Yesterday, Lukins died of brain cancer at the age of 66. And Julia Moskin's by-the-book obituary curiously leaves out the part of Lukins's story everyone remembers -- her split with Rosso -- and generally doesn't do justice to the famous cookbook writer's life.
"But their high-profile pairing, which resulted in cookbooks that have sold 4.5 million copies, has come to a bitter end," Manegold wrote, in a fascinating story that also cast doubt the recipes in a Rosso solo cookbook. "The two women haven't spoken in a year."
Their split took place after Lukins suffered a cerebral hemorrhage in 1991 that nearly killed her. The earlier brain illness is also missing from Moskin's obit.
And another mistake: Moskin also quotes the note of an unnamed copy editor on the manuscript, telling her that "no one puts 25 cloves of garlic in ratatouille!" Moskin claims that the authors "retested the recipe and kept it."
But The NYTPicker has in its possession a first edition paperback copy of The Silver Palate Cookbook from 1982 (thanks, Gwen!), and we've checked the ratatouille recipe on page 167.
"Two tablespoons of minced garlic," the recipe says. No mention of 25 cloves.
Internet estimates vary, but it seems generally accepted that two cloves of garlic makes a teaspoon. That would mean twelve cloves of garlic, not 24. Even the most awakened taste buds don't want that experience.
Is there some reason that a NYT editor or writer would purposely leave out of an obit a central anecdote in a famous person's life? True, this one is controversial, but many people knew and remembered it. It's hard to believe that Moskin did so little research that she didn't know about it -- it's in Lukins's Wikipedia entry, for chrissakes!
As an aside, "Sheila Lukins, 66: Awakened Taste Buds" will not be winning a Publisher's Merit Award for best headline this month.