I Made My Husband Cook Like Gwyneth Paltrow — Here’s What Happened
Not to toot my own horn, but I'm a pretty excellent home cook. My husband Blaine, on the other hand, is… less comfortable in the kitchen. When asked to stray from the recipes he knows, there's usually a lot of expletives and crashing around at dinner time.
So I asked him to cook like Gwyneth Paltrow for a week. I wish I could say I gave him this assignment to help him out of a recipe rut, but the truth is: I thought it would be funny.
Since I'm not a total monster, I tried to make it as easy as I could — by giving him the GOOP-meister's new cookbook, It's All Easy. It's filled with all her favorite recipes for when she
lets her household staff have a couple hours off is strapped for time.
Here's how it went.
On Sunday, we planned our menu for the week and placed our weekly grocery order as we normally do. However, it doesn't normally cost $250. We lacked a lot of Gwyneth's pantry essentials, like coconut sugar, agave nectar, and organic chia seeds.
I promptly decided to add a "pretension" rating for each recipe, along with ratings simplicity and flavor.
Before bed, Blaine prepped our morning breakfast: Ginger Chia Pudding.
If you have a friend who's a health nut, they'll tell you chia pudding tastes like rice pudding. Your friend is high. This tastes OK, though.
However, you might not like it if you aren't a big fan of coconut. Ingredients include coconut sugar, coconut milk, and coconut water. We're not sure what Gwyneth is receiving from the coconut lobby in exchange for her fealty, but she is a big fan.
This recipe was a nice way to ease my husband into GOOP life, because it basically entailed throwing a bunch of stuff into a bowl and then putting that bowl in the fridge.
Pretension level: 4 out of 5
Taste: 4 out of 5
Simplicity: 5 out of 5.
The next day, Blaine cooked Gwyneth's Black Bean Soup. This was unbelievably fast — probably 30 minutes start to finish. It gets its smokiness from chipotle chili powder instead of ham and comes garnished with cheese, sour cream, cilantro, and avocado.
Pretension Level: 1 — most of the ingredients are things we would normally cook with. It even calls for canned beans!
Taste: 5 out of 5. This will definitely replace our old black bean soup recipe.
Simplicity: 4 out of 5.
This was the day I was sure would end in frustration — because I assigned Blaine three meals to prep for that night and the day ahead.
First, was dinner: Pasta Carbonara. Despite Gwyneth's reputation for being a health nut, this dish does not skimp on the fat. It's also very easy to make. We paired it with a kale salad, because why not go all in?
Pretension Level: 2
Taste: 5 — It's bacon, eggs, and cheese on pasta. How is that not going to be good?
Then he whipped up the next day's lunch: Moroccan Chicken Wraps — A spicy spin on your typical chicken salad.
We started with a rotisserie chicken, which made it even easier. Just chop and toss everything into a bowl, mix, and wrap in whole wheat tortillas with some lettuce.
However, it does earn a higher pretension rating for the Vegenaise (why, Gwyneth? Pretty sure chicken isn't vegan), agave nectar, and the suggestion of "chia lavash" as a wrap. What even is that?
Finally, he assembled the next day's breakfast: Chocolate Cinnamon Overnight Oats. Another dish involving chia, this also employs quick oats for extra fiber.
Combined with almond milk, cinnamon, and cocoa for flavor, plus some chopped dates for sweetness, this is an awesome breakfast if you can get past the fact you are eating cold oatmeal with chia seeds. It's so good, we whipped some up for dessert the next night. However, be advised — it is really not photogenic.
Leftovers. I built a buffer day into the schedule thinking at this point Blaine would be ready to murder me, but the cooking so far had been so easy it wasn't really necessary. But wait until we get to…
If any day was going to break my husband it was this day — and boy, was I right.
Straying from the one-pot meals paired with salad, Blaine cooked a Turkey Meatloaf, Cauliflower Mac n Cheese, and Pan-Seared Brussels Sprouts.
The part I thought would trip him up — making a smooth bechamel — he pulled off flawlessly.
But then came the part where he needed to prep the Brussels sprouts. "How do I shave Brussels sprouts?" he asked.
I pulled out a mandolin slicer for him to use, but after two cuts I saw a trip to the ER in our future.
Tones quickly got snippy. Certain participants in this experiment got kicked out of the kitchen. And one documentarian became the new subject.
So, after I finished chopping the sprouts, I turned the reins back over to Blaine, who had a strong finish despite the hiccup, and the results were delicious.
Cauliflower Macaroni and Cheese
Pan-Seared Brussels Sprouts
What we learned
(That is an actual photo from the cookbook. Just putting that out there.)
Despite Gwyneth's fussy reputation and a few ingredients that made us roll our eyes, It's All Easy's recipes are surprisingly accessible, with fun spins on familiar classics. Most of the meals are, in fact, easy (depending on the cook's experience level), and ready in under an hour.
It also wasn't that expensive, despite the initial sticker shock. After calculating the cost of a typical week's meals — which include several takeout and delivery meals — we actually spent less on food than we normally do.
The true shocker, though? We really liked just about everything we ate. So much so, we decided to try some more recipes this week.
But I think I'll put down the camera and help this time.