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on June 30, 2011
I had read negative reviews on different blogs about the book. They were annoyed by her seemingly arrogant suggestion that we should all get wood burning ovens built in our backyards to make home made pizza. They laughed at her ingredients insinuating that no one could possibly buy those fancy ingredients at a normal grocery store. They also complained that unless you are an intermediate or advanced cook - you can't use this book. So when I read the book myself - I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. I really liked the recipes and I found that I could relate to her as a mother and as a daughter from her anecdotes. I didn't find her ingredients to be so fancy that I couldn't find them at my local farmers market or the grocery store. Most grocery stores have "HEALTH" sections now. I also know a family that are not rich at all - and they have a wood burning oven in their backyard because they saved up and wanted one. It would be the same thing if a family wanted to go to Disney World for vacation - they save up and go. You don't necessarily have to be rich or famous. I have been cooking for a few years and I do find it easier to whip up a dinner from a recipe more so than when I was a beginner - but the book was not that complicated. I'm just a home cook - not a chef - and I could figure it all out. I made her veggie burgers the other day. It was simple and the kids gobbled them up. I made extra to freeze. I have a food saver that vacuum seals my leftovers for the freezer - and I'm not rich or famous - can you believe it? I didn't want to like this book for some stupid reason. Gwyneth just seems so perfect with her fame and wealth and beauty and blah blah blah. But then I came to my senses. She's great and there's nothing wrong with that. It's a good book.
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on April 1, 2011
While I usually enjoy looking at cookbooks more than I actually wind up using them, I was enticed by the low number of ingredients listed in several recipes from Gwyneth Paltrow's blog GOOP, and every one that I tried was a hit with family and friends. When I read Jeffrey Steingarten's Vogue feature on Gwyneth and her forthcoming cookbook a few months back, I eagerly anticipated the arrival of this book, and it doesn't disappoint. First of all, do yourself a favor and incorporate her "Standby Vinaigrette" into your salad recipes; it is featured on page 69. The maple syrup-tinged Dijon dressing was featured with minced shallots on her GOOP site awhile back, and even my 3-year old loves this dressing which is simple to whip up in a few minutes; when I don't have time to make a more elaborate salad, I simply toss the dressing with some butter lettuce and serve with her roast chicken (I wish the recipe featured on GOOP was incorporated in the cookbook!). Everyone who has tasted the dressing has asked me for the recipe. I just tried her balsamic lime vinaigrette recipe last evening sans lime since I didn't have any, tossed with arugula, and it was delicious. The honey toned down the acidity of the vinegar perfectly. Her dressing recipes are unbelievably easy (4-5 standard kitchen ingredients) and have turned me off bottled dressings forever.

Her simple recipe for slow-roasted tomatoes was a revelation; slice a batch of vine-ripened tomatoes horizontally in half (cut into thirds to cut down on cooking time), place seed side up in the oven on a baking sheet, add a bit of olive oil and a tiny pinch of salt on each slice, stick it in the oven at 275 degrees for 3-5 hours, and voila--the most flavorful roasted tomatoes that beat jarred sun-dried tomatoes any day. I used them in her recipe for the arugula salad with crostini melted with smoked mozzarella and it was the easiest meal ever. I used some of the tomatoes today with melted smoked mozzarella on a baguette with butter lettuce sprinkled with the balsamic dressing, and it made for an incredibly delicious and quick lunch that my husband loved.

I had made some chicken stock using the frame of a leftover roast chicken and incorporated her easy recipe for chicken dumplings (flour, baking powder, and half and half), tossing spoonfuls of the mix into the broth, and it was delicious. Page 44 includes a handy matrix that provides common equivalents for some of the more health-oriented ingredients she uses that you can use to substitute if you can't get your hands on agave nectar, Vegenaise, spelt flour, etc. The recipes are flexible so that you can make them as traditional or healthy as you want, and she is very quick to accommodate both audiences with helpful tips within the recipes. Aside from a few recipes that require more prep work like her roast duck, most of the recipes are family friendly and easy to prepare with a short ingredient list for most. The cookbook is also liberally sprinkled with poignant vignettes and photos from Gwyneth's childhood reflecting the impact of her father on her life and includes beloved recipes passed down from her family members. In the process I also gleaned some great tips on how to incorporate your children in the cooking process; she offers quick tips on how she modifies condiments/ingredients in recipes to accommodate her children's palates. As a mother of two girls under the age of 7 who like things very "simple," I appreciated that perspective tremendously. Beautiful photos, fun reading, great recipes that you can actually use for the modern family and can whip up in a pinch...in short, a great cookbook.

