Sunday 31 July 2011

A Cook Book to Avoid

Vegetarian, Pippa Cuthbert & Lindsay Cameron Wilson, New Holland Publishers, 2010.

I watched MasterChef tonight wherein the contestants had to write the recipe for something they had cooked. The recipes were then tried out by home cooks to see if the recipes could be followed. There were mistakes in all of them. However, since the contestants had not done anything like this before it was quite understandable. What is not acceptable is to buy a published book and find it is full of similar errors.

One book I have unfortunately purchased is Vegetarian by Pippa Cuthbert and Lindsay Cameron Wilson and published by New Holland Publishers. I have only cooked three items from this book but so far have found errors throughout it.

One of the very worst was to look at a recipe, Mushroom & Tarragon Wellington, and find that nothing in it matched the name. From the ingredients it looked as though it was a recipe for a pasta with broccoli. It was obvious the wrong set of instructions had been placed under the title.

When you find an ingredients list that says 2 teaspoons of salt and the instructions say to add 1 tablespoon of salt you begin to wonder. Later on the instructions say to add the remainder of the salt. Something wrong with all of this. This was a recipe for Grown-up Mac and Five Cheese.

On the page next to this particular recipe I noticed that the ingredients list began with a subheading highlighted in red ‘For the tomato sauce’. Beneath this the ingredients list continues right to the end without indicating where the tomato sauce ingredients end and the recipe main begins. Not good.

Once you start to find these inaccuracies you lose confidence in the remainder of the book and it is difficult to go back to it. You don't want to waste time and ingredients cooking something that may not work due to errors in the instructions.

It is difficult to know whether these are editorial errors or those of the writers. However, I do feel that any proof reader should have been able to pick these up—or any others that are probably in the book that I have not discovered.

This is poor publishing. And even poorer seems to be their attitude. I wrote to the publishers on two occasions pointing out the mistakes thinking they would be pleased to have them picked up so that they could be corrected. They have not even had the courtesy to reply to my mail. Seems as though once they have your money they lose interest.

If this is an example of their publishing and of their attitude towards their public then I certainly won’t be buying any more of their product.

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