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Writers defend Meyers' cookbook

2011-11-14 11:50
Cape Town – Well known writers have defended Deon Meyer and his wife Anita after allegations arose that they plagiarised recipes for their newly released cookbook Kom Eet! Om die tafel met Anita en Deon Meyer from recipes compiled by Sarie food editor Barbara Joubert.

The writers told Rapport that the copyright of a recipe can only be infringed upon if the recipe is patented and speculate that the allegations were made in order to get back at Deon after a row which occurred in a class at Stellenbosch University a number of years ago.

Last week Sunday Times reported that a chicken pie recipe which appeared in Sarie in 2007 was included in Kom Eet! without acknowledgement.

Joubert's husband, wine and food writer Emile Joubert also joined the attack against Meyer by tweeting: "Recipes plagiarised. NB Publishers are handling the fact that a new SA cookbook has clearly stolen from other books and women’s magazines."

Old grudges

Although NB publishers admit that it would have been better if Barbara Joubert was fully credited for her recipes – Chicken pie with leeks and potatoes, Steak sandwich, tagliatelle, macaroni and cheese, chocolate pudding and a cheesecake – they maintain that "the writers never claim in the book that it is their (the Meyers') recipes".

The couple writes that the recipes and tips in Kom Eet! are from family, food writers and chefs and credit amongst others SJA de Villiers, Ina Paarman, the actor Neil Sandilands, "Anne-Liese, Lida, Liza en Grandma Freda"; and the Dorpshuis restaurant in Calitzdorp.

They also credit celebrity chef Nigella Lawson.

Poet and writer Johann de Lange told Rapport that the whole thing is just malicious trouble making.

"This is a grudge against Deon over a row that erupted in a creative writing class at Stellenbosch University that was being presented by Marlene van Niekerk. He publically castigated a fellow student who had written a vulgar letter to van Niekerk.

"That this had to happen to Deon is unfortunate; there is no one more honourable than him."

Writer and translator Michiel Heyns says that he has not had a chance to read the book "but I find it very hard to believe that he would be guilty of plagiarism.

"If you write the way Deon writes – you don't have to copy anything."

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