Cooking Paleo-Style Meals Is Easy

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If you are
like me, you cringe when you open a cookbook and flip through the
recipes only to see an ingredient list a mile long. And then you
glance at the preparation steps that are the equivalent of a long
essay. For busy folks, this can be mentally defeating to the point
of having no further interest in any recipe, in spite of the tempting
photos.

A wonderful
new cookbook has just hit the stands, and it rejects that nonsense
in favor of offering up painless prescriptions for individuals who
wish to shun the convenience in a box or bag, and control what feeds
their bodies, Paleo
Comfort Foods: Homestyle Cooking in a Gluten-Free Kitchen
,
which is available at Amazon now.

I received
a review copy from the authors, Julie and Charles Mayfield, because
I have a desire to bring to folks any tools that can assist them
in their journey from the SAD (Standard American Diet) toward a
real-food lifestyle that offers them long-term health and the joy
of being self-sufficient in the kitchen. This book is a marvelous
tool that will help individuals to deep-six the Lean Cuisine and
Hot Pockets monstrosities and unleash their inner chef.

Upon receiving
the book, I experienced some immediate skepticism — the book was
very large and the short chapters at the front presented some very
large type. As I thumbed through the early chapters, however, I
noticed the colors and layout popped out at me in a pleasant sort
of way. The type size calmed down for the actual recipes, and the
larger size of the book even grew on me after a while. The book
is easy to fling around in the kitchen as you are moving about and
putting together your next remarkable meal. I also questioned the
word “Comfort” in the title, that is, until I discovered, in the
introduction, that there is some Southern influence behind this
book. The Southernisms are a bonus, especially when you note some
of the traditional, carb-loaded Southern foods mellowed out paleo-style
for your health-nut lifestyle. The recipes for okra, collard greens,
green fried tomatoes (using almond flour), and paleo grits are an
indicator that the book is a wee bit different than your usual paleo
cookbook. I have already made the collard greens recipe using my
pastured bacon and ham hocks from a half hog I just welcomed into
my freezer two weeks ago. A raging success!

My personal
belief is that recipe books are a compilation of suggestions, and
it is up to the reader to use the suggestions and build upon them
through customization. The book’s introduction contains a confirmation
of this when the authors state that:

This cookbook
is not meant to be all things to all people. Rather, it is intended
for those who want to expand their “real foods” cooking repertoire,
learn a few bits here and there, and maybe get some creative ideas
on adapting recipes to these frameworks.

That is what
this cookbook promises, and it succeeds. Not only is it an outstanding
tool for expanding your catalog of food preparation ideas, but also,
it is the perfect starter kit for the raw beginner who thinks he
can’t cook and doesn’t know where to start. The book starts
out with some real basic stuff for beginners — kitchen foods and
cooking tools. A number of people write me often and tell me they
have been relying on convenience foods for so long that they do
not know where to start, what to get, and how to put things together.
Since this is a cookbook that embraces a particular lifestyle —
paleo or real food — it has the starter guide that many folks need
and deserve to have in any cookbook.

On the other
hand, this book is also a valuable resource for seasoned paleo and
real-foodist pros, too. I am very creative and experimental in the
kitchen, and this book only adds to my innovativeness. Many of the
recipes, I find, are great to start from and customize to your own
taste and desire. The authors include “Variations” with many of
the recipes, and these are gentle reminders that there’s more than
one way to skin a cat on any recipe in the book. Julie and Charles
also include some “Tips & Tricks” and “Ingredient Notes” throughout
the collection of recipes.

One point worth
mentioning when reviewing any paleo cookbook is that the recipes
reject the standard industrial oils, wheat, and the usual sweet
frills. Instead, the recipes use items not found in the average
American kitchen: nut oils, coconut oil, coconut milk, almond meal
or almond flour, coconut butter, clarified butter (you can buy ghee),
etc. The average person might need to buy a few staples of the paleo
lifestyle to get going in the kitchen. Whole Foods and Amazon.com
are good resources for this one-time shopping binge.

As one new
to cooking, you might want to know — what is the single best thing
about this cookbook? The answer is that there is a photo (or two)
for every single recipe in the book. Yes, people are still publishing
cookbooks without photos, which I find to be intolerable. As a creator
of food on the suggestions of others, I want to work toward the
visual that appears before me, even if I change up a few items to
reflect my peculiar inclinations. Visual people want photos,
especially if they are newbies to cooking with a lot of real foods,
making stuff from scratch. The book’s photos are outstanding and
tempted me to stick page markers on one-third of the recipe pages.

What is also
notable is that Julie and Charles include recipes for some of my
favorite paleo staples such as homemade mayonnaise, tarter sauce,
and ketchup. Handcrafting these items with simple recipes allows
you to avoid the high-fructose corn syrup and soybean oil typically
found in the shelf version of these products. They also include
recipes for stocks (chicken and crawfish) and sauces that can be
used with various concoctions. The overall recipe coverage is there:
starters and snacks, sauces and staples, soups and sales, side dishes,
main dishes, and sugar-denying desserts.

Almost none
of the recipes within this book are time-consuming or difficult,
even for the newbie who swears he “can’t boil water.” This is easy
stuff, folks, and I would not mislead you on that fact. Wheat-free
pumpkin pancakes, fish tacos, peanut sauce, and meat-stuffed acorn
squash — they can all be made in short time with minimal mess.

Furthermore,
note that the paleo or real-food way is the opposite of a diet —
it is a lifestyle that will allow you to rediscover real, nutritious
food, with a smattering of resources at your disposal, with the
most important being the roadmap, or cookbook, that will guide you
toward developing accountability for your own long-term health outlook.

Be forewarned:
buying this book will force you to invert the federal food pyramid
and deny its authority while claiming the mantle of heresy.

September
20, 2011

Karen De Coster, CPA [send
her mail
] is
an accounting/finance professional in the healthcare industry and
a freelance writer/blogger. She writes about the medical establishment,
Big Pharma, Big Agra, the Corporate State, health totalitarianism,
lifestyle fascism, industrial-medical-pharmaceutical complex, and
essentially, anything that encroaches upon the freedom of her fellow
human beings. She is a proponent of ancestral health and the natural,
eco-ag farming community, and she opposes the Fed’s anti-food choice
totalitarianism. This is her LewRockwell.com
archive
and her Mises.org
archive
. Check out her
website
. Follow her on Twitter @karendecoster.

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