“Why would you go to Spain with that one bitch who refuses to eat ham?” – Anthony Bourdain

I normally avoid celebrity-related gossip or news, but this article about Gwyneth Paltrow speaks to a couple of issues. Firstly, is Paltrow a “faux foodie”? A better question than Bourdain’s is – why would you be part of a food show if you won’t/can’t eat half of the food featured on the show? I was vegetarian, nearly vegan, for many years, and when I started writing about food, I determined that it was my job to eat what is put in front of me, whether it’s ham or testicles or brains or kangaroo. I knew I couldn’t get all squeamish about what was served to me, and I seldom make a fuss.

The deal here though, is that Paltrow is coming out with a cookbook of stuff she rarely eats. Why? Like the NY Post, I don’t really get it.

On the other hand, from my time being a vegetarian, I know full well that it’s totally possible to love food, even if you only eat half of what’s out there. We tend to have a very narrow view of what is good, so Paltrow’s stance on not eating pork shouldn’t raise too many eyebrows (heck, some of the best cooks/biggest foodsters I know are Jewish; lack of pork hasn’t stopped them from enjoying a meal).

This point, however, brings up some other issues…

Paltrow’s “righteous, locally grown, organic, non-this, non-that” attitude, Lewis adds, makes it seem like she sees food “not as a sensual pleasure, but as an intellectual pleasure — of being more politically correct than anyone else.”

A lot of us really do intellectualize food issues beyond the point of enjoying the food itself. That’s why we have guilty pleasures in the form of ice cream and fast food and other things we know are not good for us or the environment. It’s why we create fetishes around certain trendy items, like cupcakes, or bacon, beyond the point of common sense. And because food in general is so trendy right now, it’s almost as if we create personas of who we want to be based wholly on what we eat.

This is not something that will be sorted out on the plate – our society’s issues with food go beyond Paltrow and her cookbook of foods she won’t herself eat. But it’s amusing and confusing to watch or try to analyze.