A recent article in the New York Times about cookbook ghostwriters included a photo caption naming Julia Turshen as Gwyneth Paltrow’s ghostwriter on her cookbook, My Father’s Daughter. Sure! I mean, Gwyneth Paltrow is a movie star and a mother of two. She’s married to an international “rock” star. And to make matters worse, the $2,300 coffee machine is broken. The point is, she’s busy. Oh, I also forgot to mention, in case it needs to be said: she’s not a writer! (Or a cook for that matter, but let’s not make things TOO complicated for ourselves.) It just makes sense that she would have a ghostwriter for her cookbook. But Gwyneth Paltrow took to Twitter over the weekend to refute these outrageous claims. “Love @nytimes dining section but this weeks facts need checking. No ghost writer on my cookbook, I wrote every word myself,” she wrote. Haha, right. No, totally. If there are two things that this Tweet clears up, it’s that Gwyneth Paltrow definitely wrote every word in her cookbook, because she says that she did, and that the New York Times needs a better fact-checking department, because they just print stuff that is probably made up, like this paragraph:

Julia Turshen, who is writing a second cookbook with Gwyneth Paltrow after their collaboration on “My Father’s Daughter,” began as the ghostwriter for the ghostwriter on a book by Mario Batali, tagging along with a notebook as the chef filmed a culinary romp through Spain.

What is going on with this war on fact-checkers?

Like, did you guys pay attention to the whole This American Life versus Mike Daisey thing last week? I haven’t listened to the exculpatory follow-up episode, but I heard the original Daisey episode about conditions in the Foxconn factory that produces Apple products, and I read This American Life‘s press release explaining the errors, borrowed anecdotes, and whole-cloth fabrications. Eek! Perhaps the most egregious aspects of that story are how he claims that his work is simply “theater,” when he absolutely 100% positions himself as an (albeit amateur) journalist attempting to discover FACTS and TRUTH, but even more importantly that he just straight-up lied to the TAL fact checking department who were CHECKING THE FACTS of his piece. You don’t get to lie to a fact-checking department AND claim after the fact that it was just theater and you’re an entertainer. “Oh, I thought you were just fact-checking my ostensibly journalistic work as a GOOF.”

What does Gwyneth Paltrow even care? I mean, the number of people who are going to actually even bother to read a New York Times article about what it’s like to ghostwrite cookbooks is already crazy small, and from that you only have a small subsection of people who care about the Gwyneth Paltrow reference, and from there it’s an even smaller subset of people who would actually have a negative opinion (or any opinion at all) about her using a ghostwriter. If anything, she’s drawing way more attention to the whole situation than was ever necessary, but that’s how Impossible Narcissism works. You can’t just flip the switch on that shit! But to accuse one of the world’s most venerable and respected journalistic institutions of printing falsehoods like her stupid fucking cookbook is THE RUN-UP TO THE WAR IN IRAQ is pretty egregious. And so unlike her. Normally Gwyneth Paltrow is just such a refreshingly down-to-Earth real human being who totally keeps things in perspective and hardly even thinks about herself. Odd. Besides, doesn’t she have something better to do with her time? Shouldn’t she be busy picking out the perfect mid-century bidet for Blue Ivy’s First Summer Home or something? At the very least, it’s surprising that she has time to get into it with the New York Times since apparently she’s writing every word of a whole new cookbook all by herself. It’s going to be so good writtens! (Via TheJaneDough.)

Comments (58)
  1. “Julia Turshen began as the ghostwriter for the ghostwriter on a book by Mario Batali…”

    Does this mean that someone was hired to ghostwrite a book by Mario Batalie, for, say, $20,000, and the person then SUBCONTRACTED the job to Julia Turshen for, say, $12,000?

    If so, that is freaking brilliant!

  2. Gwyneth Paltrow should use a fact checker herself, like the time she was on a talk show and said that Country Strong* was a fantastic movie and well worth my time.

    *Also, Duets, Bounce, Shallow Hal, The Pallbearer, A View From The Top, Running With Scissors, Great Expectations, The Heartbreak Kid, and Sky Captain and The World of Tomorrow.

  3. So does this mean that her father’s daughter is Julia Turshen? So they’re sisters?

  4. To be fair, all the ghostwriter did is take out the recipes where Tracy Anderson tells you to just eat baby food for a month. Like mixing two baby foods together or putting one baby food in another like a parfait or just appreciating a single flavor of baby food: cutting out the three chapters devoted to baby food recipes to stay skinny isn’t really “ghostwriting” so much as it’s “uncray-craying” which is different union and pay grade.

