Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Fair Winds Press; 1 edition (December 1, 2012)
Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (239 customer reviews)
Best Sellers Rank: #56,273 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #72 in Books > Health, Fitness & Dieting > Diets & Weight Loss > Low Fat #152 in Books > Cookbooks, Food & Wine > Cooking by Ingredient > Natural Foods #153 in Books > Cookbooks, Food & Wine > Special Diet > Low Carbohydrate
The doctor put my husband on a modified paleo diet, six months ago, to help him get his blood sugar under control. In his case, it means no grain and no white potatoes; he isn't tied to restrictions on beans or dairy. Nonetheless "no grain" means it's difficult for him (and thus me!) to figure out what to cook for dinner.So I've been going through a lot of paleo cookbooks at the library. A few of them were good, but it didn't take us two days before we declared, "This is the one we want to own."That's because this isn't just a good cookbook for those who must do without, full of "well if you can't have the REAL thing here's a substitute that doesn't suck much." 500 Paleo Recipes is a damned fine cookbook for anyone who wants to make something yummy for dinner. Or for breakfast. Or dessert.For example, I made her saute of pork with apples and onion for dinner, a simple-to-throw-together dish that was fine for a weekday night. Venison chili (with red wine, beef broth, chile in adobe, and 1/2 ounce of bitter chocolate) was outstanding -- just the sort of dish you want as leftovers, too. Nobody would know that's "paleo;" they only would want to know if they can have seconds.However, the cookbook also does a good job for the dishes that were making my husband sigh in discontent. Some foods just demand to be served over mashed potatoes, for instance. As I saw in other paleo cookbooks, "Fauxtatoes" uses fresh cauliflower (others use frozen, which honestly is more convenient), and then she helps you kick up variations with caramelized onions and mushrooms. The celeriac puree was an eye-opener: it tasted like lighter mashed potatoes with a light celery overtone, and a serving is 10 (just 10!) calories. And it's no more of a fuss to make than "regular.
This Paleo cookbook is fantastic. I like the writing style of the author and her tastebuds and my tastebuds are similar. She uses lots of Paleo ingredients I really enjoy: avocado, coconut butter, eggs, seafood, bacon and bacon fat, anchovies (I'm SUCH a fan of them as in ingredient) and the rare umami taste I crave so much.It doesn't bug me that there are no pictures... some of my best cookbooks don't have photographs. If you follow the directions, you should be fine without a visual. In my humble opinion most cookbooks are all glossy pretty pictures and no substance, if you get my meaning. More eye candy than actual candy anyway. And having had worked in lifestyle publishing for over a decade I can tell you that many of those photographs aren't of the actual recipe anyway. (Yes, really!)So moving on to the recipes themselves... I really found some fantastic ideas and food in this book. Just to name a few of my favorites: the pork rind pancakes are delicious, the beef cauli-rice side dish, the eggplant spread, the pecan catfish. That's off the top of my head, there are more I love. Also, despite what you will read below, she had some really easy takes on popular Paleo base items like "bone broth," demi-glace, coconut milk and coconut butter.One of my personal favorites (and worth the value of the book itself) are the recipes for umami, both liquid and powder form. Fabulous! It's like bottled magic. That stuff is seriously addictive. For those of you who really like to get down in your kitchen with the food processor and have some time on your hands, there is also a great recipe for sunflower seed crackers.But on that point is where I would have my issues with this book. Some of the recipes are a pretty complicated and sometimes unnecessarily so.
I ordered this book before it was published, and just received it.When buying cook books I fall into two categories: (1) Wanting lots of pictures, mainly so I can ignore most of the recipes and just use the pictures as inspiration, and (2) Wanting no pictures, but lots of quality recipe ideas.This book falls into the second category - there are no pictures. (Unless a clipart representation of a flame counts.)Instead you will find lots of recipes that conform to paleo guidelines. Luckily for those of us who would rather jump off a cliff (possibly fleeing a now-extinct large animal) than surrender our cheese and milk, the author acknowledges this fact and "won't think any less of us for adding dairy where appropriate". Praise Primal!There's a decent explanation of what the paleo movement is at the beginning. "Controversial" ingredients are covered, explaining why they're acceptable or not. While I understand the logic behind allowing stevia, personally it's on my prohibited list. Several other commercial products are also referenced, which dogmatic purists may not appreciate. (I'll allow canned coconut milk; that's about as processed as I'll go.)Ingredient-wise the recipes have got everything needed to be complete and tasty. (Disclaimer: the first thing I do when making new recipes is ignore the quantities, so I only ever gather the ingredients called-for and follow the general directions.) Some of them are very simple (bacon and brussels sprouts is a classic, after all) and others are more involved. The accompanying instructions are clear (though I've tried the method listed for mayo and ended up with not-mayo more times than I've ended up with mayo; providing the fix if it splits would have been a useful addition.
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