancel culture. To call this a threat in any way to Kevin’s life or kidneys is a grotesque overreaction.

As long as we are allowed to do so, we will continue to speak our minds in the tradition of vigorous, seasoned dish-courses. And our Recipe Hints columns will continue to stand against a culture of growing conformity and intolerance around what should and should not be included in recipes.

Lastly, we would like to apologize for the Desserts section’s Ground Glass Champagne Panna Cotta. This should have been Ground Glass Sparkling Wine Panna Cotta. Champagne comes exclusively from the Champagne region of France. We regret the error.

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