A cookbook by former MasterChef candidate and restaurant owner Elizabeth Haigh has been quietly taken from circulation by its publisher after Haigh was accused of copying recipes by another author.
Haigh’s Makan, a collection of Singaporean recipes, was published by Bloomsbury in May, bringing together “recipes that have been passed down through many generations of his family,” according to the publisher. But after Sharon Wee, who published Growing Up in a Nonya Kitchen: Singapore Recipes from My Mother in 2012, said Haigh’s title “copied or paraphrased” some of its content, it was quietly taken off sale. .
Wee said in a statement that she wrote her book, a mixture of cookbook and memory, “In Loving Memory of My Mother,” recreating personalized recipes and researching her legacy. “I thank her and her peers for their anecdotes, recipes and culinary tips. That was their story, “she said.” So I was shocked to find that some recipes and other content in my book had been copied or paraphrased without my consent in Makan by Elizabeth Haigh, and I Immediately brought this matter to the attention of the book’s publisher, Bloomsbury Absolute. I am grateful that Bloomsbury has addressed my concerns by removing Makan from circulation. “
Haigh, who owns a restaurant, Mei Mei, in Borough Market, London, and entered the BBC MasterChef competition in 2011, writes in Makan: “I have faced many challenges along the way. It started with my need to translate hard-to-read handwritten notes or convert measures, and then I learned the different daun (herbs) or rempah (spice pastes). Technique aside, the ingredients were hard to come by, but luckily I was only a bus ride from Chinatown in central London.
Nine years earlier, Wee wrote, “He faced his many challenges along the way. It all started with converting his handwritten recipe measurements from katis and tahils (ancient Chinese measures) and learn the different daun (or herbs) and rempa (spice pastes). Recipe testing in New York could be difficult. Buying the ingredients for our cooking often involved a hike to Chinatown on the subway with a large shopping cart.
Haigh, who was born in Singapore and whose mother is Singaporean, writes: “Traditionally, the Nonya Aunties used all of their senses when cooking. It was really important to assess the smell and color of the sauce; feel the heat of the charcoal or the heat of the wok; listen to the sizzle of the rempa, and best of all, constantly tasting. Aunts cooked by agak agak or “estimate”.
Wee writes: “Traditionally, the Nonya used all of their senses when cooking – it was important to assess the color of the sauce, to smell the aroma of the spices, to feel the heat of the heat of the charcoal. of wood, listen to the rhythm of the pounding and above all, taste the final product once the cooking is finished. Thus, the recipes passed down from generation to generation were inaccurate. The cooking was by guess or what the Nonya called agak-agak.
Observers have also noted similarities between some recipes. “It is believed that ginger has healing properties – angina pukol (to drive toxic gases and moisture away from you to relieve aches and pains). This is why postnatal mothers were given a lot of ginger to “beat the wind,” ”writes Haigh. Wee had previously written: “It is believed that ginger angina pukol (beat the poisonous gases and moisture out of you to relieve aches and pains). Therefore, postnatal mothers were given a lot of ginger to “beat the wind”. “
Bookstores around the world have criticized Haigh: In New Zealand, Cook the Books wrote on Facebook: “Passing off someone else’s recipes as your own is one thing. Appropriating their personal memories is unforgivable. Now Serving LA said he was “stunned and disheartened” to find that Haigh “was using vital material” from Wee’s book. “Of course, ‘the recipes cannot be copyrighted’, but Haigh didn’t stop at the 15 or more recipes that were taken from Wee’s original text, but also plagiarized personal memories. and Wee’s top notes, sometimes verbatim, ”the store wrote on Instagram.
The new editions of Makan were no longer available in online bookstores on Monday and the title was removed from the Bloomsbury website.