Monday, April 19, 2010

The Pasta Bible Versus the Wicked Bible

On Saturday, I, along with the rest of the world, heard the news report on an embarrassing typo in an Australian cookbook, Pasta Bible, which contains a recipe for spelt tagliatelle with sardines and prosciutto that calls for freshly ground black people as supposed to black pepper. I thought it was silly. I didn't pay that much attention to it. To be honest, it wasn't all that funny to me.

Surprisingly, it is still discussed and circulated in my Twitter feeds this fine Monday morning. And though I'm rolling my eyes and letting out a groan over what I consider to be undeserved attention given to a book which would have otherwise been ignored (I never trust any cookbook that is titled anything "bible"), I've started to imagine how people might be rushing to their local bookstores, trying to get their hands on an obscure cookbook containing this silly typo. It is, after all, part of history. The next edition of this book, if it's ever reprinted, will -- for darned sure -- not contain this mistake.

The book which could very well have been destined for dark inventory rooms of some used/overstocked book shops could now be selling at full publisher's price as a collectible item. Nice.

But it also got me thinking.

The Pasta Bible, eh? Hmmm ... Perhaps I'm being cynical or too imaginative. But I'm thinking of the so-called Wicked Bible (aka the Sinner's Bible or the Adulterous Bible) which leaves out the key word "not" from the 7th commandment, "thou shalt not commit adultery," thereby making adultery a divine endorsement as opposed to a prohibition.

According to Wikipedia (cited above), the publishers of the 1631 King James Bible were fined £300 and deprived of their printer's license. The majority of the Wicked Bible's copies were immediately canceled and burned, with only a few surviving copies left. These extant copies have since then become -- quite predictably -- priceless museum exhibits.

Isn't it funny, or interesting, that the cookbook in question, the one that calls for freshly ground black people, is named, "The Pasta Bible"?