184 of 186 people found the following review helpful
on September 26, 2011
The recipes are easy to follow, the pictures are beautiful and very helpful, they make you want to try the recipes. And the food is delicious. I had the book for two days and have done the spicy wings recipe twice already, they are just that good and were a hit with my family.
One downside: there is no table of contents! Only an ingredient-based index! So if I search for 'cauliflower', there are 10-20 pages where cauliflower is mentioned and I have to go through all of them to find, say, the cauliflower puree. Makes no sense! That's the big minus for me.
570 of 599 people found the following review helpful
on October 31, 2011
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I received this book in the mail just a few days before having guests for the week, and I thought it would be a great way to try out some of the recipes! I must say the book is gorgeous, and the photos make my mouth water. Not only that, but every recipe I've tried so far has been awesome! So why only three stars? Well because this book has absolutely the *worst* index I think I've ever seen in a cookbook.
The day my guests were arriving after a long day's drive I decided to make some guacamole for their arrival, and I recalled seeing a beautiful guacamole in the cookbook. So I pulled it out and did looked up "guacamole". Nothing. Not there at all. So I went to Avocado, hoping maybe to see something like "avocado, guacamole" as I have in other cookbooks. But NO, I got there and saw: "Avocado 30, 46, 56, 66, 92, 96, 128, 156 ..." and on and on. Lots of page references with no hint as to what the references were. My time was short so I just gave up and made my own guacamole recipe from memory, which is tasty anyway.
I also recalled seeing really excellent looking muffins in the cookbook and thought they would be great to make for breakfast one day, so again I turned to the index and looked for "muffins" and again under "muffins" there was Nothing, Zip, Nada. This time I was lucky however, as my eyes happened to fall on the entry "morning glory muffins" - right above where muffins SHOULD have been in the index. Yay, I made them and they were fabulous. But suppose they had been called "early rising muffins" or "great start muffins"? I sure never would have found them by searching the index.
I later found the guacamole when I had more time by starting at page one and thumbing through, and finally found "chunky guacamole" on page 66. And sure enough, the index referenced "chunky guacamole".
But is a person supposed to remember the NAME of every single recipe in order to find it in the index? I'm starting to write in by hand in the proper alphabetical location the recipes that look of interest to me. But why should I need to to?
That said the recipes I have tried were really good: morning glory muffins, banana bread, basic biscuits. And the pecash butter is totally awesome. I love that one. :-)
343 of 377 people found the following review helpful
on September 20, 2011
If you are like me, you cringe when you open a cookbook and flip through the recipes only to see an ingredient list a mile long. And then you glance at the preparation steps that are the equivalent of a long essay. For busy folks, this can be mentally defeating to the point of having no further interest in any recipe, in spite of the tempting photos.
A wonderful new cookbook has just hit the stands, and it rejects that nonsense in favor of offering up painless prescriptions for individuals who wish to shun the convenience in a box or bag, and control what feeds their bodies, _Paleo Comfort Foods: Homestyle Cooking in a Gluten-Free Kitchen_, which is available at Amazon now.
I received a review copy from the authors, Julie and Charles Mayfield, because I have a desire to bring to folks any tools that can assist them in their journey from the SAD (Standard American Diet) toward a real-food lifestyle that offers them long-term health and the joy of being self-sufficient in the kitchen. This book is a marvelous tool that will help individuals to deep-six the Lean Cuisine and Hot Pockets monstrosities and unleash their inner chef.
Upon receiving the book, I experienced some immediate skepticism - the book was very large and the short chapters at the front presented some very large type. As I thumbed through the early chapters, however, I noticed the colors and layout popped out at me in a pleasant sort of way. The type size calmed down for the actual recipes, and the larger size of the book even grew on me after a while. The book is easy to fling around in the kitchen as you are moving about and putting together your next remarkable meal. I also questioned the word "Comfort" in the title, that is, until I discovered, in the introduction, that there is some Southern influence behind this book. The Southernisms are a bonus, especially when you note some of the traditional, carb-loaded Southern foods mellowed out paleo-style for your health-nut lifestyle. The recipes for okra, collard greens, green fried tomatoes (using almond flour), and paleo grits are an indicator that the book is a wee bit different than your usual paleo cookbook. I have already made the collard greens recipe using my pastured bacon and ham hocks from a half hog I just welcomed into my freezer two weeks ago. A raging success!
My personal belief is that recipe books are a compilation of suggestions, and it is up to the reader to use the suggestions and build upon them through customization. The book's introduction contains a confirmation of this when the authors state that, "This cookbook is not meant to be all things to all people. Rather, it is intended for those who want to expand their "real foods" cooking repertoire, learn a few bits here and there, and maybe get some creative ideas on adapting recipes to these frameworks."
