Gwyneth Paltrow Cookbooks: Love ‘Em or Hate ‘Em?

[Photo credit Raphael Brion]

The knives are out for Gwyneth Paltrow and her new cookbook. Eater, of course, had fun pulling out the most ridiculous lines of text (“Yes, eggplant is a nightshade, so this isn’t a recipe for times when you’re on an elimination diet”); but I was surprised today to see this scathing post on Mark Bittman’s blog. Surprised because Bittman co-starred on a TV show with Gwyneth, along with Mario Batali and Spanish actress Claudia Bassols. Bittman didn’t write the post (it’s by Jennifer Mascia) but it’s under his masthead. Mascia says, “At best [the book] makes it seem like healthy eating is strictly for the wealthy; at worst, it’s quack science for attempting to export Paltrow’s wacky elimination diet (no bell peppers, eggplant or corn? Huh?) to a populace that’s improperly nourished and financially struggling.” What do you all think? Are you fans of Paltrow’s cookbooks? Or does she make you foam at the mouth the way Hathahaters do around Anne Hathaway? And do you think Anne Hathaway will write a cookbook? If she does, will you hate it too?

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31 comments

  1. Eh. I haven’t seen any of them, but I do find her writing a bit annoying. I’d be more than willing to ignore that if the recipes are decent.

  2. She’s an actress. She plays make-believe for a living. Why should anyone expect her cookbooks to be any less make-believe than one written by that other segment of society that plays make-believe for a living (i.e. 5 year olds) ???

  3. Hello! I own both of her cookbooks and as I’m into healthy eating, I really like them. Her recipes work, she doesn’t call for hard to find ingredients and nothing is time consuming or difficult to make. Most importantly, all the recipes I’ve made from both her books taste good. BUT, and this is only with regards to her latest book, I think her elimination diet is just kind of too wacky for me. No amount of indoctrination can make me give up eating and feeding my kids regular things like good sourdough bread, pasta, homemade baked treats, tomatoes, potatoes, milk, yogurt, you name it.

  4. eggplant is a common irritant for people with IBS, and a common food to be tested through elimination diets. you stop eating all but the most benign foods until your symptoms disappear, then add food back in one at a time until you figure out what bugs you. pretty sound logic.

  5. I certainly appreciate the criticism on the faux-populism aspect, as I think the financial constraints of the average family are something that we who are obsessed with food often ignore (to our detriment). But I wonder whether other cookbook authors are held to this same standard? I think you’d likely find that any restaurant cookbook is going to require ingredients that are well outside the budget of the average family too, but nobody seems to think that is worthy of derision.

  6. She is number one on my “people I passionately dislike” list. The only time I’ve ever liked her was her performance in ‘Country Strong’.

  7. While I think it’s perfectly appropriate for people who have allergies and illnesses, etc, that mean they can’t eat certain foods, I’m really REALLY leery of anything that uses non-peer reviewed science to insist a thing is good/bad for me. I think she’s making a ton of money on a bunch of fad diet nonsense that isn’t borne out in scientific literature. (I mean, of course if you’re lactose intolerant and can’t eat gluten, this would be helpful, but otherwise, why would anyone VOLUNTARILY GIVE UP CHEESE???)

  8. I bet the recipes are great, but its her personality that kills it for me. I miss the Gwyneth when she was young, dated Brad Pitt and stayed quiet.

  9. I really enjoy Paltrow’s “My Father’s Daughter,” especially her recipe for ginger chicken stir-fry! What I love most is that none of her anecdotes about her food obsession are pretentious, and her love for food and family really shine through. I will definitely be buying her new book soon :)

  10. As noted in another comment, eggplant can be associated with IBS, so it’s no wonder that a woman who spends a considerable amount of time with her head up her ass would want to eliminate them from her diet. I really like her.

  11. Sounds like she went off the deep end with this third cookbook – I’ve read a few places that it would cost $300 a day to eat out of this one!

