571 of 593 people found the following review helpful
on December 18, 2011
I have been moving toward a full paleo eating style for the past year and a half and I literally own every "paleo" cookbook available on Amazon. I wish I had this cookbook when I was just getting started. It is the very best of my whole collection -- and that is saying something because I really enjoy a couple of the others. Well Fed is absolutely chock full of deliciousness. Every recipe WORKS. It turns out as described and wows my family. I am doing a "cookup" right now to stock my fridge and pantry for a week of healthy eating -- something I originally learned from John Berardi over at [...] -- and the ideas in this book are going to take my weekend cooking ritual to an even higher level of healthiness and diversity.
I have never before cooked every recipe in a cookbook. I am committing that I will be making every single recipe in this book before the end of 2012. Yes - it is that good. In fact, I have never reviewed any of the many books I have purchased from Amazon, but this author deserves a shout out. Her writing style is authentic and engaging, and the information she shares is fresh and useful (did I mention fun and edgy as well?). I will be buying multiple copies today so I can gift them to some very lucky people. Thank you for your hard work in putting this lovely book together, Melissa Joulwan. You are a kitchen goddess.
291 of 308 people found the following review helpful
on February 29, 2012
I read the other reviews regarding the fragility of the spine, and the first thing I did when it arrived today was to bring it to OfficeMax and have them remove the glued spine and replace it with a spiral bind - it cost me $3 + change. The kid who bound it leered at the quality of the spine - he sliced about an eighth of an inch in, and there was zero glue left on the pages. According to him, a sure sign of bad binding.
Anyway, all cookbooks should be spiral-bound!
UPDATE - What I think of the actual book:
We are eating like ROYALTY! I did a cookup last weekend, kept us going throughout the week. I made scotch eggs - delicious. I made mayonnaise - TOO easy, it takes 5 minutes! Yesterday I made cottage pie with mashed cauliflower, hard-pressed to tell the difference from the real thing. I've got some jicama slow-cooked from the weekend that I'm going to use for the home fries recipe some night this week.
At this point, I'm starting to learn the page numbers of my favorite ones!
Seriously, if you want to do paleo, buy this book - I guarantee you will not regret it. And don't be put off by the effort involved - now that I'm spending more time in the kitchen, I'm getting smarter about how I work, so it gets faster with practice, so in effect I'm spending less time in the kitchen :)
And here's a free tip for making mayonnaise: if you have a food processor with a feeder tube, check the bottom of the feeder tube. Chances are you will find a small hole there - it's the perfect size to drizzle the oil into the mayo mix as it is blending, and keeps the flow more consistent than if you were to do it by hand. So no need to stand there and watch your pouring hand like a hawk :)
171 of 182 people found the following review helpful
on January 16, 2012
I have been cooking with this cookbook for a couple of weeks and can confidently say it is "best of breed" in the paleo world. With all the blogs and cookbooks out there you will encounter a lot of clutter, but if I were to recommend one paleo cookbook to a friend (based on content) it would be this one. Highlights include:
1. Each recipe includes a section with logical side pairings and variations. Possibly my favorite feature - I feel like improvisation in the kitchen can be a bit harder on the paleo diet and the variations presented in the book can be applied to other recipes, so I'm learning fundamentals I can use in the future.
2. Recipes are easy to understand and follow. Minimal prep time. This is a recurring theme throughout the book. The author clearly understands the value of a weeknight recipe.
3. The recipes are delicious and creative. The "best grilled chicken you will ever have" is exceptional. Loved the apples in butter dessert/side. I have tried six or seven other recipes and found them all to be tasty and relatively easy.
4. The book emphasizes meal planning and cooking ahead as a means to reduce time spent in the kitchen. This really resonated with me and in the two weeks since I started doing this I have wasted almost no vegetables (previously a problem for me) and have spend a lot less time in the kitchen on weeknights.
So the content here is easily five stars, however about four days after I started cooking with the book the binding started falling apart and about 20 pages throughout the book fell out. Not sure if anyone else had the problem or if I just got a defective cookbook. Therefore giving it three stars because I've never had a cookbook fall apart on me before.
