Saturday, May 5, 2012

Cookbook Ghost Writers and Frosty Peach Margaritas

For this week's installment of Cocktails and Gossip I thought I would let you in on a little known  secret about celebrity cookbooks - and that is: they are seldom actually written by the smiling faced culinary superstar on the book's cover.

Though I've long known that franchise writers like James Patterson and Nora Roberts employ teams of writers to output the massive amounts of fiction they produce, it never occurred to me that this practice of ghost writing would be happening in the world of cookbooks.

But it stands to reason that a person who looks good talking on camera flipping a few eggs might not have the writing chops or the time, to produce - in some cases - multiple cookbooks.

Rachel Ray is a good example of this and I feel somewhat naive now for thinking she could helm a daily talk show, produce a monthly magazine, and write best selling cookbooks using all of her own recipes without having someone behind the scenes *um* helping her out.

But when I read the article I Was a Cookbook Ghostwriter by Julia Moskin in the March 13, 2012 edition of the New York Times, my eyes were certainly opened.

The article, which describes a world of ego centric grumpy chefs and battle scarred ghost writers gives yet another glimpse into the underbelly of the business of food and leaves the reader wondering who let the chefs out.

It also better explains how someone like Teresa Giuduce  renowned table flipper and famous mis- pronouncer of words (in a recent episode of Celebrity Apprentice she referred to the spice "Cumin" as "Cummin" ) from the Real Housewives franchise could go on to become a best selling author.

It also further solidifies my belief that Frank L. Baum's depiction of Oz might be the most perfect metaphor for the entertainment industry ever written.

Giada, you aren't in Kansas anymore.

And so it goes.


So how about an amazing Frozen Peach Margarita to wash it all down with from The Wizardess herself, Martha Stewart?  Recipe link here.

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  1. :) I like this one...I remember seeing an episode of Rachael Ray where she and Gweneth are outright saying they DO write their own recipes...pffft..whatever! I hadn't thought of it before that article either, was definitely an eye opener. And that drink looks FABULOUS! :)

  2. I wish I had seen that show! We are becoming a bunch of jaded foodies ;)

  3. Happy Cinco de Mayo! Interesting article, the thought of ghost writers never dawned on me. I understand the staff required to put magazines together, just never thought about someone else actually writing the recipes for a cookbook. Nice to see Bobby Flay acknowledge it though:@)

    1. I agree - I actually quite like Bobby Flay - although I ran across a wee bit of gossip about him that I might have to feature next week ;) Stay tuned!

  4. Interesting! I always wondered how actors would have enough food knowledge to write their own cookbooks..... And yes, I also saw the episode where RR was saying she writes every recipe in her cookbooks..... dream on, LOL.

    1. She said she writes every recipe? Even without knowing about this I would have had to doubt that!

  5. This was great Lyndsay, a real eye-opener! I had no idea either. I didn't even realize authors like James Patterson and Nora Roberts didn't write their own stuff. I'm disheartened, lol! (Cummin, lol lol).

    1. Teresa Giudice takes the cake! I have to admit, though, her first cookbook was quite entertaining. I took it out of the library - didn't try any of the recipes but the written parts were fun.

  6. Great topic !! I have never thought RR was a great cook !! My girlfriend says she runs around the kitchen too frantic to even look at on TV. I tried a dish of hers that I woud cook for my family years ago. Recipes were similar but her's was just very off in the measurements. We thought wow, RR didnt try this one AT ALL. That was off putting. Now I'll go back and read the newspaper article. Keep it up Lyndsay Wells. Brava !!