ANNE GILDEA

The Irish Mail on Sunday - TV Week - - REAL LIFE - anne.gildea@mailon­sun­day.ie

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.

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