gwyneth-paltrow-its-all-good-cookbook[xrr rating=3.0/5]I am resolved to say, this is not a review about Gwyneth Paltrow. I can’t stand the woman with her GOOP-y pretention and self-obsession. I want to give a fair review of a cookbook, her second release, which has been commercially successful since its release last year.

But it’s difficult to forget that this is a cookbook about Paltrow, mostly because her photo appears every couple of pages, along with the story behind her prescribed restricted diet—she served a luncheon on her patio, got a migraine and thought she was going to die (spoiler alert: she’s fine, thanks).

Before we get to the food, there is a bunch of preamble over the gluten, dairy, and random “bad” produce free diet from Paltrow, her doctor and her collaborator (cough, ghostwriter, cough). Curiously, Dr. Habib Sadeghi from the “Be Hive of Healing Center” in Los Angeles laments our over-complication of food from its roots as simple sustenance and spiritual/communal joy. “There are no bad ingredients in the recipe of life. Everything adds flavor to the final product and helps us absorb what I call psychospiritual nutrition. In food and life, it’s all good.”

But it’s not all good. The not goodness list includes:
• Coffee
• Alcohol
• Dairy
• Eggs
• Sugar
• Shellfish
• Deepwater fish
• Potatoes
• Tomatoes
• Bell pepper
• Eggplant
• Corn
• Wheat
• Meat
• Soy
• Nothing processed at all

Okay! Now that we’ve knocked everything that makes up 99% of my meals out of the fridge, what’s left? The pantry musts section mentions Vegenaise, “good quality” maple syrup, “good quality” Dijon mustard, pickles and kimchi, raw coconut water, miso paste, almond milk, Manuka honey (from the honeybees of New Zealand) and a Vitamix blender—“when we say ‘powerful blender,’ this is what we’re referring to.” The basest model Vitamix I could find online was in the $375 range, but I digress. We don’t need another bourgeois argument against Paltrow and her lifestyle, so I’ll just deposit my paycheck directly into Whole Foods and move on.

Honestly, there are some really decent recipes in here. The Quinoa Granola with Olive Oil and Maple Syrup recipe is my new favorite, and doesn’t require a ton of expensive ingredients to make. I skipped the goat’s milk yogurt she suggests, but the maple syrup and dried fruits were fabulous. I did have to work to find quinoa flakes (online from some specialty grocer on Amazon), but the cost wasn’t inhibitive. Just a bit labor intensive and not exactly spur-of-the-moment. Much of this diet seems to be a full-time planning job. I wonder if anyone is hiring for a full-time Paltrow diet planner. According to Tucson Craigslist, no.

A few pages later, she randomly appears wrapped in a blanket, staring out into the ether. I guess that’s how I should be enjoying my oatmeal, versus on my desk in between getting new projects shoved in my face by my supervisor and listening to 15 new voice messages.

The Mexican Chopped Salad with Mexican Green Goddess Dressing was simple and fresh, although I paired it with grilled chicken and didn’t use Vegenaise because it’s on my list of the most disgusting abominations ever made. The Tandoori Turkey Meatballs were also lovely, although I again cheated and got the vile cow’s milk Fage yogurt instead of sheep or goat’s milk varieties.

In a total surprise to myself, I will be keeping this cookbook on my shelf, albeit with a loose interpretation of the ingredient lists. There are some fresh spice combinations and simple, easy summer-ish dishes that do look all good—I might just have to take a Sharpie to all of the Gwynnie self-portraiture.

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