Among the recent glut of cookbooks by women who have found fame in fields other than cooking, one or two appear to have a genuine reason to exist, outside the desire to capitalize on celebrity before it fades to black.
Rocker Sheryl Crow certainly has a passion to help fellow cancer survivors in "If It Makes You Healthy," while actress Alicia Silverstone pushes for a vegan lifestyle in "The Kind Diet" to save the planet. "Real New Jersey Housewife" Teresa Giudice inadvertently makes the case for better cookbook editing in "Fabulicious!"
The celebrity cookbook — as opposed to the celebrity-chef cookbook — fares well in the marketplace. As of Friday, Gwyneth Paltrow's "My Father's Daughter" was sitting atop Amazon's best-selling cookbook list. Eva Longoria's "Eva's Kitchen" hovered in the No. 29 spot, while Crow's book checked in at No. 56, outselling some chef-driven cookbooks such as those by Jamie Oliver, Mario Batali and many others.
There are things to admire in these books, and things to regret: Easy recipes. Healthful recipes. Not particularly original recipes. Downright comical recipes. Vanity, warmth, generosity and an obsessive devotion to offspring.