Among the recent glut of cookbooks by women who have found fame in fields other than cooking, one or two appear to have a genuine reason to exist, outside the desire to capitalize on celebrity before it fades to black. Rocker Sheryl Crow clearly has a passion to help fellow cancer survivors in “If It Makes You Healthy,” while actor Alicia Silverstone pushes for a vegan lifestyle in “The Kind Diet” to save the planet. Real New Jersey Housewife Teresa Giudice inadvertently makes the case for better cookbook editing in “Fabulicious!”
The celebrity cookbook — as opposed to the celebrity chef cookbook — certainly fares well in the marketplace. As of Monday, Gwyneth Paltrow’s “My Father’s Daughter” was sitting atop Amazon’s best-selling cookbook list. Eva Longoria’s “Eva’s Kitchen” hovered in the No. 17 spot, while Crow’s book checked in at No. 55, outselling some chef-driven cookbooks such as those by Jamie Oliver, Mario Batali and many others.
There are things to admire in these books, and things to regret: easy recipes. Healthful recipes. Not particularly original recipes. Downright comical recipes. Vanity, generosity, warmth and an obsessive devotion to offspring.
See sample recipes below (because, in the end, many of us apparently do care what Gwyneth eats).