  12. Some books are not for learning, or researching . Some books are strictly for the coffee table book with pictures and interesting ideas and information. I like Ms.Paltrow. However, I am guessing the book is coffee table book !

  13. it is hard not to throw up in your mouth when you read the link above with lines from the cookbook taken out of context. But I can’t lie, I like a little peek into the life of a celebrity. I must follow 10+ cooking blogs about how normal, no-name people eat, and I write one. She just gets to put hers into a pretty book, which we can choose to buy, or not. On occasion, I have wondered if people like Gweneth Paltrow even get to eat. I guess she does, but it certainly isn’t what many of us would consider “normal” eating. It must stink to have all of those food allergies.

  14. I think it’s born out of concern for her health and the health of her family. It’s certainly not for everyone, but I think the haters are a little too mouthy and judge mental. If you don’t agree with it, don’t buy it, plain and simple. Don’t crucify her for having an opinion on her and her families chosen way of eating.

  15. I flipped through her book the other day & landed on some recipe for a grilled cheese with a kind of tapenade spread. She said something about how it’s best with expensive green olives but if you like the tasteless ones off the shelf, well, a little bit of kitsch is good for everyone once in a while. Uh, thanks for the judging comments and we’re done, Gwyneth!!

    (You’ve a fabulous blog, by the way! First time commenter but I don’t think this will be the last. :) )

  16. I have tried a few of her recipes and found that I really like them. Everyone has their own convictions about things and she just has strong opinions about food. I’d still be interested in checking out her latest cookbook though I won’t be giving up dairy, gluten or sugar anytime soon.

  17. Opera snobs, music snobs, literature snobs, food snobs. Snobs are just insecure people who feel they need to deride others to feel important. Either a book or a work of art has something to offer you personally, or it doesn’t. I once tried a GP recipe, and it was delicious. I wasn’t aware there was an agenda behind it, and it really doesn’t matter. The Hathahaters hate Anne Hathaway because she’s beautiful, thin, gifted and successful. They will find anything to fault her for because what they really hate is how they feel about themselves.

    There’s no really you cannot passionately enjoy life, music, art, books and food. Or you can just die hating. That’s my advice.

  18. Opera snobs, music snobs, literature
    snobs, food snobs. Snobs are just insecure people who feel they need to
    deride others to feel important. Either a book or a work of art has
    something to offer you personally, or it doesn’t. I once tried a GP
    recipe, and it was delicious. I wasn’t aware there was an agenda behind
    it, and it really doesn’t matter. The Hathahaters hate Anne Hathaway
    because she’s beautiful, thin, gifted and successful. They will find
    anything to fault her for because what they really hate is how they feel
    about themselves.

    There’s no real reason you cannot passionately enjoy life, music, art, books and food. Or you can just die hating. That’s my advice.

  19. I detest Gwyneth Paltrow because IMO she always comes across like an arrogant snob. It doesn’t sound like this cookbook is going to change my opinion of her.

  20. So weird the reaction to GP. I’m sure her eyes roll very far into the back of her head trying to figure out all the animosity. I’ve looked at her cookbooks and tried many of the recipes. They’ve been good to excellent. She’s a great actress and raising a family. I get the sense that she truly cares about health and nutrition. She certainly doesn’t need the money from cookbook sales….I say get real and yes, live and let live. Let go of the anger people. I’ve never posted before and I think it’s just plain tacky to even start the topic to begin with to provoke such ridiculous comments from people who act like they actually know this person. I’m off this blog. This is supposed to be a cooking blog no? Not a forum to have a bitch session about an actress.

  21. The problem is in the presentation. She comes across as preachy and arrogant in a way that Ina Garten doesn’t, even if she too lives in the hamptons and calls for good ingredients. Not sure exactly what it is, but it’s a reality. The fact that she puts her kids on this strict diet doesn’t own her any points either. Health is one thing. Making kids feel deprived is another.