Update (3/6/12) *Revised to five stars*:
I exchanged the cookbook on amazon and the second copy did the exact same thing. Normally this would have sent me right into my anger cave, but by this point I was using the recipes practically every day and eating better than I had since I started paleo two years ago. I just keep all the pages together in a folder and pull out the ones I want, or pull up the ebook on my laptop and cook from there. It isn't a big inconvenience. The content in this cookbook is unparalleled. Pay particular attention to the sauces - the italian dressing, sunshine sauce, stir fry sauce and moroccan dipping sauce are all in constant supply in my fridge. My other go to is that I cook up a huge batch of the grilled chicken every Sunday and use it for lunch salads during the week. Awesome stuff!
99 of 112 people found the following review helpful
on December 14, 2011
Look out Paleo eaters, the cookbook that I have been begging for is now available. Melissa Joulwan has just released Well Fed: Paleo Recipes for People Who Love to Eat - and it is beyond fantastic!
I'm sure that many of you already follow Melissa at her blog, The Clothes Make the Girl, but if you don't know her, Melissa is the author of Rollergirl, an avid CrossFitter who makes time to practice yoga, a rock star in the kitchen, and the most generous person I have encountered on the Internet.
Filled with over 115 original recipes and variations, Well Fed is the product of much blood, sweat, and tears, and most importantly love. Love in the sense this book is not only about preparing the best real food possible, but presenting and sharing it with family and friends.
And for Melissa, the production of Well Fed has involved the people closest to her (her husband Dave was responsible for the stunning photographs):
"All of the photos are of the real food that we cooked for the shoot, then ate for dinner. No fancy food photography tricks and no "cheating" on the recipes. What you see in the photo is exactly what you get when you use the Well Fed recipe."
In addition to the beautiful photographs and delicious recipes, this cookbook does something unique in the genre of food preparation - woven throughout the book is the theme of how to put fantastic meals on the table in the least amount of time. This is where Melissa shines. In the book, Melissa says:
"Run your kitchen like a restaurant. Most neighborhood restaurants don't cook every part of your meal to order. If they did, they'd never get the food to the table fast enough." and "I muster up about 30 meals and snacks each week: I eat a homemade breakfast every day except Saturday, and I pack my lunch and snacks for day job sustenance every weekday. To forage all the ingredients for that food, my husband does one giant shopping trip on Friday afternoons, and I spend about two hours on Sunday cooking for the week. With most of our food already cooked, meal prep on an average day takes about 30 minutes total: 10 minutes to pack my food for work and 20 minutes to throw together a delicious dinner."
I'll wager that this will be the cookbook in your kitchen that has pages folded down, will be stained, and will have notes written in the margin. Why? Because you will use it!
210 of 243 people found the following review helpful
When we look back on the year 2011, it will remembered by those of us who closely follow nutrition and health as the year of the Paleo cookbooks. Here is just a small sampling of the most amazing and best recipe books that have released this year highlighting the virtues of healthy low-carb, Paleo-friendly dishes for you to nourish the bodies of your health-conscious family:
- The Paleo Diet Cookbook: More than 150 recipes for Paleo Breakfasts, Lunches, Dinners, Snacks, and Beverages by Dr. Loren Cordain
- Paleo Comfort Foods: Homestyle Cooking for a Gluten-Free Kitchen by Charles and Julie Mayfield
- Make it Paleo: Over 200 Grain Free Recipes For Any Occasion by Bill Staley and Hayley Mason
- Primal Blueprint Quick and Easy Meals: Delicious, Primal-approved meals you can make in under 30 minutes (Primal Blueprint Series)
It's an impressive assortment of books that absolutely must be on the bookshelf of anyone and everyone who makes this way of eating their preferred plan of choice. And the good news is there are MANY more to come in 2012 and beyond as people start becoming more and more familiar with the benefits of going grain-free, sugar-free, legume-free, and dairy-free to attain optimal health. Whether you are new to the Paleo, primal, ancestral or low-carb lifestyle or if you're a long-time seasoned veteran at it, we all need help sometimes sprucing up our diet and keeping it from becoming the drab, boring and undesirable lifestyle that it is stereotyped as being.
That's why I'm happy to share with you one more truly amazing cookbook gem that released in 2011 that I'm sure will become a go-to resource in health-focused kitchens across the United States and around the world. It's called Well Fed: Paleo Recipes for People Who Love to Eat by Melissa Joulwan from "The Clothes Make The Girl" blog (NOTE: There's also an e-book version of the book and special sneak peek of the book available at Melissa's web site).