That is what this cookbook promises, and it succeeds. Not only is it an outstanding tool for expanding your catalog of food preparation ideas, but also, it is the perfect starter kit for the raw beginner who thinks he can't cook and doesn't know where to start. The book starts out with some real basic stuff for beginners - kitchen foods and cooking tools. A number of people write me often and tell me they have been relying on convenience foods for so long that they do not know where to start, what to get, and how to put things together. Since this is a cookbook that embraces a particular lifestyle - paleo or real food - it has the starter guide that many folks need and deserve to have in any cookbook.
On the other hand, this book is also a valuable resource for seasoned paleo and real-foodist pros, too. I am very creative and experimental in the kitchen, and this book only adds to my innovativeness. Many of the recipes, I find, are great to start from and customize to your own taste and desire. The authors include "Variations" with many of the recipes, and these are gentle reminders that there's more than one way to skin a cat on any recipe in the book. Julie and Charles also include some "Tips & Tricks" and "Ingredient Notes" throughout the collection of recipes.
One point worth mentioning when reviewing any paleo cookbook is that the recipes reject the standard industrial oils, wheat, and the usual sweet frills. Instead, the recipes use items not found in the average American kitchen: nut oils, coconut oil, coconut milk, almond meal or almond flour, coconut butter, clarified butter (you can buy ghee), etc. The average person might need to buy a few staples of the paleo lifestyle to get going in the kitchen. Whole Foods and Amazon.com are good resources for this one-time shopping binge.
As one new to cooking, you might want to know - what is the single best thing about this cookbook? The answer is that there is a photo (or two) for every single recipe in the book. Yes, people are still publishing cookbooks without photos, which I find to be intolerable. As a creator of food on the suggestions of others, I want to work toward the visual that appears before me, even if I change up a few items to reflect my peculiar inclinations. Visual people want photos, especially if they are newbies to cooking with a lot of real foods, making stuff from scratch. The book's photos are outstanding and tempted me to stick page markers on one-third of the recipe pages.
What is also notable is that Julie and Charles include recipes for some of my favorite paleo staples such as homemade mayonnaise, tarter sauce, and ketchup. Handcrafting these items with simple recipes allows you to avoid the high-fructose corn syrup and soybean oil typically found in the shelf version of these products. They also include recipes for stocks (chicken and crawfish) and sauces that can be used with various concoctions. The overall recipe coverage is there: starters and snacks, sauces and staples, soups and sales, side dishes, main dishes, and sugar-denying desserts.
Almost none of the recipes within this book are time-consuming or difficult, even for the newbie who swears he "can't boil water." This is easy stuff, folks, and I would not mislead you on that fact. Wheat-free pumpkin pancakes, fish tacos, peanut sauce, and meat-stuffed acorn squash - they can all be made in short time with minimal mess.
Furthermore, note that the paleo or real-food way is the opposite of a diet - it is a lifestyle that will allow you to rediscover real, nutritious food, with a smattering of resources at your disposal, with the most important being the roadmap, or cookbook, that will guide you toward developing accountability for your own long-term health outlook.
Be forewarned: buying this book will force you to invert the federal food pyramid and deny its authority while claiming the mantle of heresy.
52 of 55 people found the following review helpful
on September 20, 2011
I love this cookbook on so many levels. First, Julie and Charles Mayfield are an adorable couple - they did a cooking demo at my CrossFit gym and really seem to love cooking (and each other!). Their love for cooking, ingredients and teaching people how to live a healthy lifestle are obvious from the introduction and throughout the book. They add personal notes that can only come from a sheer joy of cooking to almost every recipe, including options for "cheating" as well as tips for freezing items, alternatives and other options. And the photos are wonderful - but the best part is that they are "real" - not doctored up with any of the food stylist tricks!
Second, and perhaps most important, the food is amazing. But it's also pretty easy! I should say it's deceptively easy - I would happily make many of these dishes for company and I'm quite sure my guests would think I had spent a day in the kitchen, but in reality, most are quity simple to put together with even the most basic kitchen skills (which, BTW, the Mayfields generously share).
Third, and probably as important as the previous point, my whole family has loved everything I've made. While they don't "follow" Paleo, my rule is if I cook it, you eat it. So most times dinner is Paleo! And even my somewhat picky 3-year-old has happily eaten everything. (My 8-year-old is a total carnivore, so she's easy. But she did LOVE the creamed spinach!).
In the day of the Internet, when it's easy to NOT own any cookbook, I am proud to have added this to my collection.
