Food writers will tell you chefs are not to be trusted with recipe amounts.
"A pinch of this and a dash of that" does not a precise measurement make. Chefs also have trouble thinking small - they're used to feeding multitudes.
That's where a food editor comes in. Like a fellow scientist confirming a discovery, the editor must be able to duplicate the chef's creation. Otherwise, home cooks may throw in the dish towel in frustration.
Neither can cookbooks always be trusted.
Readers of Homefront may be surprised to learn that all recipes - even those from cookbooks - are tested before the paper goes to press. The reasons range from mistakes like typos to overly complicated or too-simplistic instructions. In the same way you test-drive a car before buying it, we put recipes through their paces. We often tweak an ingredient or two, and add or subtract to the cooking time, for example.
When we do this to a published recipe, we say, "Adapted from..." out of courtesy to the author. It's difficult to establish recipe "ownership," because many dishes have been around for decades.
In a recent case, a former New York Times food writer accused cookbook author David Ruggerio of appropriating nearly a dozen recipes from several classic Italian cookbooks and passing them off with a few changes as his family's.
The controversy, although not the first, has stirred the food world, calling into question how recipes are authenticated.
Here at the Monitor, we stake our reputation (not to mention our waistlines) on the recipes in these pages.
Write the Homefront, One Norway Street, Boston, MA 02115 or e-mail us at email@example.com
(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society