Since at least 2012, Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren has faced controversy over her claim that she is descended from Native American ancestry, specifically the Cherokee and Delaware tribes, a claim she has made based on family folklore passed down over the generations.
Warren attempted to put the controversy to rest this week — no doubt in preparation for a likely 2020 presidential run — by releasing a DNA test which showed she might have had a Native American ancestor some six to 10 generations prior, meaning she would be at best 1/64th to 1/1,024th native ancestry, nowhere near the minimum required by any of the various tribes to be considered a member.
The senator and her media allies have suggested that Warren’s false and ludicrous claims of native ancestry don’t really matter since she didn’t use it to directly benefit herself, but that is rather disingenuous.
Warren specifically listed herself as “Native American” while she was a law professor, and two schools she taught at — University of Pennsylvania Law School and Harvard Law School — both heralded Warren as a “minority” and “Native American” for the purposes of faculty diversity, even as they probably knew she wasn’t really descended from Native American ancestry.
But as if Warren’s claims about her native ancestry weren’t enough, it appears Warren also falsely attributed recipes submitted for a Native American cookbook as being of native origin when those recipes look an awful lot like recipes published decades ago by a famous French chef.
Boston-based radio talk show host Howie Carr has long been critical of Warren’s dubious claims of native ancestry, and he wrote a column for the Boston Herald following Warren’s DNA test announcement and reveled in the glory of the backlash she received over her proud proclamation of having a smidgen of native ancestry.
Carr noted that Warren — who identified herself as Cherokee — had submitted a recipe for Cold Omelets with Crab Meat for a Native American cookbook titled “Pow Wow Chow.”
Except, that recipe is virtually identical to one published years earlier in a New York Times haute cuisine cookbook by French chef Pierre Franey, and the recipe was said to have been the favorite of the British Duke and Duchess of Windsor … not exactly Native American royalty.
Picking up where Carr left off, the U.K. Daily Mail looked deeper into the near-identical recipes and found that Warren’s submission — as well as others from her — could very well have been plagiarized from already existing recipes.
The “Pow Wow Chow” book was written by Warren’s cousin, Candy Rowsey, and published in 1984. It included Warren’s Cold Omelets with Crab Meat recipe, as well as one for herbed tomatoes and crab with tomato mayonnaise dressing, among other recipes from her mother and her children.
The Daily Mail found that both the Cold Omelets with Crab Meat and Crab with Tomato Mayonnaise Dressing were virtually word-for-word copies of Chef Franey’s recipes, which had been published in syndication by The New York Times News Service in 1979.
“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,” Franey wrote of his Cold Omelets with Crab Meat recipe.
In comparing Franey’s original recipes with Warren’s apparent copies, they found that while Warren had added a few ingredients into the mix, the instructions for preparing and cooking the meal were virtually identical.
On top of that, the Daily Mail also found that Warren’s recipe for Herbed Tomatoes appeared to be a direct copy of a recipe with the same name that was published in a 1959 issue of Better Homes and Garden magazine, even down to the last line of both recipes that declared the dish was a “Great accompaniment to plain meat and potatoes meal!”
Thus, we see that not only has Warren lied — or, at best, grossly embellished — her purported Native American heritage, she may also have plagiarized existing published recipes as part of the embellishment of her supposed Cherokee ancestry.
If Warren would lie about something as minor and insignificant as recipes for a family cookbook, what else might the senator with presidential ambitions lie about?
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