I did already do a review of sorts, but in video form. If you haven’t but would like to see what I had to say, it begins at about 2:30 into this silly little 6 minute video I did in advance of the Labor Day weekend.
I have four cookbooks to review and I had intended to do them all in one post but have decided otherwise (this is the true virtue of procrastination, where you refine your ideas while putting off doing them). In the end I figured it would be better for the authors themselves to have posts exclusive to their work, that can stand individually over time.
I love this book, actually. In fact, I love it so much that a short and to the point review is probably called for. The reason is as basic and simple as the book is itself.
One of the appealing aspects of paleo or Primal in the first place is its simplicity, so this cookbook holds firmly to this attractive theme. Paleo, at base, is about less processing, not more; less complexity, not more; more comfort, not less; closer to food in its natural state, not father away.
Don’t get me wrong. I occasionally love to do complex dishes, like something from an old French cookbook and to immerse myself in the task for an entire Saturday, from sunrise and getting out of bed, making my list of ingredients, shopping, staging, sipping on a scotch as I dig in, and then keeping a sane kitchen the whole way (my mother taught me to clean the kitchen as I go), until time to serve guests at 8pm.
And this cookbook does not disappoint in that regard. there are a decent number of more complex dishes you can enjoy preparing for hours, to the eventual enjoyment of friends and family. And yet, the preponderance of the cookbook focusses on relatively simple dishes that only look complex, so my only “criticism,” really, is that the full color photos to showcase every single dish might scare people off. But dive right in. Yes, you really can make simply prepared food look that good.
I adore the “Comfort Foods” theme. Who doesn’t love sausage? Meatloaf? Fried Chicken? Gravy? Meatballs? Deviled Eggs? Wings? Burgers? Salsa? Guac? There are many others. And most notably for me, there is an extensive section on various sauces & dips, things that are simple and easy to prepare but really launch your preparation to the next level. Not only do many of the dishes sport a short list of ingredients (as few as two), many also have a very short list of steps to prepare (as few as two).
You will impress your friends and when you tell them it’s all about a fat loss and health plan, you’ll have their interest a lot sooner than telling them you’re on a new “diet.”
Another thing to note is that there is a clear Southern theme throughout. I know this because I grew up eating fried Okra, too. If you like Southern flair but want to know how to do it in a way that gives, rather than saps your energy, this book is for you.
I could go on, but I want to put an idea out there. The paleo Conventional Wisdom (PCW) says that you Google, find a blog, buy a book on paleo, become just slightly less knowledgeable than a PhD anthropologist about the roots and basis of your new experiment: eat eggs, bland veggies, grilled meat, eggs, bland veggies, grilled meat; wash, rinse, repeat…until such time as you go whoa, and then you buy a cookbook and begin getting a bit more sophisticated with your cooking lifestyle.
I have a modest proposal, and this applies most particularly to the few hundreds of you every day who just stumbled or Googled in here on some search and you’re intrigued.
What if you just got a cookbook first, and gave it a try? What if you let the food guide everything else?
I would be happy for those of you who have the cookbook and have tried a recipe or two, or three, or a dozen, let us know what you think in comments.