When it comes to her writing career, Gwyneth Paltrow doesn’t believe in ghosts. The actress has taken the The New York Times to task for an article that claims her 2011 cookbook, My Father’s Daughter, was ghostwritten.
“Love @nytimes dining section but this weeks [sic] facts need checking,” Paltrow tweeted on Saturday. “No ghost writer on my cookbook, I wrote every word myself.”
The article, called “I Was a Cookbook Ghostwriter,” identifies chef Julia Turshen as Paltrow’s collaborator on both My Father’s Daughter and an upcoming second cookbook.
Turshen is interviewed in the piece, explaining that she met Paltrow when she was working on a cookbook with Mario Batali in Spain.
So who’s telling the truth: the chef who claims to be the ghostwriter, or the celebrity who claims she doesn’t have a ghostwriter? Here’s the weird thing: it’s no secret that Julia Turshen helped Gwyneth Paltrow with her book.
Turshen is a regular contributor to Paltrow’s GOOP newsletter, and she identifies Paltrow’s book in her online resume. She even wrote an article about their collaboration for Food & Wine, which describes how she and Paltrow spent a “year or so gathering her recipes, and the stories behind them.”
“When I saw how thinly she sliced garlic—how focused she was, how sharp she kept her knife—I immediately realized that Gwyneth cooks the way she does almost everything: with thoughtfulness, purpose and huge curiosity,” Turshen writes in “Star at the Stove: Gwyneth Paltrow.”
Clearly, Julia Turshen had something to do with My Father’s Daughter. Maybe Gwyneth’s objection has to do with the term “ghostwriter”? As the article explains, some chefs leave the entirety of their cookbooks to an unnamed writer, while barely lifting a finger themselves.
But the article also explains that many ghostwriters are true collaborators, whose job is to write down all the details of a chef’s recipes, to record their anecdotes, and to shape the book into something memorable and readable. From Julia Turshen’s article, it sounds like Paltrow was the second kind of chef, very involved in every step of her own cookbook.
But maybe Gwyneth is concerned that by admitting she had a collaborator, she’ll seem like the first kind of chef, making another person do all the heavy lifting.
Or it’s possible that Turshen wasn’t her ghostwriter at all, and the whole thing is a huge misunderstanding. We’ll find out when The New York Times sends their fact-checkers out, and issues a correction…or not.
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