« The twelve or so days of crassmas -- Thanks, Megan McArdle! | Main | Missing beagle in Oxford, MS »


Caw Caw Creek

Such a disappointment. And the kicker is (as people familiar with my farm have already noticed and remarked to me) that the farm/animal photos were all taken on my farm, with the promise from Libbie that there would be proper credit throughout - of which there is none. So the average reader would associate Smithfield CAFO pork with animals raised under the most stringent animal welfare guidelines in the country, Certified Humane. Paula Deen says in the forward something about "75 years of food you can trust" - really? If its so trustworthy why didn't they show pictures of their own operation instead of mine? Libbie never told me there was a Smithfield angle -- obviously something I never would have agreed to -- and I guess I was naive about the whole thing. It was pitched to me as a book that would help women feel more comfortable with the 'man's world' of pork. The whole thing has been upsetting to me and my farm manager Eufren, who fled the industrial pork world so he could express his magnificent and unparalleled humane husbandry to his hearts desire on our farm. The humane treatment of animals is at the heart of our business, and that Caw Caw Creek and our beautiful animals are used as a shill for Smithfield is unforgivable.

Libbie Summers

I set out to write a beautiful and delicious "pork for chicks" cookbook that would make my maternal grandmother, Lula Mae, proud. You see, Lula Mae was a heritage breed hog farmer long before anyone even cared what heritage breed hogs were. She was also never above going to her local IGA and picking up a few pounds of packaged bacon when her freezer ran low. She had a voice, but was not political. I am the same. I am devastated to know that someone I have grown to respect and truly appreciate, Emile DeFelice, would be upset about my cookbook. I truly felt as if I represented my associations well. It is not in my nature to ever misrepresent myself or anyone I work with. I don't hide my affiliation with companies like Smithfield (whom, as a freelancer, I have developed fresh pork recipes for) or Paula Deen (whom, also as a freelancer,I have had as a client). I try to share everything going on in my life and career. Through social media and mainstream media...I'm told even a little too much.
Like Emile, I have learned a lot about the publishing business with this my first book. I learned that publishers make "buy in" deals with companies such as Smithfield to help offset the cost of producing the book. Companies that will use a book as holiday gifts internally. I was honored that they chose mine (they had a different choice) especially because it showed a little of both sides of the fence. Lula Mae's and the IGA where she bought her packaged meats.
All this said, the only thing that is on my mind now is the deep devastation I feel knowing that a man I so admire and have a school girl crush on, Emile, would be so upset with me for what was truly a miscommunication. I have purchased his pork and sang his praises to former presidents, talk show hosts, newspapers and radio hosts throughout the tour for my book. I would be honored if he allowed me to continue. I will try to understand if he doesn't.
In the end, I know Lula Mae is very proud of me. My mother told me so.

Slaughtered Thoughts

All the justification right there. Mom is proud of a daughter with nor fortitude or scruples. Enough said. Could have made a shorter truthful book I suppose, but no corporate buy ins.

Mr. Sidetable

"She had a voice, but was not political. I am the same." Because words are the only things that are ever political, see.

I wonder what the going market rate for credibility is?


Maybe there should be an insignia in all of her future books reading: "Ad astra per alia porci". --- Not Flying Pigs Farm

Kristian Niemi

I don't get it. If she knows Emile and knows what he does and what he stands for, how could she have EVER thought he'd allow his farm to be used as a shill for Smithfield? Did she learn of the corporate buy-in AFTER the book was done, as it comes across in her response? If so, couldn't she say no? If she knew before, she certainly deceived him. Just the fact that the photos aren't credited to his farm is unforgivable. (Is that another aspect of the publishing business?)

It's too bad, since it's a good cookbook, but one I'll never buy as long as her 'corporate partner' continues to treat animals as inhumanely as Smithfield does and as long as Rizzoli feels it unnecessary to follow the 'truth in advertising' motto that better publishers do.

Makes me wonder (now that the book seems to be a success) if the reprint will include the proper credits. After all, a popular book like this shouldn't need a corporate 'buy in' to cover costs, should it?

It will be interesting to see if she shares the truth behind the photo shoot and her affiliation with Smithfield and the blatant misuse of Emile's farm through her access to "mainstream and social media".

I do have to give mad props to photographer Chia Chong. She is amazing! It's too bad her work on this project is misrepresenting an inhumane company like Smithfield.

Erica Gibson

I moseyed over here after reading about this kerfuffle on The Yum Diary courtesy of the inestimable Tracie Broom. I sincerely hope Ms. Summers has learned a lesson from this and that she will consider donating some of those porcine profits back to Caw Caw in penance - although they may not want her blood money, and she won't be getting any of mine for Smithfield's her book.
Pretty sure I wrote something about Smithfield once upon a time... oh yeah - you can Google "aaablog" and "swine flu" to find it.


Saw the Pig film, am ever so much closer to becoming a vegetarian, especially since my suburban neighborhood will not let me raise livestock in my backyard & organic costs more than I have. Lets see, though, about this cookbook issue. Libbie Summers authors a pork cookbook & asks Emile DeFelice for photos from his farm, promising appropriate credits. The cookbook is published, no credits except that Smithfield contributed to publishing costs. The ASSUMPTION is that Ms Summers knew in advance & did not reveal (any evidence of that?). It appears to me that each of them were attempting to benefit from the other without costs to themselves & both got porked by Smithfield & the publishing house. Let the blame lie where it should, with corporate America. Take them to court.

The Gurgling Cod

@Bonnie: Not sure what your motives are, but your effort to defend Libbie Summers does not have much to do with facts or logic. If you had read the cookbook, or even this post you commented on, you would see that the Smithfield references are in the text that Summers herself wrote. That Smithfield contributed to the publishing costs is not mentioned in the book but comes from Summers' comment above. As Todd Price points out in a comment (http://bit.ly/rNcE12) Summers has a longstanding working relationship w/ Smithfield, so it's very hard to imagine that she had the book manuscript & photos, then worked in Smithfield-branded meats after the fact. For your comment to make any sense, this implausible scenario would have to be true. It's also not clear what DeFelice hoped to gain from letting Summers use his farm for a shoot, beyond some positive PR. Your characterization of DeFelice and Summers as fellow victims of Smithfield is risible.

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

Be my imaginary friend

  • Gurgling Cod's Facebook profile