Cookbook Errata: If Something Looks Odd, It May Be
In today’s fast-paced publishing world, editorial mistakes are not unheard of. We’ve all rolled our eyes at a spelling or grammatical error in an otherwise wonderful novel. Some of us have even torn out (or “frogged”) hours of knitting to fix a mistake caused by a misprint in a pattern.
And while mistakes in a knitting pattern can be frustrating and time consuming, cookbook mistakes can also be hazardous to your health.
So if your recipe seems wrong, the following tips should increase your odds of having a happy and healthy cooking experience:
- Compare against similar recipes. Searching online makes this easy.
- Become aware of general food safety rules. For a thorough list that covers everything from transporting a casserole to pressure canning, visit Virginia Cooperative Extension.
- Start with materials that are published by reputable and reliable sources. The National Center for Home Food Preservation provides extensive information on freezing, pickling, and canning, including many free recipes online. Recent articles include “Resources for Home Preserving Venison” and “Preparing and Canning Salsa.”
Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving
edited by Judy Kingry and Aluren Devine
Recommended by the National Center for Home Food Preservation, this book includes 400 recipes, plus comprehensive directions on safe canning and preserving methods plus lists of required equipment and utensils.
Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking
by Nathan Myhrvold with Chris Young and Maxime Bilet
Volume 1 of this six volume set includes chapters on Microbiology for Cooks and Food Safety. You can read volumes 1-6 at the Central Library, and check out the easier-to-carry version, Modernist Cuisine at Home.
And if you’re still skeptical about a recipe, search online using the term “cookbook errata” or “cookbook errors” (or use the word “recipe” instead of cookbook), plus the title of the cookbook or recipe. If the error you see has been found by other people, it may show up online.
We wish you happy – and safe – cooking this holiday season!