By Gwyneth Paltrow
Published by Grand Central Life & Style
Copyright © 2011
In “My Father’s Daughter” actress and author Gwyneth Paltrow adds cook to her resume by sharing some of her families best loved recipes. Mingled in among these are reminiscences of her father and their shared love of food. When she is in the kitchen certain tastes and smells evoke his memory, and she shares that emotional connection that feeding one another and sharing meals can have which is very nice.
Also mingled within this book is her slight but present preaching about macrobiotics and organic eating. You see this choice reflected in her recipes’ ingredients. Her recipes look clean and fresh and for the most part tasty. To give it a fair shake I tried one of the recipes at random; the Penne Putanesca on page 127, which included the use of her Basic Tomato Sauce on page 30. I then invited a guinea pig over to help me make a decision on the outcome. I liked it, my son liked it, and my guest liked it. (My wife refused to try it because it contained Anchovies.) It was very good. However, it must be noted that as I expected I would have to substitute at least one ingredient because of her location, and thus access to premium food. In this instance it was the Niçoise Olives that I could not find at my local grocery store. I substituted a green Italian olive rather than a darker olive. The substitution did not seem to hurt the dish at all.
So as for my opinions of the cookbook: the recipes and photos look tasty, and easy substitutions can be made for items you can’t find. But given her recipes and her mild preaching about organic and humane eating one surmises that this book was written with rich people (like her) in mind who can afford to shop at Whole Foods Stores and other specialty markets all the time. Don’t get me wrong I think organic is great, but those of us who have a family to feed and make way less than $30,000 a year might find the task a bit daunting.
Long story short: love the cookbook, the recipe I tried was good, but I hate the rich and famous preaching (no matter how unobtrusively) to me about the best life style choices to make. So if you aren’t stuck to your notes as a cook and know how to make simple substitutions feel free to check this book out.