Mrs. Seinfeld's Cookbook Does Not Rip Off Lapine's, Judge Rules

Mrs. Seinfeld's Cookbook Does Not Rip Off Lapine's, Judge Rules

A judge has ruled that a cookbook written by Jerry Seinfeld's wife Jessica does not infringe the copyright of a cookbook written by one Missy Chase Lapine. Lapine had charged that Seinfeld's book, Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food, ripped off her book, The Sneaky Chef: Simple Strategies for Hiding Healthy Foods in Kids' Favorite Meals. U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain noted that the Seinfeld book was "bright and cheerful," while Lapine's was "dry" and "rather text-heavy."

Lapine is the former publisher of Eating Well magazine and serves on the Children's Advisory Council of Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of New York-Presbyterian. Seinfeld is a former public relations executive for Tommy Hilfiger and Golden Books, and the wife of Jerry Seinfeld...

The judge declined to rule, however, on Lapine's further charge that in an appearance on Letterman, Jerry Seinfeld defamed her, leaving Lapine free to pursue the charge if she still wants to argue that Seinfeld's boorish jokes at her expense -- e.g., that people with three names often turn out to be assassins -- constitute an actionable offense.

Lapine claims her daughter came home from school after the Letterman gig and asked her, "Mom, what is an assassin?" leaving Lapine "frightened and vulnerable." Lapine's lawyer says the libel charge is "very much alive."

An Amazon commenter who looked at the two books back when the case got rolling in 2007 found the recipes similar in both prescription and practice, and dishes prepared from Lapine's recipes preferable. Former New York Times food critic Mimi Sheraton found both books misguided, and counseled instead "coming up with recipes that don't force vegetables to masquerade as treats."

Oddly, if you look up "Deceptively Delicious" at Amazon, you get both Lapine's and Seinfeld's books.


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