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A comedy of errors

Misprints in cookbooks and restaurant menus can cost companies dear, or simply become cause for laughter.

india Updated: Apr 24, 2010 02:44 IST
Girija Duggal

Last week, a misprint in a Penguin Australia cookbook, Pasta Bible, cost the company dear— it had to recall 7,000 copies of the book thanks to a pasta recipe that called for ‘salt and freshly ground black people’. In 2008, Swedish food magazine Matmagasinet had to recall 10,000 copies when four people fell ill after following an erroneous apple cake recipe.

Instead of two pinches of nutmeg— a poisonous substance when had in large quantities — it called for 20 nutmeg nuts. Typographical errors abound in menus and cookbooks, but not all are as dangerous as above — most are simply hilarious oversights. “I saw ‘snakes’ listed in a restaurant’s menu in Kerala,” says college student Hena Shah. “What they actually meant was ‘snacks’.

”At Kainoosh, Vasant Kunj, an ingredient for a paan cocktail is listed as beetleleaf instead of betel leaf. “I saw it and couldn’t help laughing loudly,” says Gaurav Sinha, an advertising professional. “I remember ‘Chinse Cousin’ written on a Chinese van outside my old school,” recalls Arti Jain of Friends Of Books. Not all mistakes are oversights by the copyeditor or restaurant owner.

Recalls Chef Bakshish Dean, “In 2002, we were making a menu that listed Corn-fed Chicken. The final draft spelled it correctly, but it got printed as Corn Bed Chicken, thanks to the printer’s error. Luckily, we got just six copies of that menu, so we could correct it!”

1. Four people fell sick after a recipe in a Swedish magazine called for ‘20 nutmeg nuts’ instead of ‘2 pinches of nutmeg’
2. This cocktail at Kainoosh, Vasant Kunj calls for beetleleaf instead of betel leaf
3. A coffeehouse spelled ‘sandwiches’ as ‘sandwich’