ABC News Blogs

Gwyneth Paltrow and Rachael Ray Hit Back at NY Times

Rachael Ray and Gwyneth Paltrow are fighting back after an article in the New York Times accused them of using cookbook ghostwriters.

Paltrow tweeted on Saturday, "Love @nytimes dining section, but this weeks facts need checking. No ghostwriter on my cookbook. I wrote every word myself."

Ray retweeted Paltrow on Sunday, adding, "Good for @GwynethPaltrow who also noted how wrong @NYTimes got it. She is the author of her own cookbook and  makes a helluva fried (zucchini spaghetti)."

The New York Times article, written by former ghostwriter Julia Moskin, has caused an uproar with both cookbook authors as they insist that they wrote their cookbooks themselves.  Moskin interviewed Wes Martin, a recipe developer for Ray, who said, "How many times can one person invent a new quick pasta dish?"

Ray responded the day after the article was published, via Twitter: "Longtime fan of NY Times dining section, but today they got it wrong re: article on celebrating ghostwriters.   My friend Wes (my longtime food stylist) does get me, but does not ghost me.  Proud of Wes and proud to be the author of all my cookbooks. I remain a NY Times subscriber."

Moskin also spoke with Gwyneth Paltrow's "ghostwriter" Julia Turshen, "Ms. Turshen, like many younger ghosts, is generally thrilled to be paid for the combination of writing and cooking. … 'It actually helps to be an idiot,' Ms. Turshen said. 'A hungry one.'"

In the author's note of her cookbook, "My Father's Daughter,"  Paltrow thanked Turshen for her help with the book. "I literally could not have written this book without the tireless, artful assistance of Julia Turshen."

"She quantified, tested  and retested every recipe, oversaw the production of the photos, helped brainstorm in a crisis, and, above all, was my intellectual and emotional support through the whole process," Paltrow wrote.

Moskin continued the ghostwriter debate, as she attempted to define what she meant by the term "ghostwriter" in a NY Times blog, describing it as the deciphering of recipes, "transcribing scribbled notes," "measuring out ingredients and putting them in order" or even the assembling a book's glossary.

Toward the end Moskin wrote, "As it happens, in their correspondence with The Times, Ms. Ray, Mr. Batali and a publicist for Mr. Oliver all said that some other chefs should have been included in the article  - but not them."

Ray was still upset with Moskin's response, tweeting "@nytimes Diner's Journal gets it wrong- AGAIN. I celebrate and value stylists, photographers, editors. I also write my recipes alone.  In addition, I never offered @nytimes names of 'other chefs' who should have been included in the original piece.  Disappointing response when a correction was in order."

In a debate that could last for weeks, the definition of "ghostwriter" remains unsettled between the Times, Paltrow and Ray.

View Comments (19)