Gracing the cover of Vogue's annual Age Issue is American expatriate and actress Gwyneth Paltrow. She has a cookbook coming out, so they dispatched a food writer to cook with her at several of her mansions. It was sublime.
Ha, you know who they sent? Professionally nasty Iron Chef judge Jeffrey Steingarten, the man who ate everything. So this rumpled heavy-breathing fellow got to spend many hours with Gwyneth, a known Veela, and the perfection just wouldn't stop coming. She is just so perfect it is oozing out of everything perfection can ooze from, perfectly and beautifully. To wit:
the first thing I noticed was how beautiful and clean her kitchen is, all white and filled with enviable appliances, including a dedicated deep-fat fryer. Gwyneth admitted to being a neat freak, as her father was. She also seems to be in control of her time, scheduling every hour closely, with precise awareness of how long things take, including cooking.
Bitches be cookin' and cleanin', right fellas? Nothing that remarkable here. But wait, there's more.
The second thing I noticed was that Gwyneth is considerably more beautiful in the flesh than in pictures. She's an ectomorph (in the language of anthropometrics). You might call her "gangling"-stretched out, a bit taller and svelter and better muscled than you would think, especially in the crucial upper-arm area. She doesn't look gangling in pictures. She has fine genes, good bones.
It's those Danner genes. Jeffrey was, naturally, smitten.
I was able to notice that Gwyneth's jeans fit so loosely that they tended to slip down several inches below her waist, revealing an enviably flat stomach. Gwyneth is 37.
Dayyyummmm. The rest of the article devolves into an elaborate bacon-draped foodsex fantasy that isn't reprintable, even on Gawker.
Oh, I'm kidding. Here's the good stuff. Jeffrey travels to London to cook in Gwyneth's headquarters, which is actually three houses and three back yards put together. The simple life.
Gwyneth and Chris own two adjoining houses and three backyards. They bought the first house from Kate Winslet; it has the kitchen and the backyard where the wood-burning oven stands. ... It was a lovely afternoon that culminated in the return of Gwyneth's two children from wherever British children go on sunny Thursday mornings in the spring. The logs in the brick oven had been ignited before I arrived and were blazing as Gwyneth got the pizza dough ready. She is extremely adept at kneading, which she accomplished on a table in the garden; then she formed the pizza crust ... topped it, and slid it into the oven, where it joined a butterflied chicken that, on a lark, Gwyneth had already sandwiched between two heavy enameled iron pans-her version of pollo al mattone, the Italian (probably Etruscan) chicken under a brick. Two or three pizzas later, we sat at a long wooden table in the garden with Gwyneth's children and enjoyed slices of her pizza, glasses of wine, and the crispest roast chicken you can imagine.
Oh come on now. That shit is just straight out of a particularly melancholy issue of Gourmet magazine from July 1989. That is patently ridiculous. No one sits in their sunny London triplegarden and eats impossibly crisp roast chicken and drinks "glasses of wine" and has blonde hair and perfect, sun-dappled children. This just can't exist. Gwyneth Paltrow is the product of a joint partnership between Williams Sonoma, Crate & Barrel, and Ina Garten to make us all jealous and want to buy their wealthy white folks summery breezy lifestyle products. There is no Gwyneth Paltrow. Jeffrey Steingarten was actually just interviewing a ripple of light and some dandelion fuzz, he just wasn't wearing his glasses so he couldn't see Ina hiding behind a bush and speaking through a voice modification machine. You've been tricked, Jeffrey! We've all been tricked.
There's so much more Gwyneth Paltrow perfection in the article that I will leave you to discover on your own — discover like a surprising blackberry bush found in a corner of one of your London backyards, like a delightful recipe card for a light citrus summer salad tucked into an old book, like a single ominous drop of blood on pristine white clothing. It's truly an adventure that you need to experience yourself. And then you'll get to the most exciting part:
There was a brief pause. Gwyneth said, "I'll have to give that a little thought." Her voice had changed. It was as though a cloud had passed over the sun.
But don't take my word for it! Read it yourself to find out why this glimmering glass-and-hay unicorn creature suddenly turned cold.