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on October 17, 2011
Our family has been lucky enough to gain access to all of the recently published Paleo books. I was expecting this one to be more of a straight-up recipe book, but it's so much more! It's a practical application book for living the lifestyle. With tools, ingredient explanation, menus for holidays, and everything in between - this is all you need to get started. Bill & Hayley are straight forward and relaxed about the entire approach and it makes for an easy and entertaining read.

And then, the recipes. They're the BEST Paleo or Primal recipes we've tried, and as bloggers ourselves we've tried tons. Every single one is simple, elegant and brings out the style of standard diet favorites like Ina Garten (Barefoot Contessa) and Giada DeLorentis. The photos are unbelievably appetizing. As a gift to any friend or family member, they'd never even know they were missing grains!

The best part about the book for us, though, is knowing that a pair of people with talent by the buckets made this gorgeous masterpiece. This food, the photography, the recipes, the simple, detailed, and thoughtful layout are all better than most of the cookbooks that we have on our shelves. And we're including Julia Child and Alton Brown in that statement. A creative, kind, fun and humble couple put the love that they have for each other into this project they did together and the result was food made of love. Entirely. It's their photography, their food styling, their book design, their recipes. They've shown you who they are with this book, and what they are is amazing.

If you're worried your food won't look or taste as good as those in the books (common in our experience with people who don't professionally write recipes), you needn't worry. Bill & Hayley have been writing Paleo and Primal recipes on their extremely successful site and they bring that experience with them to this book. See our post titled Make It Paleo: Made with love on paleoparents dot com for a full review of half-a-dozen recipes, made by children's hands, photographed by an amateur mother yet still elegant and stunning enough to make Martha Stewart proud.

If you're debating which book to buy, I say hands down this is the one. You can read about the science of why to eat Paleo all over the web, but having a tool this valuable for how to actually do it once you've made the choice is invaluable. For $20 you'll have access to years worth of amazing recipes, on your shelf, kindle or however you choose to store it. We pull out ours at least once every couple of days for inspiration and how-to cooking perfection in our paleo kitchen. I hope you enjoy yours as much as we do!
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on July 21, 2012
It looks like I am in the minority here, but this cookbook was just not for me. The book is beautiful and you can tell it is passionately written. However, I think their target audience is a young, relatively affluent couple like themselves with quite a bit of leisure time and obviously a good outdoor cooking space. I am the exact opposite. I am a busy working mom with a picky toddler who lives in a condo and therefore isn't allowed to grill. I don't have the time, budget space, or equipment to make a lot of these recipes. That being said, the recipes look delicious and would be great for entertaining especially. Maybe someday if I am retired, have more time and money, and own a REAL house that allows me to cook outside, I will repurchase "Make It Paleo." Until then, I am going to stick with Sarah Fragoso's books, which are much more family-friendly and better tailored to my personal situation.
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One of my biggest pet peeves is when a cookbook for a specific way of eating shows you how to make things that were never OFF the diet in the first place!

For example, in a gluten-free cookbook, it's kind of annoying to see recipes for vegetables with rice, because DUH, the whole reason you're buying a GF cookbook in the first place is that you are sick of eating vegetables with rice for every meal. What we really want to know is how to make things that usually contain gluten in a gluten-free way.

This paleo cookbook hits on that same annoying trait. While it's great to have recipes for things like buffalo wings, grilled salmon, and omelets, those are things that I figured out were paleo long ago, and really didn't need help with, as all of my old, non-paleo cookbooks have great recipes for those things. Here are a few of the "duh" recipes included in the book:

