Proofreading and Perception

I’d like to have a chat with you, my good reader (I know there’s one of you out there), about perception and how it relates to proofreading. More precisely, I want to talk about how it relates to the lack of proofreading. I even have a concrete example. Shall we?

This restaurant in Rockford IL is offering a “Final Feast” on the supposed last night of our lives, December 20, 2012. For $180 per person one can enjoy a nine-part dinner (an amuse bouche, courses one through three, an intermezzo, courses four and five, a cheese course, and dessert, each with wine pairings) including foie gras, caviar, Dungeness crab, Dover sole, filet mignon, and a chocolate cake adorned with edible 24k gold leaf. Pretty classy, right? Really upper crust, right?

Can someone please explain to me why no one proofread the menu? For that matter, no one proofread the webpage it’s on, either. Nor did anyone proofread their lunch menu, where one can get salad with “musclen,” or “mesclin,” or the actual “mesclun” blend. Yes. All three versions on one page, like some kind of bonus package. But I digress.

For a feast costing $180 a head, featuring such a five-star lineup of dishes and wines, I expect the printed menu (either online or on paper) to be error-free. I expect a high standard for the food AND for the written word in such an establishment. This ain’t EAT AT JOE’S with the one burned-out letter in the vintage neon sign. It’s a place run by an award-winning chef with a stellar reputation. Pity the printing on his menus didn’t receive the same level of attention as his dishes do. There is simply no excuse for “pared” instead of “paired,” or for “chives organic scrambled egg” (I’m pretty sure there should be a comma after “chives,” don’t you think?), or for “Tequilla.” And that’s only in the menu proper. There are also the errors in the text at the top of the web page, where we see that the staff is “exited to show off their . . . talent” and that the wines and liquor choices “will be announce closer to the dinner.”

Honestly, there is no excuse for this kind of sloppiness. As much as I despise using software to do an editor’s or proofreader’s job, in this case I don’t mind saying I think it would have helped. When I first heard about this “Final Feast” I thought it sounded like something I would actually attend, had I the wherewithal to do so. My perception changed when I saw how poorly the menu had been prepared. Perhaps one might say “He’s a chef, not an editor.” True enough, but–he should care as much about the printed description of his dishes as he does about the dishes themselves. As it is, I find I don’t really care that I can’t possibly afford to attend this “Final Feast.” As sloppy as the menu is, part of  me wonders just how perfect the foods will really be.

Perception. It’s powerful stuff.

From soup to nuts (with a proofreader)

A dear friend of mine just purchased a franchise from Zoup! (They use the exclamation point the same way our blog does, as part of the name.) I jokingly commented to him to please tell me their menus will be professionally edited and proofread–and then, of course, I went to the franchise’s site to see a menu for myself. My friend won’t have any control over what’s printed on his restaurant’s menu, sorry to say.

It’s nowhere near the eyesore provided by Alice Cooperstown, but it’s not perfect, either.

The first question I have is: If the name of the place is Zoup!, why isn’t “soup” spelled that way as the menu category? It’s probably some copyright/licensing issue, but it really looks odd to me. I expected to see the “cute” spelling carried through. They’ve replaced the “s” on “greens,” and the “es” on “sandwiches,” so why not the “s” on “soup”?

I won’t pick the whole thing apart, but I’ll speak to it in generality. Numerous hyphens are missing from compound adjectives (like “tomato-based” or “low-fat”). Nouns and adjectives are randomly capitalized (look at the kinds of breads, and the types of salad dressings). Then there are the other inconsistencies: Are the “Raspberry Balsamic Vinaigrette” and the “Raspberry Vinaigrette dressing” the same, or different? If they’re the same, they should be worded the same. Otherwise picky editors like me ask picky questions like this one. Parentheses are also apparently random. Some entries use the format “(prepared this way on that kind of bread)” and others use “prepared this way on that kind of bread.” (Add the random capitalization to that and you have a right mess.)

What’s with that “.” before “cobb” (sic)? If it’s supposed to be a joke of some kind, I don’t get it.

These are the things that keep this copy editor/proofreader from falling asleep easily. Menus are in need of correction somewhere in the world!

Will this keep me from visiting my friend’s restaurant? Not on your life. I won’t even take my red marker with me. (He’s been a friend too long for me to antagonize him that way–and as a former member of the legal profession, he’d find a way to get back at me. I’m kidding. He wouldn’t do that. At least I don’t think he would.)



School’s Out

I don’t know how many of you know this, but Alice Cooper (yes, that Alice Cooper) and Randy Johnson are co-owners of a sports/rock eatery in Phoenix, AZ, called–what else–Alice Cooperstown.

Now, I really like Alice Cooper. I thoroughly enjoy his syndicated radio show. And I knew who Randy Johnson was before I found out about this joint. So, this isn’t some bizarre personal vendetta. It’s simply that the menu for their eatery is horrific in its use of punctuation (or nonuse, as the case may be). I won’t even go into the cases where the incorrect usage results in misspellings to boot. I’ll let you good people see for yourselves.

Click here to visit the homepage, from where it’s only another click to the menus.

I especially want to point out the children’s menu, or “Kid’s Menu” as it says. Apparently only one kid gets to eat. However, the three main sections aren’t even possessive: “Kid Drinks,” “Kid Foods,” and “Kid Dessert.” Why? Got me. I’d have used the possessive, or if I was trying to be clever (or something) I’d have said “Kid Menu” so it all matched. Also, there’s the misplaced apostrophe attempting to turn “soda” into a plural.

At least they got the “whipped cream” right. If it said “whip cream” I might have to hurt someone.

I should also warn you about the (in my opinion) excessive use of Exocet. Consider this a public service announcement. A little Exocet goes a long, long way, and there’s a LOT of it on these menus. Protect yourselves.