Food columnists say they assume that readers will understand their intent, as readers, too, are well-versed in the ways of cooking. Chef and cookbook author Israel Aharoni, at least as experienced as Russo, once offered a simple recipe for falafel in his newspaper column. "A few days later I met someone in the street who told me he had not managed to prepare the falafel. Every time he threw the balls into the cooking oil, they fell apart.What is in my head rarely makes it all the way to the page. What one reads on the page seldom makes it fully into the reader's thought without an assortment of assumptions, an admixture of experience -- some at variorum -- and a plethora of prejudices more or less flavoring the mix.
"I went over the recipe with him, step by step, and waited to hear where he'd taken a shortcut. But he followed instructions to the letter - shaping the balls, making sure the oil was boiling and the mixture was prepared exactly according to the instructions.
"At the end he said to me, 'Perhaps the chick peas from the can weren't fresh.' 'You used canned beans?' I said. 'You didn't say not to,' he said. And then I learned that what seems obvious to me is not obvious to everyone."
It's a wonder we manage a simple "G'day".