Rachel Ray vs. The New York Times? Pass the Delicately Seasoned Popcorn please!

by Debra Chappell

Weather Today: Sunny, warming, slightly breezy (good day to get outside and dig in the dirt!)

View ‘from the front porch’:

Mood Reading: ZZZZ’s (slept in this morning – yum – but after a little caffeine and view of the sunshine, have an inexplicable urge to clean out the linen closet – perhaps spring has sprung after all!)

It was all over the morning shows this morning.  Not that I regularly watch them mind you, just this morning, ahem… to catch up on the news, and world events, and uh… stock market stats etc.  Anyway, I just happened to catch this story that apparently ran in the New York Times about celebrity chefs NOT writing their own cookbooks – using ghostwriters instead.  It was all over GMA and The Today show anyway. (Alright, so C-span isn’t part of my morning repertoire.)

The lead-ins were excruciating – something like “There’s a big pot of trouble cookin’ in the culinary world, with many famous chefs steamed and boiling mad…” and on and on.  Painful puns a-plenty!  Perhaps the writers for GMA and Today could use some ghostwriting help as well!

In any case, Gweneth Paltrow (I didn’t know she could cook either,) and Rachel Ray fired back on that most reliable news source since Rueters – Twitter –  to debunk the claims, declaring in no uncertain terms that they personally wrote every recipe and every word in their own cookbooks. I don’t blame them, when someone attacks your personal and professional integrity, you’re entitled to fire back on any medium you choose and by god, I’m sure Twitter has the New York Times legal team stewing in their own juice!

But I can’t say that I’d be that surprised.  After all, I don’t expect someone who creates a brilliant pumpkin soufflé cheesecake to also have the skill set to cook up a deliciously, tantalizing description to be sampled, savored, and  relished along with the New York Times.

I’m perfectly content to let my chefs do the cookin’ and the writers do the writin’!  Kind of follows that old adage about “those who can, do. Those who can’t…write about it”  or something like that.  Seriously, I don’t see what the fuss is about. I would expect a professional chef to get some help to present their creations in the best Lite, I mean light. After all, many a best-seller has been ghost written, from movie stars to celebrities to normal people with a harrowing tale to tell.  In fact politicians do it all the…on second thought, never mind.

I think what raised the ire of American culinary Idols is that the Times article inferred  that the happy hosts of haute cuisine hijacked their halibut from the hired hands of hyperbole.  If that’s the case, I can see the controversy – like the queen of Jazzercise Jane Fonda admitting she had an eating disorder all along, while the rest of us were busting our butts to her workout tapes and wondering why ours weren’t getting any smaller.

Anyway, The Times is standing by their story, apparently unfazed by the Twitter blow-back.  (By way of full disclosure, I didn’t actually read the Times article, I got it from my most reliable news sources, Matt Lauer and Robin Roberts.)  It will be interesting to see what’s served up next if the celebrity lists get longer, and if additional purveyors of all things gourmet tell the New York Times to stuff it!

(I think I’d better get back to my novel, after reading this post, no one’s going to ask me to ghost write anything! But Rachel, if you’re reading this – I’ll work for pot-pie if you’re hiring…)