Thursday, 16 February 2012

Take a leaf out of Gwyneth's book

There is nothing, I repeat, nothing, entertaining about salads. Eating one is about as much fun as being stuck on a National Express coach to Aberdeen with a delegation of IBS sufferers.

It’s true that salads can occasionally be delicious, but only when they’re slathered in enough blue cheese or creamy dressing to give Tom Daley a heart attack. Otherwise, it’s just a bowlful of foliage, that you’re resigned to munching your way through, like a depressed dairy cow facing yet another day of cud.

So it’s bizarre that one of last year’s most amusing internet memes was the surreal ‘women laughing alone with salad’. Obviously originated by an eagle-eyed art director, it identified a curious new cliché in the stock photography archives. Anyone who’s ever spent a long afternoon wading through Corbis or Shutterstock will be aware of the uninspired trends that already exist – business men shaking hands in airports, pastel-clad pensioners strolling along the beach – but ‘women laughing alone with salad’ took things to new heights of surrealism.

Try Googling the phrase and see how many examples there are of this bizarrely popular scenario. Gorgeous women in brightly lit kitchens, sitting with a perfectly poised fork and laughing like lunatics, as though their cherry tomato is running through half an hour of Sarah Millican’s best material. Unlike most women, who’ve resigned themselves to sighing and grumbling their way through a plastic bowl full of Flymo cuttings, these tittering tits are chuckling heartily at their radicchio.

Well, now we can add Oscar winner, country singer and sanctimonious web mistress Gwyneth Paltrow to their giggling ranks, as it appears that Mrs Martin is now advertising salad in Austria. Accompanied by the caption “I’m not vegetarian, but I love veggie!”, everyone’s favourite A-list homemaker can be seen chowing down on a salad, with a grin on her face that suggests her 100 calorie lunch just told her the one about two nuns in a whorehouse.

Gwyneth has more than a passing familiarity with flogging healthy eating to the masses, but she usually does it on her website Goop. In between plugs for her favourite yoga instructors and Moroccan cushion embroiderers, Gwyneth tells us how to rustle up a tofu and nut loaf fit for Stella McCartney, or throw together a kelp and quinoa facial mask that can be worn during your morning vocal exercises. The only problem, of course, is that Gwyneth seems to think that her Excel-spreadsheet-controlled life, is attainable for the average housewife. Call me a cynic, but I don’t think Gwyneth’s ever wandered round Tesco, oblivious to the fact that her cardigan’s on inside out.

Even so, it’s nice to see that even Gwyneth sometimes finds preparing food from scratch to be too much like hard work. She’s just like us, and sometimes is happy to simply tear open a plastic bag full of pre-washed leaves. The difference is, she looks like she enjoys it.

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