Tuesday, January 22, 2008

No Lawsuit Here

Monday's New York Times (NYT) has a cautionary reminder for writers: book titles cannot be copyrighted.

On May 12 of this year a new book related to food will be released by W.W. Norton. The book is The Saucier’s Apprentice: One Long Strange Trip Though the Great Cooking Schools of Europe, by Bob Spitz.

Raymond Sokolov, the restaurant columnist for The Wall Street Journal, is incensed by the book's title. According to the NYT,
"In 1976, Mr. Sokolov wrote The Saucier’s Apprentice: A Modern Guide to Classic French Sauces for the Home. Published by Knopf, the book is now in its 16th printing . . . "

After reading Mr. Sokolov's rant about Spitz' "bad taste" (I wonder, was the pun intended?), I was mildly amused when the NYT pointed out that humorist S.J. Perleman had written an essay for The New Yorker on January 14, 1956. The title? "The Saucier's Apprentice."

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