26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on March 31, 2012
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I'm just wrapping up the second week of going Paleo and I feel fantastic. Let me elaborate on that. I have lupus (SLE). Or maybe I should say "had" lupus, because by the third day of being on Paleo, I have had not one flare up or one symptom of it. No aches, no pains, no fogginess, no feverishness, no nothing. Which is amazing because I've been dealing with SLE for just over a decade, non-stop (never went into remission...just some days were better than others with my condition gradually worsening over time). And now, here I am. I've lost almost 10lbs after years of steadily gaining weight, never losing it, and I have so much energy and drive again. I've been exercising (moderately) and basically building up and repairing my body back to where it needs to be. Not because I "have" to but because, to my continued surprise, I want to. I feel driven to, like I could climb up the walls and run across the ceiling because I have so much energy in me again and I'm so pain-free. I just *have* to move, because I *can*.
Which brings me to this book. I love food. Going Paleo can be tough, and in spite of it being much easier after seeing such amazing results within three days, I still yearned for some of my former favorites. This book gave many of those foods back to me. "Bread," tortillas, condiments, fried and "breaded" meats, soups, salads, and so many other wonderful recipes I'm eager to try out. And though I haven't had much opportunity to delve too deeply into trying all the recipes, those I have tried have been amazing. It helps so much for getting over those refined/processed carb and sugar withdrawals I still feel niggling at the back of my mind.
For those like me who aren't looking to live a reenactment of an ancient paleo lifestyle, this book will be, and is, a godsend. Paleo-fying modern foods--comfort foods at that--helps me continue my love affair with food. So many flavors, so many recipes, so many options...and one recipe can spawn so many other experiments and variations. This cookbook is like my gateway drug into Paleo eating. It's changed how I view my food and its ingredients. I pay a lot more attention now to, not just the ingredients, but to the source of those ingredients. In the course of this, I've learned about all sorts of "miracle foods," from the incredible health benefits of Yerba Mate (I prefer the loose leaf Guayaki brand) to the unique properties of raw honey to the beneficial power of saturated fats. I can finally embrace my inner butter-lover and feel good about it. I'm always grinning, with relish, as I slather my food in heavenly grass-fed butter (Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter Foil 8.0 oz (pack of 20) is fantastic). My family shakes their heads at me, but I'll convert them one of these days, I tell you.
And I tell a lot of people about this amazingly simple solution to helping heal so many ails. I'm a living testament to how modern miracles can be found in the simplest of places and solutions: diet change. Some would say "never would work," but no matter how hard they try I'll still be standing here in silent defiance of their denial. The reality is, this diet has not just changed my life, it's saved my life...and this cookbook is an indispensable tool in that. I carry it everywhere and plan on trying literally every recipe within its pages--they look and sound that good. Everything I've tried so far has become a permanent staple in my diet because they're that tasty, versatile, and indispensable. Many food possibilities have opened for me because of this book. So I will urge you, whether you feel you are "healthy enough" or you are suffering (be it from disease, depression, or what modern conventional "wisdom" terms, "signs of aging"), you owe it to yourself to at least try this diet and pick up this cookbook. It might be tough breaking the addictions at first, but the benefits far exceed the initial struggle and this cookbook definitely helps strike a killing blow against the "old ways."
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on September 20, 2011
I love it when a new cookbook comes out. I love experimenting with my meals, and trying new things, but it's still been only a relatively short time since I started putting more effort into cooking, so my experience is rather short. If my life's story in cooking was compressed into a 30 minute daytime television cooking show, the first 29 minutes would be spent making ramen noodles and the last minute would be dedicated to grilling the perfect steak.
So, like I said - I love it when a new cookbook gets published. The Paleo Comfort Foods cookbook is the newest addition to my library. Trust me, you'll want to add it to your kitchen bookshelf as well.
This isn't your run-of-the-mill paleo recipe list, with all of the standard healthy fare that people are use to. Well, the recipes look healthy - but they're based around old-fashioned homestyle type meals.
We're talking about things like fried chicken and grits - items rarely seen on your average paleo food list. And if the list of recipes doesn't get you salivating, the superb photography by Mark Adams will do the trick. It's almost not fair how good these meals look on paper.
Instead of just talking about the book, let me share with you a couple of the recipes that I cooked at home with my fiancee. We picked out the turkey meatloaf and the sweet potato casserole. I'm not really sure if the casserole was suppose to be a dessert or entree, because honestly it felt like both.
I liked both recipes well enough, with the instructions and list of ingredients being incredibly manageable.
We started on the meatloaf first since it had the longer baking time of 90 minutes, and then started working on the casserole after the loaf was put into the oven.
