What does it take to be a mega star these days? An endless bank account that allows you to party all night eventually landing you in the slammer? A huge entourage creating a human bubble protecting you from the outside fans? Or how about a juicy scandal promoting a body part through social media? Not exactly, thank goodness.
For Gwyneth Paltrow, it’s nothing of the sort. Her career is soaring on so many levels. The Oscar-winning actress is branching out to reach fans through food. Her food, to be exact. She is the founder of GOOP.com and co-authored the book Spain…A Culinary Road Trip with Chef Mario Batali. And now, the mother of two released her first cookbook, My Father’s Daughter. Her tagline, “delicious easy recipes celebrating family and togetherness” is an homage to her upbringing. She developed a passion for food while cooking with her father, Bruce Paltrow, which also created an undeniable bond between the two until his death in 2002. Thus, the book includes 150 recipes from her childhood along with some Spanish favorites she learned from her “Spanish Mama” and various other places and friends she visited throughout the years.
I read through the book to see if this star could really cut it in the kitchen. For starters, My Father’s Daughter is laid out beautifully from the recipe format to the photography. It’s crisp, precise and an easy-to-follow cookbook. Paltrow uses icons to help the reader decipher at quick glance what recipes will work for your dinner based on time or quantity of guests, plus options on certain recipes to make it kid-friendly or vegan. She also devotes an entire chapter to “the well-stocked pantry” where she goes through pages of what she considers to be essentials for your kitchen. I read through her list and feel confident we would be fast friends.
You know she has a good culinary background when she is traipsing around the world with one of the best chefs around, Mario Batali. Plus, he was kind enough to write a glowing foreword for her book. After reading his commentary, it’s clear that their relationship is deeply rooted in the common bond of the family meal. Paltrow’s own introduction is moving and the book seems to be somewhat cathartic after losing the love of her life, her father. Reading about their last meal together in Italy brought tears to my eyes. She states that she is not a professional cook, rather “an amateur and lover of all things culinary.” The book includes family photos and stories as related to the recipes and the Paltrow family meals. It’s a lovely insight into a woman who respects the food industry and appreciates true technique while acknowledging her capabilities. It’s a book that any refined home cook can truly relate to with recipes that won’t be too tricky. The compilation is really more of an inspiration or guide to the family meal if you consider yourself more advanced. I really took pleasure in the fact that Paltrow doesn’t eat red meat yet included an old family recipe for brisket. She also pays tribute to her time in Spain with her “Spanish family” with a few recipes she learned while studying abroad. Again, the book is easy to get wrapped up in – the stories not just the food. As an avid home cook and a fan of Gwyneth Paltrow, My Father’s Daughter is a great read, front to back.
A few recipes to try from My Father’s Daughter:
To read more about why Kiki Luthringshausen is so fabulously Cheeky, please click here. Email Kiki@beautyandherfeast.com. Visit her food blog at www.beautyandherfeast.com or view her cooking “web” show featuring some of the best chefs on YouTube.
She is fun, fabulous and fierce. She is chic, intelligent and in-the-know. But most of all, the Cheeky chick is the kind of woman who embraces, admires, respects, smiles at and opens her heart to other fabulous chicks. Now THAT'S Cheeky, darling!