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Of food, technology, movies, music, and travel—or whatever else strikes my fancy

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Cooking with Goop

Gwyneth Paltrow is a polarizing figure, I suppose, and people seem surprised when I credit her with a recipe I’ve made (that they’ve enjoyed).

I’ve got to admit—and I think I’ve mentioned this before—that I wouldn’t have guessed that I would find good use for a Gwyneth Paltrow cookbook. I seem to remember her being some kind of vegan, raw-food diet adherent, and that’s just no fun. And though I don’t have hate her as some seem to, I’m also not a huge fan, nor a subscriber to Goop, her “weekly lifestyle journal”, which does sound a bit much, to me.

So it’s thanks to Anna and Kristina on the sorely missed (at least by me) Shopping Bags that I acquired My father’s daughter: Delicious, easy recipes celebrating family togetherness. After a good test, A & K rated her book a Buy. This Christmas, I got it as a present. I have now owned it long enough to have tried a number of the recipes.

And I have to say, they’ve pretty much all been winners. Anna and Kristina did warn me away from some, like the laborious duck ragout that was perhaps not worth the effort. But the hot salad nicoise, and the fish tacos, and chopped salad, and the spaghetti limone parmeggiano, have all been delicious. And easy.

Currently, the smell of her Fudgy chocolate brownies (“as healthy as brownies can get, with no flavor sacrifice”) is wafting deliciously through the house. If they taste as they smell, that will be another success.

There is an emphasis on more healthy cooking, which I prefer anyway, but it’s not extreme. Some vegan recipes are included, but also plenty with dairy, meat, and fish. She does suggest some unusual ingredients, like vegenaise, brown rice syrup, and spelt flour, but I have managed to find most everything at my regular grocery. I’m not completely convinced the stuff is so much healthier than regular ingredients (and she does provide a table of “normal” stuff you can substitute), but it’s good. Vegenaise, if anything, is better than mayonnaise. Brown rice syrup has a very pleasant sweet flavor.

(The one item she calls for a lot that I can’t seem to get my hands on is oil-packed anchovies, but I’ve using olive oil packed tuna instead for that, with a bit of added salt, and that’s turned out fine.)

Another nice detail is that each recipe has a clear and reasonably accurate indication of how long each recipe will take, broken down into active and total time. And I admit I find the whole “family” context of the book nice, even though I most often cook for two.