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While I’m away on my imaginary vacation, I’m leaving the pantry stocked with posts from Exit 51 that would have been part of the Flashback Friday series. The following originally appeared on 7/27/09 at Exit 51.


Dear Gwenny,

You really do make it too easy to pick on you.  You can’t help the fact that you are genetically blessed, so I won’t hate you because you’re beautiful.  I also won’t hate on you for your career success (truth be told, I really enjoyed you in  View From The Top and I was sorry to see you lose your head in Seven) or for landing a rock star husband.  Some people are just lucky.


But where I will take you to task is with your, as best stated by Liz Kelly of the Washington Post, “…attempt to impose her privileged life lessons on the rest of us poor saps.”  Yes, I’m sure having celebrity friends and rubbing elbows with the likes of Mario Batali on a regular basis would make life ever so interesting.  And most certainly there are people who will fawn over each and every GOOPy word that you blog about the wonders of being you.  But you’ve got to know that you’re going to take some knocks for it.  Did you not witness the backlash against the likes of other “lifestyle” experts and wannabe’s like Martha and Rachel?  Did you not know what you were up against? And then there’s the name.  GOOP?  Really, could you make it any easier to give us something to blast you for?

I really don’t know where all my GOOPy hatred comes from.  While I can appreciate that what you are doing is no different than what millions of other people do by expressing their views or sharing of themselves in the public forum, I don’t know, it just comes across as condescending.  No, you don’t live an ordinary life.  And I’m sure that the topics you post are meant to be thought provoking regardless of who you are or what your circumstances or struggles may be.  But I just can’t embrace it.  So I limited my GOOPyness to your “Make” section.  And still, I was disappointed.

You lauded a recipe that starred one ingredient that I absolutely love and paired it with something I wanted to try more of.  Sounded like a no brainer to me.  Trying to overlook any attitude that may or may not have been intended by calling for “real Vermont” maple syrup (that’s precisely why I get the condescending vibe from GOOP, as if using what I happened to have even if it wasn’t “real Vermont” would be a bad thing or make a lesser dish? C’mon, get over yourself.) I set about making this.  And somewhere between heat oven to 400 degrees and sprinkle with salt and serve, the wheels came off.  The sweet potatoes were ok but the lentils were mushy and, well, goopy.  Maybe it was my technique.  Maybe it was my bargain bag of green lentils.  Or maybe it’s just that, unlike Miz Liz Kelly of the Washington Post, I can not reconcile myself to “take the parts that make sense for your life — whether it be surprisingly simple, yet tasty recipes culled from her celebrity chef friends, travel tips or Gwyneth’s suggestions for keeping in shape — and consign Sam Ronson’s iPod playlist to your trash bin if you’re not interested.”  Liz Kelly has made her peace with GOOP, I’m sure you won’t even notice if I don’t stop by anymore.

Very Sincerely Yours,


PS – In all fairness I should say that I intend to give this recipe one more try.  Only, instead of cooking my own lentils, I’m going to use canned ones.  Shocking and very unGOOPy, but true.



Lentil and Sweet Potato Salad

GOOP by Gwyneth Paltrow

  • 2-4 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch chunks
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons “real Vermont” maple syrup
  • 2 pinches red chili flakes
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • leaves from 2 sprigs thyme
  • 2 cups green lentils, rinsed and drained
  • Healthy drizzle of your finest, best quality olive oil
  • Salt

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Toss the sweet potatoes with 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, the maple syrup, and one pinch of chili flakes.  Roast, stirring occasionally, until caramelized and a paring knife slips easily through a piece, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the additional two tablespoons of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium low heat.  Add the remaining pinch of chili flakes, onion, carrot, garlic, oregano, pepper, and thyme.  Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are a bit softened and just beginning to brown.  Add the lentils and four cups of cold water.  Bring to a boil over high heat, turn down to low, cover and simmer for about 40 minutes or until the lentils are soft.

Let the lentils cool to room temperature.  Fold the lentils together with the sweet potatoes.  Drizzle with your good olive oil, sprinkle with salt and serve.

4 thoughts on “GOOPy

    1. @ Souffle – GOOP, really? How could I not pick on that? Truth be told, I never tried that recipe again like I intended to. I found Anne Burrel’s lentils instead. So my GOOPy days are behind me.

  1. I’m behind the times because I just learned about GOOP, and haven’t been to the site yet. (I did read an article on GP in Vogue yesterday that talked about her new cookbook coming out.) But I have seen parts of her TV show with Mario Batali, and I picked up some of that condescending vibe. I’ll heed your warning though, and stick to Anne Burrell’s lentils (when I finally get to Whole Foods to buy green ones)!

  2. Jen, I don’t mean to scare you away from GOOP. It just wasn’t for me and chose to be all snarky about saying so.

    But Anne Burrell’s lentils? Heavenly. And I’ve seen the french green lentils at The Fresh Market (on Greenspring Ave) and MOM’s.

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