Over at the New York Times, Julia Moskin shares war stories from her time as a cookbook ghostwriter. Alongside stories of chefs who could care less about their books — including some that refuse to even read them when they're done — there are some juicy cookbook blind items. The "I" in these are Moskin, but do not assume all of them are books she co-authored. Let's take some guesses:
1: "'There should be a really solid guide to poultry,' a barbecue maven prescribed for his own forthcoming book. (After much stalling, he sent the writer a link to the Wikipedia page for 'chicken.')"
2: "One recent best-selling tome on regional cooking was produced entirely in a New York apartment kitchen, with almost no input from the author."
3: "The two days I spent under armed guard in a walled compound in Bogotá, while the chef I was working with disappeared into the Colombian countryside. During those two days, with no cellphone or e-mail and only a Dora-the-Explorer ability to communicate in Spanish, I was essentially a prisoner, with plenty of time to think about my next career."
4: "A chef took my name off the cover of our book because, he explained, it would hurt his wife's feelings."
5: "One rising culinary star, soft-spoken but elusive, whom I prodded into producing a book with me. Flushed with gratitude, he insisted on cooking at my forthcoming wedding, promised a space inside a New York City landmark and then — quite soon after the invitations had gone out — stopped answering the phone, forever."
6: "Another young chef came to my rescue and catered the wedding. I then spent six months writing a proposal for his book — until he signed with the most notorious bullying book agent in the industry, who told me that a writer should be so honored to work on this project that money would not be a factor."