The Short Hills Mall was all abuzz Friday. At 11 a.m. the line started forming. By 4 p.m. it stretched from Williams Sonoma to Sak’s Fifth Avenue and security was tight.
Two friends with babies in strollers, said they'd been there since 1 p.m. Three hours into it they were still smiling and happily waiting. Everyone was excited.
Why was everyone there? To see Academy Award Winning actress, Gwyneth Paltrow.
Williams Sonoma hosted Paltrow, who came to sign copies of her new cookbook "My Father’s Daughter. "
Surprised? Lately Paltrow has been showcasing her other talents besides acting. She established herself as a singer – performing at the Grammy’s, on Fox’s uber hit, Glee, and even singing at the Academy Awards.
Now, add cookbook author to her growing list of artistic accomplishments. Who knew she could cook? She doesn't look like she even eats. But apparently, she loves to eat, and in fact it is one of her passions.
In the book’s introduction, she details the impact that cooking with her father, the late Bruce Paltrow, famed television and film director, had on her life – hence, the title.
She recounted her early childhood in Santa Monica, Calif., when her mother, famed actress Blythe Danner, was the family breadwinner. Gwyneth was left in the care of her dad while her mom worked to support the family.
Apparently, it all started with pancakes. Bruce Paltrow was known for his pancakes, a recipe that he perfected over time and shared with eager family and friends on weekends. The repertoire was expanded out of necessity when the family tired of the large stockpile of meatballs and spaghetti that their mom had left them, while she was off working in New York. And so, father and daughter began preparing meals together.
Paltrow says, “You just need some good ingredients and a few simple recipes, maybe a couple of jokes, or a ‘topic to dissect’ at the table ...”
Celebrated chef and Paltrow family friend, Mario Batali wrote the book’s forward. The most important thing to take from this book, he says, is, “… the enjoyment of eating good food together with people we care about.”
In case you were wondering, Paltrow actually arrived early and was very gracious. She wore jeans and seemed a bit shy.
Paltrow follows a farm-to-table approach and stresses the importance of getting children involved with the process from growing vegetables and herbs, to shopping for ingredients, to meal preparation. This creates a sense of pride and family togetherness.
Paltrow describes her book on the front cover as, “Delicious, easy recipes celebrating family & togetherness.”
Maybe that’s why so many people stood on line for hours? Nah, I think they wanted to see if she looked as good in person as she does on the screen. And for the record, the answer is YES.