Cookbooks: Well Fed 2 Review and Giveaway!
The second edition of Melissa Joulwan’s best-selling paleo cookbook is — no hyperbole here — even better than the first. Those adhering to a paleo diet, going for the Whole 30, or even just looking for new recipes for homemade condiments, spice mixes, sausages and ways to soup-up vegetables will all find joy in Well Fed 2.
The introductory sections of the book cover everything from basic cooking lessons (What is a “pinch”? What is a “simmer”?) to why a person would want to try eating a paleo diet, and more specifically, try the Whole30 challenge (“When you take out the non-food and replace it with real food … you can throw off the shackles of calorie counting … and just eat. Peacefully. Healthfully. Robustly.”) all without feeling like you are being indoctrinated into some weird cult of personality. Melissa has a friendly, funny way of speaking gently to the fear and resistance we all are familiar with when approached with change, and making it not scary. She includes tips on how to stick to your guns in the face of social pressures; positive motivational stories from her own experiences; and a detailed list of paleo pantry staples to help you stay on the wagon.
I personally am very familiar with the paleo diet and Whole30 (though I’ve never had the cajones to try it myself) and have been enjoying Melissa’s recipes for a couple of years now through her blog and her first book, Well Fed. What I love about her recipes is that this girl likes to EAT. I mean, she truly appreciates bold flavors and new combinations and is constantly experimenting in the kitchen to find ways of making old favorites (like pizza, Chinese take-out, and nachos) into edibles that won’t kill you if you you eat them every day. She also draws heavily from her wordly travels and restauranteur parents to come up with home versions of exotic fare.
A large portion of the recipes section is devoted to homemade condiments and sauces like hoisin and ginger salad dressing as well as a few basic spice blends that are used throughout the book, and I imagine could be used for any number of things your brain might tell you to use them in. From these, I tried the Almost Amba (a mango-based, spiced sauce that happens to go awesome on grilled chicken) and the Lizard Sauce ( a mildly spicy Costa Rican salsa) and I’m overjoyed that I still have some of them both in our refrigerator for adding interest to future dinners.
Most of the recipe section is dedicated to proteins of all sorts, one of the funnest sections being “Burgers, Balls, and Bangers”. The concept is simple — multiple recipes for seasoned meat mixtures that may be formed into burgers, meatballs, or sausages depending on your mood — but so well-executed. She took inspiration from the sausages of the world to come up with 15 recipes for beef, pork, lamb or chicken that will seriously impress anyone. The Thai green curry meatballs and Turkish doner kebab are delicious in every way.
Beyond burgers, balls and bangers, there are also slightly more complicated main dishes like scrambles, stews, and stir fries. Thai Basil Beef hit all the right spots, as did the Deconstructed Gyro. Snacky things like Plantain Nachos and Tod Mun Chicken Cakes were a huge success in my house. The vegetable dishes are also beautifully inspiring: Balsamic-Grilled Butternut, Sesame Cucumber Noodles (yay!) and Pink Grapefruit Salad (double yay!). These would be welcome at any potluck, with no askance glances from your pasta-loving family.
For serious paleo dieters, there is also a large appendix at the end for sourcing ingredients and support. And for people following the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) Melissa has thoughtfully addressed each recipe in the appendix, explaining how to modify them for AIP diets.
As with the first volume, the recipe instructions and ingredients are clearly laid-out and easy to understand even for novice cooks. Each recipe has menu ideas and many suggestions and variations for people who enjoy experimenting with recipes. The food photography (by Melissa’s husband, Dave) is outstanding. A preview of the book is available on Melissa’s website if you would like to see more.
Between the recipes themselves and Melissa’s warm presentation, anyone who loves to eat everything will love this book. Highly recommended.
WELL FED 2 GIVEAWAY!
Melissa is giving away a print copy of Well Fed 2 to one lucky person here! To enter, please “like” her Facebook page and then come back to this window and leave a comment here telling me what your favorite fall or winter foods are! Contest begins now, Friday October 18, 2013 and ends Friday October 25 at noon CST.
I’ll choose a winner at random from those who’ve commented here (please only comment once!) and announce the winner Saturday morning, October 26. Make sure you leave a valid email address (which will remain private of course!) with your comment so that I can contact you for your mailing address. Thanks, everyone! Good luck!