When The Nancy Drew Cookbook appeared in its fi rst printing in 1973, Harriet Stratemeyer Adams, self-styled “Carolyn Keene” and head of the Stratemeyer Syndicate that produced the series, discovered that the recipe for “Italian Salsa di Pomodoro (Tomato Sauce)” lacked the tomatoes (138).1 Copies were quickly recalled and the second printing corrected the error. But Adams was still severely disappointed on another level, as she complained to her publisher:
I had planned to give copies to many friends, but am too ashamed of the fi rst edition to do so. . . . [With the exception of the professional editing] From every other angle the book is a disaster and unworthy of being a companion to the NANCY DREW series. The fault rests with the Art Department [at Grosset and Dunlap] and the layout person. From the beginning I was disappointed with the picture situation. I did not want sticks of butter or disproportionate milk cartons but sketches with some originality and cute quips, some of which we supplied but they were brushed off. (Letter from Adams to Harold Roth, 28 March 1973, Box 39, Stratemeyer Syndicate Records, New York Public Library)2
She subsequently repeated her complaints to the Art Department itself: “Having been promised . . . that the pictures would be original and whimsical . . . , it was an added shock to see the cook book with mundane fl our sifters and egg boxes which any third grader could have drawn” (Letter from Adams to Kay Ward, 25 April 1973, Box 41, SSR-NYPL). Clearly she wanted “her” heroine to be paid the domestic compliment of an artistic kitchen.