In Defense Of Foodie Gwyneth Paltrow
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Criticism still abounds regarding Gwyneth Paltrow’s participation in Mario Batali’s Road Tripping Foodie Experience; Spain: On the Road Again. Yes, It is hard to believe a veggie leaning macrobiotic could enjoy the carnivorous diet that pervades in Spain. While there are indeed, very obnoxious elements in the PBS series (Caravanning convertible Mercedes’, picking up Micheal Stipe as a hitchhiker, waxing philosophical about Frank Gehry’s architecture over brunch) Paltrow is rarely one of them. People love to hate Gwyneth!
Each of the four travellers seem to serve distinct purposes. Mark Bittman is Batali’s chef foil often grouchy but down to earth, Claudia Bassols is a native of Catalonia, easy on the eyes and counters Bitty’s constitution with eternal optimism. Batali and Paltrow are often the stars of the trip, exchanging witty repartee and an underlying sense of flirtation. They have both spent a lot of time in Spain, and both speak Spanish fluently. Gwennie actually has a wonderful Castilian accent, having learned Spanish while abroad in college. Of course her appearance garners ratings, and that may be be her underlying purpose, but she is so much more!
Having travelled through Spain with a Vegetarian, I know how difficult it is to find anything edible. Paella and Pan get old very quickly. With Paltrow in tow, the show highlights options for those who don’t eat meat. Of course, it is plausible that as a non-academy award winner with a bad Spanish accent, I wouldn’t have been greeted as graciously with vegetarian food options as Ms. Paltrow appears to have been.