This turned out to be a great idea since the casserole was ready to go into the oven coinciding with the exact amount of time left over for the meat loaf. I wish I could say that I planned it that way.
Be sure to recognize how much food the recipes will produce. I saw the 4 pounds of ground turkey on the list of ingredients, and knew that would be a lot of meat, but it didn't really sink in until I pulled this massive meatloaf out of my oven.
We happily feasted on leftovers all weekend! Reducing ingredients for desired portion size is no big deal, so just downsize to meet your needs.
Overall, I'm looking forward to digging through the rest of the cookbook and planning out some new meals to cook each weekend. Cooking really can be a lot of fun, and eating can be too - when you have such a great resource to work with!
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on January 3, 2012
This cookbook has fantastic tastes thus far (We've used several in the week we've owned it), HOWEVER, I should point out there is an issue; which is why I'm only giving it 4 stars:
Take for instance your Chicken Coq au Vin, © 2011, pg 240 - In the ingredients list it includes flat-leaf parsley, thyme, tomato paste, and fresh ground black pepper (amongst other things mentioned in the recipe); however, the step by step does not include WHEN to add everything. So you may have them out and ready, but since you're also following the step-by-step instructions, you may forget to add them...
I have been cooking for 32 years, so when I take out these items, I naturally know when to add them, however, a person who is not so comfortable in the kitchen and with recipes/cooking and knowledge about when to add certain types of ingredients, those people may not have such an easy time.
Overall, the book is great. Good flavor, and some great recipes with a twist on classic recipes. Not recommended for a cooking newbie. Perhaps an intermediate-advanced gourmet would be able to manage.
24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on September 20, 2011
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Our kids love perusing cookbooks and making dinner suggestions. But sadly, most of our cookbooks are chock-full of the sugary, gluten-y stuff we try to avoid. "How 'bout Baked Alaska for dinner, mommy?" "Can we make panini sandwiches?" "What about these cinnamon buns?"
Thankfully, Paleo Comfort Foods arrived in our mailbox a few weeks ago, and it's quickly become one of our favorite resources for delicious, nourishing family meals.
Many folks seem to think that "going Paleo" means embarking on a lifetime of deprivation, and gnawing on nothing but ground beef and steamed broccoli day after day. But as Julie and Charles Mayfield demonstrate in their book, there are limitless varieties of delicious Paleo foods available to us, from pot roast to the Mayfields' famous Morning Glory Muffins. The straightforward, easy-to-make recipes in Paleo Comfort Foods make cooking and tasting these foods an absolute pleasure. Even better: The dishes featured in this book are indeed "comfort" foods: Familiar family favorites that everyone -- including picky little kids -- will enjoy. With full-color photographs of each recipe, it's hard to put down this book without grabbing a pan and cooking up a storm.
For the past several weeks, our children (ages 3 and 6) have been clamoring to help us whip up everything from poached pears to creamed spinach and Paleo-friendly fried chicken (made with an almond flour batter). It's incredibly satisfying to spend quality time with our kids in the kitchen, making foods that aren't just tasty, but also good for us (and them!).
Now THIS is a cookbook we can hand to our first-grader and say with zero guilt: "Pick whatever you want to eat, and we'll make it for dinner."
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on October 24, 2011
Out of the five recipes i've tried, at least three of them were missing a step or didn't completely explain the necessary steps. For instance, in the chocolate pudding recipe there is no mention of when to add the honey. It just seems like some poor editing. I also find it annoying that none of the recipes tell you what the yield will be - you have no way of knowing if you're going to end up with enough for 2 people or 6 people. So far, the things i've made have been pretty good but I have to say I think the pictures look better than most of the food tastes. Still, it's nice to have another paleo recipe book to consult rather than always trying to find new recipes on the internet. I just find that I always have to add something to these recipes like more spices or they end up being a bit bland. I suppose it could be that I haven't made the best ones out of the book yet. I'll keep trying.
Made the Tom Kai soup and the Chili this week and both were delicious and didn't have any editing issues. Upping my rating to 4 stars.
34 of 39 people found the following review helpful
on September 19, 2011
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
A book like Paleo Comfort Foods is long overdue. Julie and Charles Mayfield do an amazing job of making a gluten-free lifestyle sustainable and, even better, delicious! Having had a wheat & many other food allergies for over 9 years I was resigned to rather boring dishes BEFORE this book came out. The recipes in this book are amazing and the pictures of each recipe are tantalizing! Paleo Comfort Foods provides recipes for everyday life - for those of us living a paleo lifestyle these are recipes even the most stalwart non-paleo person would eat and not know the difference - the recipes are THAT good. Paleo Comfort Foods: Homestyle Cooking in a Gluten-Free Kitchen