  5. “I definitely wrote every word myself”

    I think all this proves is that Julia Turshen also ghostwrites Paltrow’s twitter feed.

  6. I’m confused about how the two issues are related. The TAL thing actually lends legitimacy to Gwyneth’s claims by showing that fact-checkers don’t always do a good job of checking the facts.

  7. I want a cookbook written by a ghost.

  8. I think it’s less likely that Paltrow is directly lying, and more that she just doesn’t understand how writing works.
    I bet she sat down with her recipe box, thought about some stuff that she likes to eat, called some of her chef friends, and then worked with a professional chef to make all the recipes cookbook-ready.
    And then she sat down with this writer and told her a little story about each recipe, and what it means to her and whatever, then the writer turned those into actual paragraphs, and GP looked at them and said “I like this one” and “This one needs more name-dropping.”
    I’m guessing that GP didn’t just completely have it written, because she seems into herself enough to think that if it’s not her ideas it’s garbage. I think she doesn’t know what an “author” is.

    • I absolutely agree with this. However, it’s also possible that Gwyneth’s handlers had to position her ghost writer in a way that she may not have known she wasn’t writing the book herself. I’ve seen in happen in real life with not famous people so those who have an insular network of yes-people are probably more likely to not understand how an actual book is written and, instead, assumes the scraps of paper and dictated recipes and anecdotes magically fused themselves together to create a cookbook… possibly with the help of elves.

    • I think she understands the industry. She’s very smart, she’s just a bitch.

      • I take issue with this. How do we know she’s smart? Because she went to Spence? Big deal. She went to UC Santa Barbara and dropped out after a semester. And how do we know she’s actually a bitch? Self-absorbed, sure. Out of touch? Definitely. But a bitch? Eh…

        I am honestly at a point where I think she’s doing this kind of stuff to drum up negative attention so GOOP gets more hits and she’s still on the cultural radar. I don’t think that necessarily makes her smart, but probably more savvy than others.

        • I think she is smart, but I’ve never met her so you could very well be right. I’ll tell you why I think she’s smart. She comes across smart in interviews and she’s made a lot of money selling snake Also her Spanish is really really good and her accent is superb. So is she Einstein – no? But is she a smart lady? Sure, probably. Could she be a puppet dumb ass…it’s possible, but I just don’t think so. I think she’s just lost touch with reality. She knows she didn’t really write it but writing it and producing it are two different things. She probably told them what to write, I doubt she wrote every word…but did she read every word? I think she may have.

  9. GP also wrote her character for the film Se7en. At first Brad Pitt’s character was single, and the movie ended with him getting really mad and arresting Kevin Spacey. But Gwyneth said “I know a way to make this scene more emotionally resonant with your viewers. I’ll tell you what’s in the box.”

  10. Also, Julie & Julia was actually written by Julia.

  11. In the reality where she entered the sliding doors she DID write every word, in the reality where she opted out of walking through the sliding doors she had a ghost writer. Case and sliding doors closed! NEXT!

  12. The thing where that guy defends his reporting as just “theater” is so insane. Like, Heaven’s Gate, War on Birth Control, I don’t even know where to begin insane. That guy should never be allowed to work anywhere or talk to people.

    He’ll probably end up a killionaire with a jlllion friends.

  13. Please, next you’re going to say the weightlifting snowman isn’t real.

  14. You’d figure the city of NY would have a little more respect for her after what the firefighters, police, and Gwyneth did on that day.

  15. Fucking amateurs – Stephen Glass

  16. I read this article when it came out because, well, I’m a foodie and I love cookbooks. Of course celebrities and chefs don’t write their own cookbooks – at least not most of the time – and I find it interesting to figure out who does and how they do it. Paltrow seems to be so far up her own ass that she can’t even credit the person who really did the work with her book’s success. So disgusting.

  17. Jeez, what’s next? Is Ira Glass going to issue a retraction saying that Gabe is not, in fact, an asshole?

  18. “Wait, Gwenyth Paltrow is in that new motorcycle themed Nicholas Cage movie?” — Guy who hears Ts as Ds and ignores most of the words in blog posts.

  19. (stares nervously at his Mark Bittman cookbooks on the shelf…)

  20. Fucking liars – Ira Glass

  21. “I don’t think it means what you think it means”- Inigo Montoya

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