Thursday, June 20, 2013

It's All Good by Gwyneth Paltrow and Julia Turshen

Unless you live under a rock, you are probably aware by now that Gwyneth Paltrow has once again teamed up with chef and food writer Julia Turshen to create a new cookbook appropriately titled It's All Good. I have loved every single recipe that I've made from Gwyneth Paltrow's first cookbook so far except maybe one or two (and I liked those - I just didn't love them), so it was only natural that I would rush out to buy It's All Good, GP's 2nd cookbook. Boy was I surprised at the difference! I mean, they are in a sense like night and day, as if the recipes had been put together by two completely different people. I suppose in a way they were... The first book was written before GP's diagnosis of several food allergies and intolerances while the 2nd was written in response her new dietary requirements.

Gwyneth Paltrow's recipe for Vegetable Stock, featured in both cookbooks.

If I'm being honest, I have to say that I am not at all disappointed in my purchase. I know a lot of people have put down GP for writing this cookbook and many have gone on and on about how expensive the ingredients are, but I think she's found a hole in the market and to be honest, she's filled that hole beautifully with It's All Good. Imagine how you'd feel if you were suddenly told to go on a gluten-free diet for health reasons and every cookbook you picked up was full of recipes you couldn't possibly eat... It would be discouraging to say the least. I applaud Gwyneth for putting something out there for people who either can't or choose not to eat dairy, glutens or animal products - it's about time someone did. I should also mention that It's All Good is absolutely stunning featuring beautiful food styling and gorgeous photos - it's worth buying the book for the photos alone.

I don't know about you, but it seems every other day I'm meeting someone new with dietary requirements of some description. These may be people I've never met or family members who have recently been diagnosed. What's great about Gwyneth's new cookbook venture is that it's written for people with these specific types of dietary needs by someone who has them herself with the caveat that regardless of your needs, meal times are meant to be enjoyed and that you should never feel as though you are missing out on something.

Gwyneth Paltrow's Fudgy Brownies, featured in both cookbooks, but amended in It's All Good

If you don't have food issues (that you know of) or an aching need to become Vegan or go on a detox diet, then yes, this book might come across as a little extreme or pretentious, but I encourage looking a little deeper. I learned a lot from reading It's All Good cover to cover and not just about cooking foods to meet special dietary needs, but also about GMO and non-GMO soy, information about mercury in fish and more... It's definitely worth reading, even if you never cook the recipes as intended.

So what's the verdict?

Gwyneth Paltrow's recipe for Chicken Stock, featured in both cookbooks

If you ask me, unless you have food allergies/intolerances, suffer from Coeliacs, are Vegan or Vegetarian, just feeling rather adventurous with your meals or on a special diet such as detox or protein packed, then It's All Good is not going to replace whatever cookbook you hold dear as your day-to-day lifesaver. Quite frankly, it's a little too extreme for most of us to use it daily, not to mention that depending on where you live, getting your hands on some of the ingredients might require more effort than just popping to your local grocery store. However, there are some great recipes in the book, some ideas that aren't really recipes, but just ways to enjoy foods you already eat a bit differently and some worthy alternatives to the perhaps unhealthy versions of some foods we eat, but maybe shouldn't (fish fingers for example). The kid-friendly recipes are inventive and clever, not to mention totally perfect for adults as well - it's obvious that Gwyneth has put a lot of thought into how to get her kids to eat healthy foods without sacrificing the enjoyment of the adults at the table. She even gives advice about how to get vegetable dumplings and chicken nuggets made and frozen to always have them on hand when the kids come home from school with tummies growling! It's also worth noting that some of the recipes in the book are repeats from GP's first cookbook, however not enough to really matter... A few of the repeat recipes have been amended as well.

Other great features of It's All Good are diet plans included in the book such as detox, protein packed or just healthy eating, giving examples of how to use the book to put together a week of meals & snacks. Also, for all you cooks in Europe, there are conversion charts in the back of the book to make things a little easier and suggestions for places to get some hard-to-find ingredients both in the US and the UK.

Gwyneth Paltrow's Basic Tomato Sauce recipe, featured in both cookbooks

If you're a foodie who loves to cook, Vegan, Vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free or someone who prides yourself on putting healthy meals on the table, then I highly recommend It's All Good. At the very least, you might learn something or get inspired by some of the recipes... I for one am incredibly interested in how Gwyneth Paltrow and Julia Turshen have treated corn in the book and plan on experimenting with some new corn recipes myself!

Have you read or cooked with It's All Good? I'd love to hear what you thought of the book.


  1. I've not cooked from it yet, but I also read it from cover to cover and loved it. One of my future ambitions is to run a marathon and I thought the protein filled meal planner at the back would be a great kick start for when I'm training. I was particularly attracted to the kiddies recipes and can't wait to try the dumplings with David, we're kids at heart!

    1. I love the kiddo recipes too - the chicken skewers are YUM and take no time at all! Also, I bet you're right about that protein meal plan... It will probably help with muscle building as well, which I think you said was a goal to up your times, right? Let me know if it makes a difference! x


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