1/15/2012 UPDATE
Be sure to try the Caramelized Brussels Sprouts recipe; this was one I had avoided since I've never cooked Brussels Sprouts before, and the recipe seemed too simple to be tasty. My relative encouraged me to try this, and it is UNBELIEVABLY good. The sprouts come out nutty and rich; be sure to use plenty of kosher salt and lemon juice. I've used a package from Trader Joe's and microwaved the bag for 3 minutes in lieu of steaming, and it worked out fine. I've made this about nine times now...still loving this.
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on July 27, 2011
Not ready to crowd my shelves with a rarely used cookbook, I checked this out from the library. First, the cookbook is beautiful and her stories and tips are endearing. However, the recipes are not reliable or amazing. The corn fritter recipe for example, calls for 1 egg when it most definitely needs a minimum of 2 in order to create any kind of batter (this may be a simple typo). The best stir-fried chicken was alright, not incredible. I'm going to try making this again with added veggies. It's a very plain stir fry with only chicken and scallions. This recipe has a clock by it to indicate that it's "quick". I may not be the fastest person with a knife, but it takes me more than 4 1/2 minutes to cube 4 chicken breasts, mince 1/2 cup of scallions and mince 1/4 cup of garlic! I never put much stock in the times included in recipes, but this one is way off. The roasted sweet potatoes with spices was tasty and I've made that one twice. Also, the prep time of 10 minutes is not overly exaggerated. The seasonal crumble which I made with fresh picked blueberries was also delicious. I made the oatmeal raisin cookies and they are extremely healthy tasting, if you know what I mean. I used honey/water (following her suggested substitution guide) instead of maple syrup and after the 1st batch came out like cardboard, I cooked the second batch for a couple minutes less than the recommended time and that seemed to make a slight difference in taste. I made a couple other recipes and found that the time or ingredient quantity seemed to be wrong. My advice, if you buy it, think for yourself when making the recipes. They may have been tested numerous times and it's just simple typos in the cookbook, but some of the recipes will not turn out well if you follow them verbatim. Engage your mind and happy cooking!
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on April 16, 2011
I ordered this book and Cheryl Crow's If it Makes you Healthy cookbook together. If I'd picked them both up at my local Borders and thumbed through, I definitely would NOT have bought this one.

I read this one first and although there's some cute anecdotes and a few recipes that look interesting, if you have more than very basic cooking skills, you'll find yourself shaking your head a bit as you flip the pages here. Many of her 'recipes' are variations of a very simple and basic recipe and many are so basic that you really don't need a recipe at all. As an example, there's a recipe for a turkey blt...that offers nothing new and surprising, just common sense how to assemble the sandwich. So when I finished this book I was left with the overall feeling that there's not much here that isn't already obvious to most people who like to cook.

Fortunately, the opposite was true of the Cheryl Crow book, which blew me away. Page after page of creative, and mouth-watering recipes from her personal chef, that are also healthy. There's so many I can't wait to make and tonight am starting with a slow-cooked braised chicken taco recipe that is easy, healthy and looks delicious.
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on October 24, 2012
I never gave Gwyneth much thought until I saw her on Glee playing the cool, sassy Spanish teacher. Then while walking by the tapas place at The Grove I saw a video of her and Mario Batali touring the food of Spain. I was captivated. I love looking at food and I even more enjoy looking at food in exotic places. When I got home I Googled it to find out more about it and stumbled upon Gwyneth cooking fish with salsa verde on a British show. She was great. I had no idea she was a cook. I quickly made the fish and a winter vegetables recipe that she said complemented the fish. Then I found out about her book and waited for it to come out. I liked it so much I bought my sister a copy who I thought would also like it. I won't buy a cookbook unless it has great pictures. I want to see delicious food and I want to see it in a surrounding that compliments the food. Otherwise...I just won't cook it. Nothing inspires me more than actually 'seeing' something delicious. I also enjoyed reading the book, which I rarely do with a cookbook, and learning how Gwyneth seeks out becoming informed about food and healthy cooking for her family. She made a lot of good points and cooks in a way that I relate to. I actually wanted to build a stone pizza oven after I read her talking about it (which hasn't happened yet...yet).

Some people give her slack for her website, Goop, because a lot of the things that she lists are expensive...well, what did you think? Gwyneth Paltrow shops at Kmart? She tells you all the secrets of how someone dresses like her, looks like her, eats like her, shops like her, so you can have that too, if you want it. Anyone who had delusions that celebrities get that way cheaply or easily is out of their mind. That's why celebrities have to actually WORK to get the way they are. I lived with two celebrities and I saw that what they have to do for their career could make them crazy. I've seen Matthew McConaughey on more than one occasion running UP Runyon Canyon (a mountain) with two huge rocks in his hands, which I've never seen anyone else do, because, it's crazy. But that's why he looks the way he does. He works hard at it.

