April 11, 2011 -- You've gotta love Gwyneth Paltrow.
This week, Paltrow -- a mother of two, by the way -- releases her first cookbook, "My Father's Daughter: Delicious, Easy Recipes Celebrating Family & Togetherness." In it, she waxes poetic about preparing all-organic dinner parties and noshing with her famous foodie friends. (Among the tablemates she thanks in the book's dedication: the Spielbergs and the Hill-McGraws, aka, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw. And her buddy Mario Batali wrote the forward.)
If Rachael Ray championed the 30-minute meal, Paltrow touts the benefits of languid lunches in the English countryside. Her must-have pantry items include bragg liquid aminos, King Arthur bread flour, bomba rice and Vegenaise (more on that later). Her children stuff themselves with vegetables and have never heard of soda. She's removed from reality, and it's delightful.
So, among the recipes for such dishes as blueberry pavlova and whole wheat pasta with purple sprouting broccoli -- which admittedly look very tasty -- there's a lot of unintentional humor. Below, 15 choice lines from Paltrow's cookbook.
On her preference for healthy ingredients: "Could I use some butter and cheese and eggs in my cooking without going down some kind of hippie shame spiral? Yes. Of course I could."
On hosting a successful dinner: "You just need some good ingredients and a few simple recipes, maybe a couple of jokes or a 'topic to dissect' at the table, the way they do at Nora Ephron's house."
On making her own root beer: "The day we were finding the formula, my daughter, who was four years old at the time, walked into the kitchen and asked me what I was drinking. 'Soda,' I replied. She looked at me with her big blue eyes. 'What's that?' she responded."
On Vegenaise: "My most often-used and beloved ingredient. It can be found at most grocery stores and all health food stores — unfortunately not yet in London. Regular mayo is fine and works, but Vegenaise is a healthier alternative."
On one of her kids' favorite dishes: "Oh, how my heart leaps when I see them munching down kale with brown rice."
On what turned her off factory-farmed meat: "When I was twenty-one, a friend gave me a book called 'Diet for a New America' by John Robbins, which exposed the brutal practices of American factory farms. That, coupled with a lecture from Leonardo DiCaprio (when he was 19 and I was 21) about how such animals are kept and processed, made me lose my desire for factory farm pork and beef right there.
On her pizza oven: "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."
On bacon: "D'Artagnan duck bacon is out of this world."
On bacon, again: "I'm not sure how healthy bacon is in general, but I know it's incredibly delicious."
On being macrobiotic: "During the strict macrobiotic chapter of my life, I ate miso soup every day for breakfast and sometimes with dinner as well."
On her kids' love for broccoli: "Luckily, my children love broccoli, and although we sometimes enter into UN-like negotiations about how many 'trees' they need to eat before they can partake of ice cream, it is a vegetable that they tend to embrace."
On using SpongeBob SquarePants as inspiration: "One day my 'SpongeBob SquarePants' watching son asked me what a krabby pattie was. I gathered that it was a sort of crab cake burger and so I endeavored to make one."
On breakfast: "Food preferences are easy to contend with -- set out a large bowl of granola and have all different fixins on the side -- berries, flax meal, yogurt, cow's milk, soy milk, hemp milk."
On her favorite savory breakfast: "I first had a version of this at a Japanese monastery during a silent retreat -- don't ask, it's a long story."
On zucchini: "When I pass a flowering zucchini plant in a garden, my heart skips a beat."