I somewhat reluctantly picked up Gwyneth Paltrow’s new cookbook My Father’s Daughter (not your typical cookbook name…not jumping off the shelf for sure) from the library. I thought it might be plagued with privilege from an actress who has Steven Spielberg as a godfather. But I have to admit, I love it. Yes, her kitchen and her children (and she herself) are beautiful, but I am in love with her relationship with food. Fresh ingredients cooked in healthy ways. I tried one of the dishes out on my teenage children and even got an unprompted “good chicken Mom” from my son. The never ending battle known as “dinner” has me always looking for more to offer at the table. Gwyneth uses food to entertain, bond with friends and teach her children. This cookbook is centered on her family both past and present. An idea I embrace. Some of my favorite moments are sitting at the table with my family enjoying a meal and the casual exchange of conversation that accompanies culinary togetherness. She also reminds us that just preparing food can be about family. I think back when my son was home from law school at Thanksgiving — I learned a lot about his life from a session of peeling potatoes. My daughter studies while she bakes (or is it bakes while she studies?). Somehow thoughts of quizzing her from her flashcards comes to mind if the smell of baked chocolate is in the air. Taste, smell and the warmth of connection felt around the kitchen form mental snapshots like these that we carry with us. Gwyneth is trying to do the same for her children.
And for those of us runners who are always looking for miles from our food I must note that she offers some good healthy options here. She also works hard on her body so she can eat a plate of Paella or pancakes. Sound familiar?
And yes, I do get that we don’t all look like Gwyneth, but I think we can learn from this renaissance gal. I have to admit, I am a little jealous of her perfect life…but mostly just in awe.