Celebrities seem to come in waves — one minute, it’s sinewy Madonna everywhere; the next, Gaga in her crackpot couture. Now, have you noticed, it’s Day of the Gwyneth? The blandly handsome blonde actress/okay singer/ svelte mum of kids named after fruit and a biblical character. Here’s Gwyneth boldly boasting that she has the butt of a 22-year-old stripper: headline. There she is on the red carpet in a see-through side-panel maxi, flexing those glutei maximi to full ‘22-year-old stripper effect’: photo spread.
Oh, Gwyneth, you bold 40-something mammy, ya. Yes, you do indeed have a fine roundy behind. And in fairness, you had a bit part in a blockbuster to promote, which more importantly, was all good for promoting It’s All Good. The cookbook — a tome that promises that you, too, you bog-standard civilian you, can attain some of what Gwyneth has — if not multiple palatial homes scattered around the globe, a multi-million bank balance and a rock-star ‘him indoors’, at the very least the knowledge of what to do when faced with a sack of quinoa. She’s big into quinoa, is Gwyn.
‘Quin — ohh ahh’ sounds like a resort that Sean Quinn might build if he ever purchased a Hawaiian island. Actually, it’s pronounced ‘Keen — wah’, a healthy, super-foody non-gluten sortof-a-cereal grain, a traditional food of the Andean people of South America, and — obscure fact I didn’t know till I started researching this — 2013 is the UN International Year of Quinoa in celebration of its greatness. I didn’t know the UN had different International Years of foodstuffs, did you? Couldn’t they have made 2013 the UN’s International Year of the Spud to tie in with our Gathering? Sure, you’re no use to us, UN.
Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, quinoa. So, it’s good and Gwyn uses lots of it in her cookery. I used to use it but found the texture a bit odd. Then I had a flick through It’s All Good in a book store and was soon thinking, ‘I want to get back on the quinoa wagon.’ The food in the book looks healthy and liveable-on, non-gluten, non-dairy, straightforward — I was kind of expecting Gwyn’s book to be another Celebrate (Pippa Middleton’s astronomically idiotic party-planning guide). Maybe I was subconsciously misled because there’s the celeb butt-focus with her too. Instead, I almost bought It’s All Good because... it’s good! I like her take on food — it’s as clear as her clear skin that she’s really into her good grub. I want to
Someone needs to tell Gwyneth that real life, far removed from celebdom, does require you to ‘be in every scene’
try it. Then I came to my senses. It’s exorbitantly expensive for a few ould recipes you could Google anyway, and more in the format of a coffee-table book than a down-and-dirty-in-the-kitchen recipe tome. And then there are the snaps of Gwyneth throughout. Would Darina Allen put a sultry fullpage pic of herself in a bathrobe to illustrate a recipe for avocado on toast? No. And no, we never needed to see Darina post-morning wash. And avocado on toast is too — what’s the word? — ‘self-evident’ a ‘recipe’ for the doyenne of Ballymaloe.
And finally, there’s the beginning of the book. In the intro, Gwyn reveals that her inspiration to go the good-food route was a serious health scare she had a while back. Basically, she got a bit of a headache, thought she was dying, like you do, and later discovered she was vitamin D-deficient and some other stuff too minor to mention for the ordinary Joe. But in the coddled world of The Star, it was, like, major. (Telly programme idea: Health Scares Of The Rich And Famous.)
I shoved her book back on the shelf, thinking, ‘Oh, gimme a break from rich celebs flogging malarkey just because they can.’ Gwyn’s already well versed in the business of herself as a business — through her lifestyle website, GOOP. In the June issue of Glamour magazine, Gwyneth says she ‘won’t permit advertisements’ on her website, only brands ‘I genuinely love’. ‘It’s that integrity that marks her out,’ the magazine gushes. Oh yeah, check out GOOP: she’s flogging a €120 ‘catch-all’ for instance. A catch-all? Basically it’s a sort of a limited-edition leather plate for leaving your car keys and various knick-knacks on. Or fancy a €230 cotton bathrobe?
Having kids changed her work commitments, she reveals. She now seeks out work ‘that’s interesting, that doesn’t require me to be in every scene and fits with my children’s school schedule’. Also in Glamour there’s an article about questions to ask in an interview to ‘get that job’. Things like, ‘Do you have any reservations about my application?’ ‘What’s the company’s plan for the future?’ Imagine putting in a Gwyn-like, ‘And may I just ask, do I have to be in every scene?’ And then you don’t get the job because being, say, a cashier or a receptionist, or most anything, does require you to ‘be in every scene’, like — doh! It’s called ‘real life’, as far removed from pampered celebdom as Gwyn’s quinoa with mushroom and arugula is from an Egg McMuffin. I’ll wait till It’s All Good hits the bargain bucket. Then it’ll all be grand.