Not deadly, just gross

Online today we find this story out of Sweden, in which a typo in a cake recipe that was printed in a magazine sent a few people to the hospital.

“There was a mistake in a recipe for apple cake. Instead of calling for two pinches of nutmeg it said 20 nutmeg nuts were needed,” Matmagasinet’s chief editor Ulla Cocke told AFP.

“We know that four adults ate one cake made from this recipe, and they didn’t feel well,” she said, adding that “this is obviously very regrettable.”


Whole nutmeg is kind of like a whole olive, as far as size. Most recipes call for a fraction of a teaspoon of the bitter, potent spice, grated against something like you would use to remove the rind from a lemon or sand wood: a metal appliance. Adding 20 nuts to the cake in question probably required use of a dopey looking Christmas nutcracker or a small mallet to break them up. I feel like I shouldn’t need hardware to bake when other people can do it in high heels. (I could do that, but I choose not to.)

The four people had experienced symptoms of poisoning, including dizziness and headaches, but were now feeling better, she said.

The magazine’s first act was to notify 50,000 subscribers of the error, and also place a leaflet inside store copies telling newsstand buyers of the error.

I would have thought that 1) common sense or at least 2) the price of nutmeg would have kept people away. The magazine editor agreed with me:

“At first we thought this would be enough, because we didn’t really think anyone would bake or eat this cake, since so much nutmeg would give it a horrible, bitter taste, and because it is simply not that easy to get hold of that much nutmeg,” Cocke said…”We publish 1,200 recipes each year, and of course there have been times when they’ve had a bit too much butter or too little flour, but we have never experienced anything like this before.”

In the end, the magazine had to protect the Swedes from themselves and recall all the magazines.


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I'm a suburban amateur chef and professional writer who hates grocery shopping. Go figure.

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