For those of you who are unfamiliar with Melissa's blog and story about how she came to the Paleo diet, I highly encourage you to check out her blog and learn more about the woman behind this book. Of course, she divulges much of her life's story at the beginning of Well Fed which will give you an appreciation for who she is now and why a cookbook was a logical choice for her to write. The "Dina-Chow" that's sprinkled throughout this book is simply awesome and there's no other way to describe it. The photos of the food accompanying each recipe is the actual finished recipe right before it was devoured by the Joulwan clan. Your mouth can't help but become a waterfall in anticipation of what is sure to be some of the most interesting food you've ever eaten. Where else can you get Paleo low-carb versions of a wide variety of ethnic-based foods like "Chocolate Chili," "BBQ Fork Fried Rice" (made without rice), "Shepherd's Pie," and so much more in these 174 pages of absolute decadence? Flipping through the pages of this book, I honestly wanted to try EVERY SINGLE RECIPE-it's THAT good!
I could appreciate that Melissa made a convenient one-page called "The `No' List" on page 3 followed immediately by another quickie one-page called "The `Yes' List." I HIGHLY encourage you newbies to this way of eating to photocopy these pages and post them on your refrigerator door, kitchen cabinets, bathroom mirrors...wherever you'll look at them on a daily basis! Absorb what is shared on these pages and you will quickly become smarter on nutrition than about 99% of the population, including most doctors, dietitians and those who pretend to know what the heck they're talking about regarding nutritional health on television (*cough* Dr. Oz *cough*). These really are the bare knuckles basics to Paleo eating spelled out more succinctly than anything else I've ever seen. And that's saying a lot because I've seen it all. The bottom line: just eat real food! This is a MAJOR theme of what it actually means to be "well fed."
While this book will likely be placed in the "diet" or "health" section of bookstores or on places like Amazon, Melissa is quick to point out that she considers this book as neither. It could more accurately be called an "inspirational" book that will tickle your taste buds with recipes that will as she puts it "make you want to smash in your face with joy." Now that's an image I won't soon forget! It's part and parcel of the magic that Melissa Joulwan brings to the table as an ever-enthusiastic and unapologetic defender of her simple philosophy of "Just Eat" and everything else will fall into place and take care of itself.
Since much of the book includes recipes that you won't likely see anywhere else, I recommend that you pay close attention to the "About The Recipes" where you can get a lesson on the most common ingredients and cooking tools/methods you'll be using and how they work to produce these recipes. You'll save yourself a lot of headaches later if you heed this advice from someone who's been there, done that already. And Melissa also reminds you that the presentation of the food is an important element in being Well Fed as well. You'll rarely eat out in a restaurant again if you apply what she teaches on page 13.
The nitty gritty of how to make this book work well for you is on page 16 when she describes "The Weekly Cookup" that includes shopping lists, meal planning, and how to construct a meal that will knock the socks off of the people you are serving (yes, even your kids will think you're a culinary rock star after eating these meals!). Making sure you have the right amount and kind of foods on hand at all times that you can grab and start cooking with is the key. Then it's just a matter of opening up "Your Paleo Pantry" and pulling out your choice of some of the most remarkable spices and seasonings that will awaken the foods you are about to consume. Melissa also tells you what "Essential Kitchen Tools" to use to be the best darn cook in your neighborhood. Sound impossible? I guess you gotta get Well Fed to find out!
I'm always curious about how the recipes in cookbooks like this one are displayed. But Melissa made it a lot more fun than I've ever seen before. She gives you the title of the recipe, adds a cutesy yet descriptive subtitle (i.e. for the "Olive Oil Mayo" recipe, she included the subtitle "You'll Never Consider Store-Bought Again"), tells you the serving size, how long it takes to prepare and cook the recipe, a brief commentary on the recipe itself, the ingredients to use, the directions, an empty "Notes" section for you to add your own variations to the cookbook for your personal use, a "How You Could Do That" section for suggested variations, as well as "Tasty Ideas" about what you could make to complement this particular recipe. It's this kind of practical, real-world advice that sets this cookbook apart from the ones I've seen a million times before.
If you wanna know what being Well Fed is really all about, then all you gotta do is gaze your eyes at the photo used on the back cover: `Nuff said! Isn't it time you became Well Fed?
44 of 52 people found the following review helpful
on October 29, 2013
I was excited to get another Paleo cookbook to add to my shelf. I have been Paleo for 1 year and have many cookbooks, but this had high ratings so I bought it. The recipes have too many steps, too much prep, and many I just didn't like. Plus all of the recipes seemed to have at least one ingredient I didn't already have in my kitchen and that proved hard to find even in our Whole Foods.