Bacon and eggs (page 48)
Frittata (page 52)
Kitchen sink omelet (page 56)
Veggie scramble (page 60)
French omelet (page 76 it's "different" because it is fried in butter and has herbs?)
Breakfast sausages (page 78)
Guacamole (page 88 just uses a regular guac recipe and omits the sour cream)
Salsa (page 90)
Pan-seared artichoke hearts (page 102 seriously, I can grill a vegetable, people)
Deviled eggs (page 104)
Sauteed calamari (page 106 saute calamari with seasonings)
Bacon-wrapped scallops (page 108 I only have six other cookbooks with this recipe)
Shrimp cocktail (page 112)
Buffalo wings (page 118)
Grilled clams with garlic butter (page 120 I can melt garlic and butter and put it over a clam without a recipe)
Skirt steak with chive butter (page 128 it's steak! With a pat of chive butter on top!)
Leg of lamb (page 132)
Grilled lamb chops (page 142 do they think we can't grill a beast without their usual garlic, onion, and salt/ pepper marinade? I am so bored! There aren't even grilling instructions - it's just a marinade recipe!)
London broil with balsamic marinade (page 146 c'mon, this is the second meat so far they've told us to dunk in balsamic. Do we need a recipe book for this, when there are so many great paleo blogs out there?)

OK, I'm going to move on, but suffice to say, the entire book is like this - simple, no-brainer recipes that are indeed paleo, but not very creative or inspiring. I'd also like you to note that each recipe has a full-color photo next to it, so while it looks like I may have skipped a lot of pages there, in many cases I was just flipping the photo page and going to the next recipe.

From pages 1-150, I have two bookmarks of food that is innovative and I'd like to try - coconut nested eggs, an interesting egg dish that is like a souffle or meringue, and hot pepper hummus, which substitutes zucchini for the garbanzo beans.

The rest is stuff that the majority of people who have cooked dinner for a few years can figure out without a recipe, and while they are OK recipes, they aren't super-thrilling and don't satisfy that urge to eat familiar foods. For example, while most paleo cookbooks give an example of how you might eat burgers or meat now that you don't have a bun (wrapped in lettuce, in their coconut-flour paleo buns, between mushrooms or chicken breast slices or floofed egg buns) this book just assumes you are going to be stoked to eat your bunless burger on a plate like a steak. And yeah, sometimes you will be stoked on that. But do you need a recipe book to tell you to make your usual bacon burger and just eat it off a plate? The reason we get a book is to help smooth the path between familiar and non-familiar foods and make it seem like you're not giving much up. This book doesn't help with that much at all.

So, now that I have ranted a bit, I'll tell you what I do love about this book.

The photography is fantastic. Many paleo books have shoddy lighting that makes the food look unappetizing. This book makes every dish look delicious, and there is a full-color photo of the finished dish for every recipe.

This is also the thickest paleo cookbook on my shelf, with 447 pages. Granted, most of that is taken up with photos of omelets and grilled meat and vegetables that you don't honestly need a recipe for or photos of, but still. That's a lot of ideas, even if most of them lack originality.

Even with all of the repetition, there are some fantastic ideas here. Unfortunately most of the truly creative ideas are in the dessert section. Here's the list of my faves:

Eggplant hole in the head (page 46 like toast with a hole cut out and an egg fried into the center, these eggplant/ egg circles look fun and tasty, and are definitely original)
Tacos with jicama shells (page 202 never heard of slicing jicama thin and using it as a wrap - this is great!)
Seafood mustard sauce (page 310 combines macadamia nuts with dijon and lemon juice for a chunky topping for crab cakes)
Mint pesto (page 326 uses mint, walnuts and citrus for a new spin on pesto)
Infamous bacon cookies (page 364 bacon and almond flour cookies - not for everyday, but nom)
Fig pinwheels (page 366 like a newton, only paleo-ish)
Carrot cake (page 372)
Lemon cheesecake (page 386 they don't actually approve of you eating this, but they paleo-ify it by using an almond flour crust, and half cream cheese with half Greek yogurt to make the cheese part seem slightly less bad for you)
Burnt almond cupcakes with a creamy filling (page 404)

That's it. Eleven dishes that are new to me and I want to make, in a 447 page cookbook.

I'm going to contrast that with Mark Sisson's latest book, the Quick and Easy Primal Cookbook. It has 226 pages and 61 recipes I want to try.

And Paleo Comfort Foods, which admittedly has many similar recipes to this book (deviled eggs, breakfast sausage, egg muffins). It has 328 pages and 39 original recipes I wish to try.

