My First book Review: Make it Paleo

It feels like I’ve made it somehow.  This is the first time that I’ve been offered the chance to review someone else’s work here on my blog and it couldn’t come from two more amazing people.  Bill Staley and Hayley Mason are the minds behind Primal Palate and their recipes are all over the internet.  If you have been around the Paleo/Primal community for any length of time I’m sure that you’ve found your way over there at least once.  They always put up good-looking food and since coming out here to Pennsylvania it has been a secret hope of mine that I would find a way to run into them at some point.  Alas that hasn’t happened but I did get the chance to write about their book here on the blog.  A few weeks ago a tweet came up on my stream about how the couple was looking for some people to write reviews of the book.  I jumped at the chance, but didn’t know if I had enough fame here on the internet to be selected.  Well last week I got the email, and this week the book showed up.  Let me tell you a bit about it.

The book is nearly 500 pages long; it’s big and heavy and looks awesome.   From the very first page I was drawn into the work by the great photography that is throughout the work.   Getting into the first few pages I was struck by how well-organized everything was, it was a simple setup to allow the real star of the book to shine, the food.  Every page had images of at least one of the dishes that you could find in the book.  Reading through the beginning pages I wanted to skip ahead, and see what it was that I was going to need to dive into when I got into the kitchen.  I took the time to read everything, and I’m happy I did.  I wouldn’t have wanted to miss the introduction that is given before you get into the nuts and bolts of Paleo.  Both Hayley and Bill tell their stories and it really connected me to the book, I understood where they were coming from and how they found Paleo and each other.  I was invested in the work; I wanted to know more about them and about the food that they are so passionate about.  Passing the story they tell they jump into a very clear idea of what they are saying when they talk about Paleo, they acknowledge that there are other definitions used by people, but they want to be clear what they are talking about.  I always want to know how people structure their own ancestral approach to eating.  Sometimes it’s very similar to mine, other times it’s different, I like to know that from the start. 

Moving forward you get into the practical side of things, first up is how to stock your kitchen.  If you’re going to make this food you are definitely going to need some stuff.  Again the instructions are clear on what you should get, why you should go with one product or another, and some of the uses that you will have for that ingredient.  I loved the way that the fats were discussed especially, not only covering what fats, but what they were good for, and what they were not good for.  Talking about the fats and how to use them is always good because when you go Paleo you’re leaving the one size fits all approach of cheap vegetable oil behind.  Again pictures were numerous and really helped me remember what I was reading as I worked through the book.  Now that you’ve got your stuff it’s time to make some food.  But where do you begin, the book has so many recipes that you could eat for weeks and not get through them all.  As with the book up to this point the pictures look great and really draw you in.  The instructions are clear, and make it so that each recipe seems easy enough for anyone to take on.  Some of the pages have a bit about a personal connection to the particular dish and that really helped me to remember the foods that connected me to people.  Remembering various memories of myself in the kitchen with family members, and special occasions I was reminded of how central food is to us.  One dish that did not have a connection to the authors but does to me is Chocolate pie, it is my Father’s favorite dessert and I’ve been looking for a way to make that into something that I can share with him again.  I’m looking forward to this Thanksgiving when I can make the version found in Make It Paleo and make new memories together.  Throughout each recipe it is clear that Bill and Hayley have a deep love for food and health and bringing the two together through eating Paleo.  I look forward to working my way through the various recipes that I have already tagged as must make soon, and then sharing those foods with my family and friends when they spend time with me.

Overall the book is a great addition to anyone’s collection of Paleo works.  I put it up there as a go to for someone like myself that has been doing this for a while and needs to spice it up a bit in the kitchen.  The work also works great as an introduction to Paleo, the explanations are clear and the process of making the dishes is explained well.  You do not have to be a trained chef to pull off these dishes; just have a love for food and a willingness to let your eyes draw you into the beautiful dishes that you can make.  I look forward to bringing this book back with me to Illinois and using it to produce great meals for the rest of my family as I try to get them onto the Paleo wagon with me.

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