Cookbook: The Paleo Kitchen: Finding Primal Joy in Modern Cooking by Juli Bauer of PaleOMG & George Bryant of Civilized Caveman
Overall Impression: This book is a great resource for people interested in trying out the Paleo lifestyle without having to sacrifice their favorite comfort foods!
The Paleo diet has gained a huge following these past several years. The diet claims to follow the blueprint of what our ancestors ate and excludes things thought to be difficult to digest such as grains, legumes, dairy, processed oils, and refined sugars. You might be staring at me blankly right now thinking, "Well, then what the heck am I supposed to eat — sounds like a bummer." I hear you.
Recipes I Tried
- Biscuits & Gravy (pg. 93)
- Fluffy Blueberry Pancakes (pg. 95)
- Savory Beef Chili (pg. 139)
But when I opened this lovely book and saw all of the vibrant and indulgent-looking recipes there was nothing bummer-like about it. Juli and George do a really great job of coming up with food that anyone would want to eat, Paleo or not.
As someone who already eats gluten-free and largely grain-free, I was really excited when this book showed up on my doorstep. It's written by popular bloggers Juli of PaleOMG and her friend George of Civilized Caveman (you may remember George as a winner in our 2013 Homies Awards!).
Cooking From The Paleo Kitchen:
It was hard to narrow down the recipes I wanted to test from this cookbook. It's beautifully shot and contains foods that speak to my heart, like candied bacon and brownies. I mean, duh. But, as a person who has tried a lot of grain-free pancakes, I thought I would test out the recipe in this book to see how they stack up. (Get it? Pancake puns!)
When I've tried Paleo pancakes in the past, they have been those banana + almond milk + egg numbers that come out like very sad crêpes. They are slightly mushy, and as a pancake lover, I am insulted to call them pancakes — I feel a pancake should be buttery, fluffy, and thicker than a gosh-dang crepe.
I can say without hesitation that the pancakes in this book are not anywhere near the oh-so-popular Sad Crêpes of our time. They are the real deal. I made them three times. I never managed to get a picture of them because I was too busy shoving them in my face. Even my gluten-loving, grain-eating husband gobbled them down without any hesitation!
Sorry for no photograph, but sometimes you just get really busy eating really good pancakes. You can get the idea from the dreamy photo from their book (pictured above), because mine turned out quite similar.
Next up were biscuits and gravy! How would two things that traditionally require tons of flour stack up? I needed to find out. The biscuits were made out of cooked sweet potato and coconut flour. The gravy used the addition of arrowroot powder as a thickener to give it that gravy-like consistency and subbed in coconut milk for the dairy.
I was skeptical. But the final product was rich and delicious. My only complaint was that the dish didn't keep very well. The arrowroot powder in the gravy becomes a bit gummy if you try to reheat things. It's one of those dishes that is best eaten right away.
Third, I decided to make their Savory Beef Chili recipe. This is a crock-pot recipe that is full of flavor and easy to make. I was taught to make a three bean chili when I was growing up, so the idea of chili without beans seemed foreign to me. But with all the spices and the veggies you hardly miss the beans. It's not the chili that I grew up with, but I would definitely make it again. One recipe makes quite a bit. I found myself eating it for breakfast with chunks of avocado. Then for lunch over spinach. Then for dinner all over again.
What Could Be Better
Like any specialty cookbook that caters to a certain lifestyle (be it Paleo, gluten-free, raw, vegan, etc.), there are some ingredients that you might have to source that don't come from your usual grocery haul (arrowroot powder — say whaaat?!). But that is to be expected. Juli and George walk you through everything and provide lists galore in order to properly guide your cooking endeavors and ingredient hunting. So it's pretty easy. Thumbs up, guys.
Overall, I loved the way this book was put together. They take their time in introducing you to the Paleo diet and what it means. They help you put together a Paleo kitchen, and share with you their personal stories. By the time you get to cooking you feel like you know them. When you think about Paleo you might think that it sounds very restrictive (no grains? no beans? what the what?), but the book doesn't leave you wanting for anything. They include recipes for pulled pork nachos, cinnamon rolls, and countless other comfort foods done up Paleo-style.
This book was a pleasure to cook from and I can't wait to try more recipes. That is, if I can just calm down and stop making pancakes.
Find the book at your local library, independent bookstore, or Amazon: The Paleo Kitchen: Finding Primal Joy in Modern Cooking by Juli Bauer & George Bryant
Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. However, the manufacturer did give us the product for testing and review purposes.
(Image credits: Gina Biancaniello)