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Gwyneth & Rachael Respond to Cookbook Allegations

by 7:40 AM PDT, March 22, 2012
Playing Gwyneth & Rachael Respond to Cookbook Allegations

Gwyneth Paltrow and Rachael Ray recently became embroiled in controversy after the New York Times alleged that they hired ghostwriters to write their cookbooks. 

Gwyneth -- whose latest cookbook is called My Father’s Daughter -- appeared via Skype to set the record straight during a segment to air on Friday's The Rachael Ray Show. "You know normally I don't respond to gossip or anything, but you know this is my professional life and I’m writing more cookbooks," the actress explained. "And I feel like it’s important for the people who have responded so positively and interacted with me about my book, that they know that this is my book and I wrote my book and it's all mine."

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Rachael -- who was also identified in the New York Times article as one of many celebrity chefs who uses cookbook ghostwriters -- also struck back at the newspaper's allegations. "I so strongly agree, this is how I spend the little time at home I have with my family, I spend in front of these little notebooks, in front of the computer."

She added: "It sort of takes away from all of that to not be able to call that writing, of course that's writing. It doesn't mean you don't value the people who write the glossary or that help organize the pantry or that work on a project, but a writer is still a writer."

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Both Gwyneth and Rachael also used their Twitter accounts in recent days to attack the article -- titled I Was a Cookbook Ghostwriter -- in which the writer interviewed alleged ghostwriters and cookbook collaborators of the two celebrities. 

The writer of the piece, New York Times Dining section reporter Julia Moskin, responded to criticisms of the article by acknowledging that ghostwriting carries "a strong stigma in the food world" because it implies "that the food itself -- the ingredients, the flavors, the techniques -- was invented by someone else."

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"That is cookbook ghostwriting, as I and many others have experienced it," Moskin concludes. "The food itself, and the story that surrounds it, usually comes from the chef in varying stages of page-readiness."

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Moskin suggested that while this practice (which she calls "ghost-cooking") does sometimes occur, the use of cookbook collaborators usually involves more routine work such as "transcribing scribbled notes into logical sentences, measuring out ingredients and putting them in order and producing the routine bits of the book like the glossary and the guide to ingredients."

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