  22. But science requires huge financing to initiate testing and publishing. The leading edge of anything, including health knowledge, is always going to be way ahead of science or any other conventional authority. What’s that saying?…”First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

    Anyway, health is so individual – that’s why there is so much seemingly contradictory info out there – you’ve got to listen to your own body to know what it wants and does best on. I would never have given up cheese and dairy if it didn’t give me painfully severe sinus congestion. But c’est la vie.

  23. I never knew so many people had a problem with her! She’s always come across to me as so deeply content and truly happy that I half-wondered if she lived on tranquilizers, but I think the truth is that she’s just made a mind-blowingly good marriage, happens to be an exceptional actress with a finely honed career, and feels really fulfilled as a mother. Anyway, who wouldn’t feel blessed with a ring the size of a house on your finger? She’s really fortunate. I hope her life is truly great as it appears because I’d like to know it’s possible! I’m happy for her.

  24. Scathing reviews are rarely necessary. The book will get it’s due by whether people buy it or not. Regardless of her tone, contact with the audience she hopes to reach, etc., I have a hard time “hating” on a fellow human – and another mom – who seems to want to reach out and share something that helped her and her family.

  25. I have looked at her book and found some very delicious looking recipes. She has a knack for combining unusual things in such a way I wonder why some one else didn’t think of it first. Her recipes use simple ingredients to create elegant entrees that would be an asset to any household. I would not use her book exclusively, who really does that anyway? I would buy this book because of the number of good recipes that I would like to make. I, too read a number of food blogs and have quite a few cookbooks, but think this one would be a welcome addition to my collection. The rest of her personality, lifestyle, etc is not an issue or even relevant to me.

  26. There is so little time in our life , gweneth paltrow fore sure don’t deserve a moment of that . It is like dancing with the stars … A buch of untrained enept people try something what they not good of … Pathetic .
    G.P and Rachel Ray should hand the hand walk far away from anything to do with cooking … Give me a break all ready!

  27. I’m so glad you posted this Adam. I’m not ashamed to admit that I own “My Father’s Daughter,” but her new book does not fit on my bookshelf. I’ve always liked Paltrow as an actress, but the “sunshines and roses” nature of her prose–while being simultaneously “starved,” as in, you can feel and read her own hunger–really gets to me. I tried watching Spain, On the Road Again, but had to turn it off after a couple of episodes where Paltrow had a *brief* appearance at best, and, when she did, she was terribly deprecating to how food was prepared or in what quantities it was eaten. In one episode (#2 or 3, I think), she was having breakfast with the crew you mention and suggested they “walk 4 miles” to their next destination so they could burn off a little cheese and bread. It’s also unfortunate because she lacks a proper food vocabulary, so part of what made the show bad (and this is my own theory) is the lack of outtakes. I truly believe she was so seldom “on the road,” they were forced to use almost all of her soundbites to make it work. Which…well…causes some problems.

    BUT, I will admit this: I like “My Father’s Daughter.” But, when I look at the recipes I’ve made, they’re all her father’s…not hers.

  28. Don’t believe everything you read — that’s one “journalist” making the estimate and she assumed you had nothing in your kitchen to start with and that you’d use the full quantity of the item (e.g., a tablespoon of olive oil costs a liter of olive oil because you have none a priori.)

  29. Don’t believe everything you read — that’s one “journalist” making the estimate and she assumed you had nothing in your kitchen to start with and that you’d use the full quantity of the item (e.g., a tablespoon of olive oil costs a liter of olive oil because you have none a priori.)

  30. The way I see this is that Gwyneth is being kind enough to share the recipes that she cooks for herself, her family and her friends. I don’t own them yet, but after previewing them on Amazon, I’ve decided to buy them.

  31. The way I see this is that Gwyneth is being kind enough to share the recipes that she cooks for herself, her family and her friends. I don’t own them yet, but after previewing them on Amazon, I’ve decided to buy them.

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