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New I've been wondering . . .
. . once a guy has a "name" as s chef and/or cookbook writer, does he bother much with the recipes in his cookbooks, or just relegate that to staff?

Since I bought that big Oxtail a few days ago, I selected a recipe from a cookbook on Brazilian cuisine that looked interesting. OK, the results were very good - after I tweeked it here and there, like getting rid of the 1/2 cup of fat on top before boiling down the sauce. Well, many ethnic recipes are high in fat, because they were developed for workers in the fields, mines and mills, but not that much.

However - this is ridiculous. " . . reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 1 to 1-1/2 hours until the oxtail is fork tender". Sheesh! at 1 hour an oxtail will bend your fork, and at 1-1/2 hours it's not a lot different.

Around 3-1/4 to 3-3/4 hours is good, depending on whether you want to serve it "on the bone" or have the meat fall of the bone for further processing.

Sometimes I wonder who proof reads these things (other than a spell checker). Of course, with English cookbooks I know who does - nobody. The ingredient lists often include ingredients that aren't in the instructions, while the instruction tell what to do with ingredients that aren't on the list.

AND, the photos rarely represent anything that can be made following the recipe. Actually, I find the photographers know a lot more about cooking than the recipe writers, and I often refer to the photos for hints about how to make the recipe actually work.

Cookbooks by English person Fuchsia Dunlop and a few other ladies excepted. The hint seems to be who holds the copyright. In American cookbooks the writer always has the copyright, at least for the last 50 years or so. In English cookbooks, copyright almost always belongs to the publisher, and the contents tends to be rather sloppy. Ms. Dunlop and a few others own the copyright, American style, and the quality can be excellent.
New Interesting about the proof-reading.
I don't collect cookbooks like you do, but I have a few. Of course, they're the type you would find in any supermarket, so high volume, recognisable names, that sort of thing (Family Circle, Jamie Oliver, Donna Hay...). Never seen recipes with discrepancies between the ingredients listed and the ingredients in the instructions!

New Re: Interesting about the proof-reading.
These errors are not at all common in American cookbooks, or recipes otherwise published (except by bloggers on the Internet), and perhaps not in Australian. They do often appear in English cookbooks, along with other sloppiness, but even English cookbooks aren't as bad as Indian ones.
Expand Edited by Andrew Grygus July 27, 2017, 12:28:21 AM EDT
New My main complaint about English cookbooks remains . . .
. . that the English shy away from using weights and measures. Everything is by number of pieces with no hint as to what dimensions or weight.

My favorite is a recipe that called for "One Daikon". OK Lady, here in Los Angeles, Capital of the Pacific Rim, we have Daikons from one ounce to 10 pounds. Now exactly what size is a Daikon radish in London?

Again, if there are photos, I often depend on them to straighten things out. The photographers are good at making a presentable dish, not necessarily the recipe writers.

Another major problem is that English cookbooks of ethnic recipes almost never give any background information. They'll freely modify recipes without any hint of what they've done or why. They also name the authors but often give no information about their background. American cookbooks these days have a tremendous amount of background and carefully mention changes made. I still suspect that the problem is that the publishers, not the authors, hold the copyright, thus have total control.
New But - there is HOPE!
Since I am currently studying South American cuisines, I brought in a few new books, including three English, all from Annisse Press (Peru, Chili, Colombia / Venezuela).

They have good country background, good recipe background in the headings, few things are called by size (only really common things), there are weights and measures for most items (metric and sane) with explanations where English and American terminology are different. There is adequate background on the authors, though only on the dust jacket.

So far, I have found no conflict between the recipes and the photos or misaligned list / instruction errors. The main problem is there are so many large photos there are only 60 some recipes per book, but they seem very well chosen (all the authors are native to the countries).

Copyright is still with the publisher, but hopefully that will change too.
New I think I know why the Aussies ones are good at measurements.
It's because we are exposed to both the British and the American ones, plus we have a few oddities ourselves. So books have to spell them out.

New Yes, especially a Tablespoon that's different from . . .
. . the rest of the world, including New Zealand.
New Any chance that oxtail cooking was in a pressure cooker?
That would shorten the cooking time considerably. Even putting a lot of salt in the water would raise the boiling temperature and also reduce cooking time. Finally, could the oxtails referred to in the book were less massive or thinner or cut up in slices to make it easier for the heat to penetrate to the core?

But, the text should clearly mention things like that.

No recipe verifcation in that book must be the norm.

"There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."

-- Isaac Asimov
New Re: Any chance that oxtail cooking was in a pressure cooker?
"Large non-reactive saucepan" - doesn't sound like a pressure cooker to me.

Oxtail was specifically cut into 2 inch joints, as it always is.

The liquid included beef stock, a lot of tomatoes (peeled and chopped), a fair amount of onion and some herbs. After removing the finished oxtails this was to be boiled down to about 1/3, lightly thickened and used for sauce.

While oxtails aren't particularly fatty, with 4 pounds of them there was at least a half cup of fat floating on top - no mention of this. Of course, I strained the liquid out and pressed the vegetables to extract as much liquid as possible. I then defatted the liquid using my gravy separator.

I placed both liquid and solids in a saucepan and boiled it down to a little less than a third before thickening with 2 t Arrowroot - worked fine, but without defatting, the sauce would have been at least 1/3 fat - not good.

I will have my recipe up in a day or so with these corrections. It worked out very well my way.
New putting on Jaimacan accent, no you cookem in a duchie mon (cast Iron Dutch Oven)
"Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts" – Richard Feynman
     I've been wondering . . . - (Andrew Grygus) - (9)
         Interesting about the proof-reading. - (static) - (5)
             Re: Interesting about the proof-reading. - (Andrew Grygus)
             My main complaint about English cookbooks remains . . . - (Andrew Grygus) - (3)
                 But - there is HOPE! - (Andrew Grygus) - (2)
                     I think I know why the Aussies ones are good at measurements. - (static) - (1)
                         Yes, especially a Tablespoon that's different from . . . - (Andrew Grygus)
         Any chance that oxtail cooking was in a pressure cooker? - (a6l6e6x) - (2)
             Re: Any chance that oxtail cooking was in a pressure cooker? - (Andrew Grygus)
             putting on Jaimacan accent, no you cookem in a duchie mon (cast Iron Dutch Oven) -NT - (boxley)

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