We’re no strangers to plagiarism here at Dear Author. While out and out copying is easy to spot, strong similarities is a more murky area. The number 2 book on the USA Today bestseller list and the Number 1 hardcover on the Advice, How-To and Misc NYT list is Jessica Seinfeld’s “Deceptively Delicious“.
A number of readers at mommy forums, Amazon.com and Oprah.com have begun pointing out the similarities between “Deceptively Delicious” and “The Sneaky Chef“. Seinfeld says that the idea to puree vegetables and add them to recipes sprouted sui generis a couple of years ago
but in 2006, a chef and cookbook author of “The Sneaky Chef” submitted a 42 recipe proposal with the same ideas to Seinfeld’s eventual publisher HarperCollins. The New York Times found the following similarities:
- parents purée healthy foods like spinach and sweet potatoes and hide them in childhood favorites like macaroni and cheese or brownies
- spinach in brownies, avocado in chocolate pudding and sweet potato in grilled cheese sandwiches appear in both Lupina and Seinfeld’s cookbooks
- an early publicity brochure for "Deceptively Delicious" showed an illustration with the same drawing on the cover “The Sneaky Chef”
Jerry Seinfeld claims that of course there was no copying because his wife doesn’t need the money or the publicity. We know that the desire to see one’s name on the cover of the book has little do with either money or publicity. It could just be a case of whacky similarities. Both Rachel Gibson and Deidre Martin had hockey related romances released within months of each other and both books had heroines who consult the Hockey for Dummies book to help them understand their hockey playing boyfriends.
Since Perseus Publishing, the current distribution rights holder for “The Sneaky Chef” is not pursuing legal action at this time, the only court to decide this issue is the one of public opinion.
Via the New York Times.