So, I even more admire Gwyneth for her love of food and that she takes the time out of her busy schedule to make her family good, healthy meals, and raises her children with an appreciation for cooking good food. That's a good mom.
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on June 3, 2011
I am really surprised by some of the negative comments about G.P and this cookbook stated below. I consider myself a very good cook and come from an italian immigrant family of great cooks and find this cookbook to be fantastic and a lot like how we cook at home (using simple, fresh, yummy ingredients/recipes to make up delicious meals). Yes it has many simple and basic recipes (like the brussel sprouts and carmelized cauliflower) but they are delicious and healthy and many people either dont know how to cook those things well or, like myself, need a reminder ("oh yeah, i havent cooked cauliflower like that in a while"). Many people dont make their own salad dressings and she offers several easy recipes for dressings that have a little more zing than basic oil and vinegar, can easily be improvised on and are so much better for you and tastey than bottled dressings. Additionally, there are many other more complex tastey recipes for the more experienced cook. There is a GREAT variety from which to choose (simple and hearty salads, warm and cold soups, meats and fishs) and so far the only recipe that I thought just didnt work was the same day pancakes recipe. the "bruce paltrow's pancakes", however, were some of the best I have ever had and this book alone is worth getting just for that recipe. If you like to eat good, clean, healthy but delicious food (that doesnt taste like healthy food) buy this cookbook. You wont be disappointed. And yes, she comes from a life of privilege but instead of holding it against her, why not enjoy her stories and be happy for her.
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on December 25, 2011
I have tried just one recipe but the results were not inspiring. Ten-hour chicken turned out overcooked and flavorless. What a waste of an organic bird!
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on May 19, 2013
A couple of years ago, I was not much of a cook. I'm much better these days, and this is one of the cookbooks that helped me make large gains in my cooking abilities.

I first checked this cookbook our at the library. I made 3 recipes in the book and all turned out lovely. 3/3 recipes worked, so I purchased the book. This is how I test a cookbook.

I love the Miso Dressing recipe and make it weekly. Our 7yo loves the anchovy dressing (YAY for sneaking in fish and Omega's!). Every recipe that I've made has been great. I've made the Duck Cassoulet (14 ingredients) which was simply wonderful. BTW: another Cassoulet recipe from my fav Williams Sonoma, Savoring France cookbook called for 34 ingredients. My head starts to spin when I see that much complexity/work in a recipe - not only for ingredients required but the time consumed. With a glass of wine in hand and my 7yo daughter helping, we made a delightful dish in less than 2 hours time (add time for daughter helping).

I'm a minimalist cook that expects reliable results without losing an entire day in the kitchen on one meal. To me, that sort of cooking is not sustainable. This cookbook has loads of recipes that meet my need for limited ingredients and ease and speed of prep and planning.

I have a few *go to* cookbooks so you may judge my review intelligently. Jean-Georges, Savoring France, Rawvolution, Mostly Vegetables, Tom Douglas' Seattle Kitchen and Alice Waters, Art of Simple Food.

For the folks that say this cookbook contains recipes that are inaccessible dollar-wise, I would say, most cookbooks have a percentage of over-the-top or over-the-budget recipes. This book is not special in that way. If you can't get duck bacon, use pork bacon. Wouldn't we make such concessions with any recipe that didn't suit us from a dollar or diet POV?

In summary, the recipes in My Father's Daughter produce great meals that are easy to make. Our family highly recommends! :)
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on December 5, 2013
I am not a GOOP follower but I do like this recipe book and style of cooking. My favorite recipe is Gwenyth's pancake recipe she got from her Dad. It is outstanding and I will never make pancakes again unless I use this recipe. Awesome
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on August 19, 2011
I actually really enjoy this cookbook, and on its own give it a 4.5; Ms. Paltrow is down to earth, friendly, and easily shares her ideas and tips without any sign of arrogance. I can almost picture her sitting in any kitchen with a cup of tea and telling the the stories with friendly ease. She also gives you alternatives to approaching recipes which to me is true chef thinking. I have been cooking for years and have found the contents hold up when combined with my own version of recipe improvising; I especially use the Miso soup guidelines at least every other week;I use vegetable broth as a base, especially if I want to go vegetarian and it is healthy and hearty.
~HOWEVER, that being said: this is the EXACT same book as "Notes form My Kitchen" with the exception of a cover switch. I found this truth misleading and dishonest. Now I have to return one of the books after I bought both as a gift for someone. NOT HAPPY WITH THIS TYPE OF BUSINESS PLOY!
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