Monday, May 9, 2011

Tuna and Ginger Burgers (Gwyneth Paltrow)

Confession: I bought Gwyneth Paltrow's Cookbook.
Second Confession: I LOVE IT.

I am not going to sit here and tell you how much I either love or hate Paltrow, because, honestly, it's neither. I bought the cookbook because I got the chance to thumb through it at a friend's house and I did so without any judgement or preconceptions. I forgot instantly that it was written by an Oscar winning actress and blogger and mom and rock star wife. I also don't mean that I like the book in spite of her - that's not true either.

I just think it's a great book. It's not built around some kitsch idea like "cook for a day, eat for a month" or "17.43 minute meals!" It's clearly a labor of love, beautifully presented by someone who knows and loves food. It's a lifetime of favorite recipes painstaking curated from family vacations, parties, friends, relatives, holiday traditions and Cape Cod clam shacks.

People mock the book saying she is a name dropper or an elitist snob, but I think, were any of us to sit down and write our book - our collection of recipes from the people and places that have left their indelible wine stains and tomato sauce splatters on us- it might not look much different.

Sure, Paltrow talks about Jamie Oliver giving her a cooking lesson, or having dinner with the Spielbergs and Stella McCartney, or relishes the memory of some exquisite meal in Umbria. But if I replace those examples with the time my grandfather taught me to make coq au vin or the most perfect fish with melt away shoe string potatoes that I will never forget from that teeny restaurant in Normandy, France, I know she is not intending to be ridiculous and showy.

She just loves food. And food people remember everything. We cant help it. Because food isn't really about food. It is about people, laughter, wine, travel, love, family, and comfort. But mostly love.

And, P.S. those tuna burgers? The ones you see right there on a bed of peppery arugula, caramelized shallots and soy-sesame mayonnaise on a toasted wheat bun? Yeah, they knocked my socks off.

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