Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Cookbook Review: Gwyneth Paltrow's "My Father's Daughter"

I read cookbooks like novels. 
I have for as long as I can remember.
One of my favorite books when I was a little girl was a cookbook.  I still have it.
And I still have each page nearly memorized from looking at it over and over again.

The next cookbook I remember loving was this one.
I have always loved breakfast best, as my long standing affection for that cookbook proves.
I think the first time I checked it out from the library I was in the 4th grade.
I'd like to own my own copy one day.

So it is no surprise that each time I come home from the library I have at least 3 cookbooks to read.
I don't buy many cookbooks. 
I usually check them out first and only if I really, really love them will I consider buying them.
I've accumulated quite a wish list of cookbooks I'd like on my shelves.
I'll share it with you one of these days.

On my last library trip I picked up this cookbook.
And I think I'd add it to the list.

Ever since I saw Gwyneth's new cookbook in Bon Appetite magazine, I'd been wanting to read it.
It did not disappoint.
Beyond the recipes themselves, there are a couple of things that make this cookbook very enjoyable.

First of all, it's personal.  
I enjoyed Gwyneth's reflections on her father, her children and her relationship with food.  I like to know the inspiration for her recipes, and how food is an integral part of her life.  
For me, it makes the recipes more real and approachable.
It makes me want to try them.

I also liked her honesty about adjusting recipes for her kids' tastes.
Now maybe you are the one who never changes anything part of a meal for your kids.  
You are an "everyone eats the same thing or they can go to bed hungry!" kind of person.
Well, I'm not.  

There.  The truth is out.
Of course, I'm not going to make 6 separate meals every breakfast, lunch or dinner, but I am not going to make everyone have salami on their pizza just to prove a point.
There are things I don't care for, some things I like better than others in my salads and not everyone likes their toast cooked the same way.
Or their eggs.
I like my eggs runny, not dry.
If I had to eat dry eggs every day because that was how they were made for me, I would be bummed.  
I think it's OK to acknowledge our kids' food preferences without turning them into selfish brats.
There are plenty of other ways to accomplish that, don't worry.
So, yes, when Gwyneth talks about making fish a different way for her son, than for her husband and herself, I appreciated her honesty.
Like I said before, it makes her real.

And the recipes, which are, after all, a rather important part of a cookbook, are good too.
There are fresh and healthy ones.
Simple ones.
Recipes for comfort food.
Special occasion recipes that require a bit more effort.

There are lots of vegetable recipes.  
Lots of poultry and fish since she does not eat red meat or pork.
I can't wait to try some of those fish recipes.
I loved all the salads.

At first I was a bit disappointed with the desserts.
Most are quite healthy and I rather like desserts with lots of butter and sugar.  (this is a favorite dessert cookbook)
But it is good to have some "healthy" dessert ideas on hand for the kiddos--muffins and cookies you can give them for snacks and not feel badly about it.
And, since I am now going dairy free (with thanks to my little Davy boy) I am looking at those dessert recipes again.  They're looking a lot better now since butter is out the door.

And, the breakfast recipes are great.
That's critical, you know.

I tired the buttermilk pancake recipe right away.  (before I went off dairy)

It's Gwyneth's father's famous recipe.
It was goood.
Come back tomorrow and I'll tell you all about it.

Love from,

In fact, just go buy your buttermilk now, so you'll be ready to make pancakes on Saturday morning. Bon Appetite!


mygirl said...

i've been wanting to look at this cookbook. thanks for the review. i'm gonna check it out next time i go to the library. hopefully it will be there:)

mandi said...

i'm so glad you reviewed this book. i've been curious to check it out- i think gwynny and i have similar tastes in food. yea- i just called her gwynny like we're bff's!

ps- i love a great breakfast too.

Unknown said...

Thanks for reviewing this book. I love to read cookbooks and have really enjoyed this one. There is a rotisserie chicken recipe in it that is probably the best roast chicken that I have ever made. Every recipe I've tried in this one has been awesome!!