I'm not saying this is a bad cookbook, because it's not, really. It's just not bringing much that is new and original to the paleo cookbook world. And I'm disappointed about that, because I love the design and writing on their blog, The Food Lovers Primal Palate, and I expected to love this book as much as I do the other paleo cookbooks on my shelf. But I'd advise that if you're looking for a good paleo cookbook, that you buy pretty much any other primal or paleo cookbook out there besides this one or Loren Cordain's book, which was also full of "duh" recipes.
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on December 17, 2011
I've been a fan of the authors' blog for a while, and was very excited to hear they were coming out with a cookbook. Unfortunately I'm pretty disappointed in this book and I wouldn't recommend it over simply going to their site for recipes.

Like several other reviewers I didn't find anything unique about most of these recipes, and most of them I already have in dozens of other cookbooks I own. Grilled chicken breast (really?), grilled turkey drumsticks, tomato soup, balsamic vinaigrette, ratatouille, Chicken and 40 cloves, shrimp scampi, baba ghanoush, roasted broccoli (and a separate recipe for roasted BABY broccoli!) and sweet potato fries? As far as I can tell, there's nothing inherently un-Paleo about these things as they are traditionally made, and Bill and Haley don't really offer a novel spin on any of them. As another reviewer mentioned, there are maybe half a dozen truly interesting recipes. Along the same vein, several recipes are clearly derived from other Paleo-friendly sources (compare the chocolate frosting recipe with the one from Elana's Pantry). This reinforces my take that there's little new here...

One of my other beefs with the book is that it doesn't really have a culinary point of view. Yeah, I know it's "Paleo," but there's nothing other than that to tie the recipes together. It's like I yanked random pages from each of my cookbooks and decided to "write" a cookbook by binding them together. While the photography and layout are beautiful, it reads like they just crammed everything the know how to cook into one book. It makes for an unwieldy tome.

That said, if you're an inexperienced cook, or really need help in identifying what "Paleo" is, then maybe this could be useful. But if you know anything about cooking, or own any other cookbook, you might want to pass this one by.
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on June 4, 2012
Its got some nice recipes it in, but it suffers from a lack of explanation for many recipes. For simple recipes, like chicken satay, this of course isn't a problem. But when recipes get complicated, like some of the dessert recipes for example, I've found it incredibly difficult to duplicate what the authors represent. In fact, a couple of these recipes, when followed to a tee, produce wildly different results than pictured.

My guess would be that the authors used specific brands or types of ingredients so when other brands are used the results are poor.
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on December 29, 2011
I bought this book for my mother, with the plan to leaf through it and get myself a copy if I liked it. It has stellar reviews, after all.

I'm glad I looked through it first. Many, if not most, of the recipes require you to fire up a grill. While I understand that lots of folks (most folks?) own grills, and some of the recipes would come out passable when grilled in the oven under the broiler, this isn't ideal for everyone. I'm one of those people: I don't own a grill and my apartment oven is not ideal for broiling (the broiler is on the bottom, and it takes a very long time to heat up, as well as smoking up the entire studio apartment--and setting off the smoke detector, sigh).

I'm not one to completely discount a cookbook just because I don't own a particular appliance if there's a workaround, but the need for a grill could be made a little more clear. (Name it Grill it Paleo? I don't know.) I approximate that about 30% of the recipes don't require one. For me, that's too few that would be usable. I just want other people to be aware of how incredibly grill-heavy this book is.

Many of the recipes do sound great, so I highly recommend getting the book to try clean, grain-free eating if you have the right equipment or don't mind not using many of the recipes. If you're like me and can't quite afford to splurge on a book you wouldn't use much, check out Paleo Comfort Foods. That's the other one I got for my mother, and while I'm sure there's a grill recipe or two in there, I didn't find it. :) And maybe in the future, if I end up with a place that has room for a grill, I'll give this book another try.
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on October 26, 2012
I wasn't very impressed with this cookbook. I'm sorry, but you don't need to take the same cooking technique for roasting vegetables and re-create it for 4 different vegetables and put them all on separate pages. The book makes it appear that you're getting several different recipes for vegetables, but most people can figure out that you can roast 10 different vegetables in rougly the same manner (veggie + fat + S&P + hot oven). Also, 90% of the breakfast recipes were the same. Eggs + broccoli. Eggs + peppers. Eggs + avocado. Yeah, yeah yeah. We get it! Those aren't different recipes!

