Judge Throws Out Jessica Seinfeld Plagiarism Case


A judge has ruled that Jessica Seinfeld’s book, Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food, did not plagiarize Missy Chase Lapine’s book The Sneaky Chef: Simple Strategies for Hiding Healthy Foods in Kids’ Favorite Meals. According to the New York Times:

Although the judge found some similarities in the two books, she said that “no reasonable fact finder could conclude” that they “have the same aesthetic appeal.” “Lapine’s cookbook is a dry, rather text-heavy work,” Judge Laura Taylor Swain of Federal District Court wrote in her review, while Ms. Seinfeld’s “cookbook has a completely different feel and appears to be directed to a different audience.”

I haven’t been following this case closely so I was surprised to find out that Lapine is on the faculty of The New School in New York and is the former publisher of Eating Well magazine. I know Jerry Seinfeld dismissed her as a “nutjob,” but she actually has a very credible background. Celebitchy.com has a really great breakdown of the similarities between the two books:

Most recipes had the exact basic same ingredients, like “mashed potatoes with hidden cauliflower, grilled cheese with secret sweet potatoes, green eggs made with pureed baby spinach, carrot-laced tacos” and even “avocado in chocolate pudding.” There’s even more cited in Lapine’s legal filing, there’s peanut butter and jelly muffins with carrots, meat sauce with sweet potato, chicken tenders with sweet potato and chocolate chip cookies with white beans.

Avocado in chocolate pudding? It seems like too much of a coincidence that both authors would think to do that. I’m actually pretty shocked that the judge dismissed this case. There’s a lot more over on Celebitchy, including similarities between the two covers and a comment from Lapine on this situation. You can also read the lawsuit over at The Smoking Gun. It’s very interesting stuff.

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