“You know, it’s funny, I love her; [but] how anyone could ever say an $800 pair of shoes is a good deal is kind of perplexing to me, but maybe compared to the $2,200 ones it was a good deal.” That’s a recent quote from Mario Batali, who wrote the introduction to Gwyneth Paltrow's new cookbook "My Father's Daughter: Delicious, Easy Recipes Celebrating Family & Togetherness," to a New York Magazine reporter. Needless to say Gwyneth Paltrow has her share of critics. Sure, not everyone can afford a Le Creuset Dutch oven, or has a desire to replace their regular 2% milk with hemp milk, but I’d take reading about why one particular tool or one particular ingredient can possibly be better than what I’m currently using over some celebrity gabbing about how they love fast food and Diet Coke any day.
Even if many of the tools and ingredients suggested by Paltrow as "essential" are out of many people's price range, I’ve found her suggestions through her newsletter, GOOP, and her new cookbook enlightening and I’ve kept many in mind when grocery shopping. I’m clearly not the only Paltrow fan; the book, which was just released, is selling extremely well on Amazon.com and all 15 people who reviewed it gave it five stars (though I’d take those reviews with a grain of salt – if the gorgeous images in the book are any indication, there’s a big budget surrounding “My Father’s Daughter” and I’m sure that includes marketing).
Eater recently rounded-up some memorable quotes from the cookbook, and while it’s true that Paltrow does name drop, I didn't find it to be in an obnoxious way. Further, any lines like “we've got a wood-burning pizza oven in the garden—a luxury, I know, but it's one of the best investments I've ever made,” didn’t strike me as pretentious, but rather as honest – this is a woman who has worked hard, has the means to do so, and loves cooking, so why shouldn’t she splurge on a wood-burning pizza oven?
The book itself is filled with beautiful images that could motivate even those averse to cooking, like myself, to get in the kitchen. Moreover, contrary to what some might think, the recipes aren’t exclusively focused on healthful cooking. For example, she offers both non-fried and fried french fries recipes, has multiple mac & cheese recipes, and hearty burger recipes. The book may not offer anything earth-shattering, but I appreciate that a number of her recipes are versatile enough to make them as healthy – or not – as you wish and many are vegan, vegetarian, and child-friendly.
I’m not someone who cooks regularly and was interested in this book mostly because I’m a fan of Paltrow and interested in learning about ways I can improve my eating habits, and think this book delivered in that regard. After pouring through the book, however, what I was most impressed with was how personal it is. Paltrow clearly has a passion for food (each recipe has a short introduction by the actress), and there are enough “easy” recipes to motivate even those in a time-crunch to get in the kitchen.