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Gwyneth Paltrow's weekly e-mail newsletter GOOP certainly gets its fair share of flak. It can be hard to stomach this Oscar-winning daughter of Hollywood royalty—who is also ridiculously gorgeous, thin and married to a mega-rock star—sending missives from the ivory tower to “cleanse” (i.e. not eat for 21 days!) or purchase a $75 cake knife. (That said, ordinary mortals have tried—and sort of succeeded—to live according to the GOOP plan.)
In GOOP’s most recent newsletter, Gwyneth shares her 10 favorite food blogs. "On some nights," she confesses, "once the kids are asleep and I’m in for the evening, one of my favorite pastimes is to sit down with my laptop and a nice glass of wine." After she's engaged in a little e-commerce, she turns to the corner of the Internet where food blogs live.
Gwyneth’s top picks include (in no particular order, she says):
Pictures and Pancakes
Oh Joy Eats
What Katie Ate
Canelle et Vanille
Stay at Stove Dad
While the sites listed are definitely worthy of recognition, they tend to represent a particular, "straight out of Anthropologie" aesthetic. Stark white backgrounds, Polaroid-mimicking photos, and carefully chosen fonts abound; the photos are perfectly lit, almost to a fault, avoiding the orangey tinges and unfortunate shadows that mar many amateur food photos.
Lovely as these blogs are, and as mouth-watering as the pristinely lit photos are (these cobbler shots made me want to eat my computer screen!), the idea that a food blog must be pretty and perfect in order for it to be worthwhile, rankles me. Sure, it's not like Google has perfected the RealTaste plug-in yet, but the raving about how gorgeous the images are on the sites—"photographs are bright and absolute perfection"—makes one wonder just how many of the recipes presented by each site were given a run-through in the GOOP test kitchen.
The lack of a kitchen mess represented on these sites—despite the fact that some are written by parents—makes the experience feel more consumptive than active. Isn't part of the fun of cooking the experimentation, the willingness to try a recipe until one seasons it to taste? Perhaps Paltrow's inclusion of Stay at Stove Dad, a charming site run by a father of two who wanted to "stop worrying and love the kitchen," is a nod to that ideal.
Also see: Can Gwyneth Paltrow Really Cook?