The only useful part of this book is the dessert section. Otherwise, most of the recipes are common sense. If you already consider yourself a decent or average cook, don't buy this book. I think it really lacks creativity.
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on September 8, 2012
I was excited to receive this book, and at a lower price than at our local chain bookstores; the recipes are good - easy to follow instructions and wonderful pictures. However, after receiving the book, I went on the authors' website and was very disappointed to find that ALL of the recipes were duplicates of recipes on their website that you can access for FREE. I actually went through every recipe in the table of contents and compared to the recipe list on their website. Each one was included on their website. The website actually has more recipes than the book. Kudos to them for having a good website, but save yourself some money and just get the recipes online instead!
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on October 16, 2011
This is the best "paleo" cookbook I've seen with recipes that use ingredients I recognize and can find in my local grocery store, and are actually easy to make. Paleo eating, also known as the primal or caveman diet, focuses on lean meats and seafood, vegetables and fruit, and nuts, while eliminating grains and most dairy. It can be a challenge to find ways to add variety with this type of diet but thanks to Bill and Hayley, the recipes in their cookbook solves that problem.

I can always tell how much I will like a cookbook by the number of post-it tags I use to mark the recipes I want to try and this one has several. The recipes I've tried so far are the breakfast burrito and the egg bake casserole because I love eggs for any meal and I'll make these again. Others I look forward to trying include homemade breakfast sausage (I'll substitute ground turkey for the pork), colorful cauliflower salad, cinnamon steak skewers, turkey meatloaf, chicken soup, various grilled veggies, and even some homemade peppermint patties.

This cookbook includes appetizers, breakfast dishes, entrees using meat, seafood, and poultry; salads, soups, sauces and dressings, side dishes, and all kinds of desserts such as cookies, cakes, muffins, candies, and even ice cream, all made without grain flour or sugar. Almond and coconut flour are used as well as maple syrup for sweetening.

Those following a paleo type diet will love the recipes in this book but even for those who don't, there are many healthy salads and main dish entrees anyone can enjoy. Another plus is the great color photographs that accompany the recipes, something that always makes a good cookbook even better for me.

I received a copy of this book for review from the publisher but the opinion of it is mine and was not solicited, nor was a positive review required.
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on December 5, 2011
I own Everyday Paleo, Paleo Comfort Foods, Paleo Solution (not that this is a cookbook, but it has recipes and a meal plan), and the Primal Blueprint Cookbook along with Make It Paleo.

Make it Paleo is to me the gourmet Paleo cookbook. This doesn't mean that the food is difficult to cook. The food always ALWAYS comes out delicious and I feel like I am treating myself to a restaurant-quality meal when I cook from this book.

The dessert section is excellent and by far the best of all the other cookbooks I own. My family does not really care for desserts that aren't traditional sugar bombs and every imitation recipe I tried before has been a major fail in my house. Not so with Make it Paleo's recipes!!! I received a bunch of compliments on the Pumpkin Chiffon Pie and the coconut butter fudge recipe. These compliments came from non-paleo friends! You will need some ingredients that aren't commonly in the standard American pantry, but I was able to find things like coconut butter and palm shortening at my local Whole Foods. Otherwise, check out Amazon for things that are hard to find.

The authors' website is also an incredible paleo resource. It's called Primal Palate and there are a ton more recipes there to try!

My only note is that if you are cooking with ground beef/chicken thighs (the least expensive grass-fed/free range pieces of meat), you will not find a ton of recipes for those things in here. Check out Everyday Paleo for that.

Thank you so much for putting out such an excellent cookbook!
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