I love going to the mailbox. You just never know what’s lurking in there. So imagine my surprise to find a cookbook that wasn’t even available to the general public yet! It was like Christmas in September.
But let me back up for a second. I do some marketing work, so I’ve been watching Paleo’s progression with interest. Sometime last year, Paleo mainstream consciousness began increasing (both positive and negative), and with that trend came the slew of books and cookbooks. Now, I’m a confident and experienced home chef, so cookbooks generally aren’t that useful for me. Sure, I like new ideas every now and again, but I tend to scour online sources for inspiration, and then end up giving something my own spin anyway.
But out of this new and ever-growing crowd, a few rise to the top. I loved The Paleo Parents‘ Eat Like a Dinosaur (reviewed here) for its kid-friendly focus. Melissa Joulwan‘s Well Fed is another that caught my eye for its international flavors. Julie and Charles Mayfield‘s Paleo Comfort Foods because…um, with a title like that, do I need to explain myself? And now I can confidently say that Tammy Credicott‘s Paleo Indulgences now has a proud spot on my cookbook shelf.
It’s spooky y’all—it’s like she read my mind and made recipes for all those things I ever wondered if they could be made Paleo. Like onion rings. I know, I know…onion rings are SO neolithic. You know what else they are? Damn good. Besides, if you’re that much of a stickler, what’re you doing reading this on your computer? Shouldn’t you be out scavenging for something?
The book itself is handsomely, yet cleanly, formatted. And thank you for that, because first-and-foremost, a cookbook should be LEGIBLE and easy to follow when you have a hot pan in one hand and greasy fingers on the other. The photos are so gorgeous, they look darn-near edible. Tammy, whose family has a range of allergy and intolerance issues, included a handy allergen guide for anyone who may need to steer clear of dairy, eggs, nuts, or fish. It’s organized into categories for reference: The Bakery, Today’s Specials, Restaurant Recreations, The Candy Counter, and The Ice Cream Shop. As those headings suggest, if your kids have been nagging you for “regular” food, this cookbook will save your life.
But don’t let the cover photo or all the rave reviews for the One-Minute Chocolate Cake fool you. There are plenty of non-baked, non-sweet items in here. Restaurant Recreations alone will have your mouth watering with anticipation for Mandarin Chicken, Asian Pork Lettuce Cups, and Salisbury Steak with Mushroom Gravy. That being said, many of the sweet treats in here (Gingerbread Mini-Loaves! Skinny-Mint Cookies! Chocolate-Hazelnut Thumbprints!) will likely end up being given out as gifts to my friends this holiday season.
I’m not one prone to irrational exuberance, but I’m so looking forward to cooking my way through this cookbook. The first recipe I tried was the Banana-Pecan Pancakes, made with pulverized fresh pecans and coconut flour as the base. As any proper 3-year-old would be, my daughter is a pancake fiend, and she ate four of these the first day and three the next. They were great hot out of the pan, but they also made fantastic leftovers for those rushed, trying-to-get-to-preschool-on-time mornings.
Then I had one of THOSE days. You know what I’m talking about. You don’t have any meat in the fridge ready to go, so you throw some ground meat on the counter to thaw. And then you’re like, “Hmm. We just had burgers a few days ago, taco salad last week, and meatballs are too high concept…” I flipped through Paleo Indulgences, landed on the Cincinnati Chili page, and said, “Yes, ma’am!” Cincinnati Chili is a different animal than the stuff I grew up with in New Mexico. It’s spiced rather eccentrically—cloves, cinnamon, allspice, and cocoa powder—and if you order it in its home city, it’ll be served over spaghetti. Obviously, ain’t no spaghetti happening in this house, so it was served over ribbon-sliced and garlic-sautéed kale. Totally hit the spot, and even my pancake-loving daughter cleaned her plate. It would be as equally lovely over spaghetti squash or zucchini “noodles.”
Next on my list: Orange Olive Oil Bread, Cinnamon-Swirl Rolls, Whoopie Pies, Breakfast Biscuit Bowls, those Onion Rings, Paleo Fish Sticks, and Broccoli Beef. The Sweet Potato Thyme Biscuits will be making an appearance on my table at Thanksgiving, and so might the No-Bake Pumpkin Tarts. There are also several options for bread-like foods when you just need that flavor and texture counter-balance to a meal.
This is the cookbook for anyone with kids, anyone who misses their old restaurant faves, those who like to give food as gifts, and those who enjoy spending time in the kitchen creating interesting, nourishing meals. This is food for real life, and thank goodness real life can be so tasty and healthy at the same time.
Amazon link here to purchase. Enjoy!