If you want simple, delicious recipes and you are new to Paleo, I highly recommend any book by Diane Sanfallipo, especially "Practical Paleo" or "Make it Paleo" by Bill Staley and Hayley Mason.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on March 10, 2012
I bought this book after reading Emily Deans' review on her evolutionary psychology blog and surveying the numerous Amazon reviews.
Firstly, be prepared: the book seems expensive for its size (it measures 9" by 9" and is a half inch thick; it contains ~80 recipes, though each one has several variations). It seems expensive because every other cookbook and magazine I've ever bought has only a few recipes that I would ever realistically make. In contrast, I can see making 90+% of the recipes in this book. But it paid for itself the day it arrived when I made my two-year-old son several batches of Nori chips (as he scarfed them down, I worried about him ODing on the amount of iodine in seaweed) and Rogan Josh for dinner (I could have eaten the spice mix alone with a spoon).
Secondly, the binding is crappy. Just commit to getting it spiral-bound (~$4) before you use it. Because of its size, it won't stay open on the counter and many reviewers have had the pages come out after minimal use of the book. When you buy the book you also get a code to download a pdf version for $1, so if you can work in the kitchen with a laptop, perhaps the hard copy binding won't be an issue for you.
Melissa Joulwan's colloquial style is fun and warm, and the recipes are practical, as in easy to prepare and without crazy or wildly expensive ingredients. She has wonderful suggestions on how to make your life easier (and keep yourself from falling off the primal/paleo wagon) by taking time on the weekend to pre-prepare many ingredients for the upcoming week. Also, the recipes seem well-tested; every recipe I've made so far has worked well as given, with its variations and with personal experimentation.
But the way in which this book shines is in the use of spices and herbs. I missed the full flavors of the pre-primal cooking we once did. And as much as one has to love Mark Sisson, his recipes seem not-quite-fully tested (I am still pissed about the liver hashed browns that were just a big mess) and a bit bland. Melissa Joulwan's recipes contain nothing overly exotic but the combinations are beautiful and subtle. The flavor themes are inspired by various geographic regions without being purist, making them accessible and adaptable. Really wonderful cookbook.
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on March 3, 2012
I cook a lot. We usually eat at home at least six night as week, and my wife and I both take a lunch to work nearly every day. At least ninety percent of the time it's me doing the cooking. I like it. It's gratifying to create your own fuel and the positive reactions of others when you've done a good job are priceless.
While I cook a lot I'm not great with recipes. I've been accused of being anti-measurement before. Definitely guilty. If it's something I've really never made before I might follow the recipe the first time. Even then I usually adjust spices and amounts of ingredients on the fly, completely deaf to any words of protest, much to my wife's chagrin.
I still like cookbooks though. They're great for inspiration and most of the time I'll spend a lot of time looking at the pictures. Most of the time though I'll cook one or two recipes out of them, and then they sit on the shelf. Looking good, but little more than eye candy and the occasional reference. That was before Well Fed came in the mail.
Well Fed is primarily a book of recipes that strictly follow the paleo diet with a strong focus on broadening peoples' global recipe repertoire. Melissa intentionally visits a breadth of regions with her food, crisscrossing the globe as she sees fit to put out delicious, easily made, recipes that are also really healthy.
Since we purchased the book in January I've made more recipes out of this single book than any of our other cookbooks. (Even more than Joy of Cooking or the Ad Hoc at Home book, which I seriously love.) Each recipe has been great and worth following, but more than the individual (fantastic) recipes Melissa guides her reader to restructure their cooking to be more efficient.
The Weekly Cookup concept is so logical and simple that I felt like an idiot for not having already thought of it, particularly my background cooking in professional kitchens. The short version is one day a week cook and prep a whole bunch of food, and then leisurely enjoy the fruits of your labor all week by easily reheating and re-blending your tasty ingredients into full meals.
The whole concept is tied to running your home kitchen like a restaurant kitchen. If you prep your ingredients the actual cooking is faster. Need a quick weeknight meal? Take your pre-chopped cabbage, onions, and zucchini, throw them in a pan with some spices and a pre-cooked protein and enjoy awesome dinner in about fifteen minutes.
Even if you're not going to eat paleo full time this book is worth it. The pages on setting up your kitchen and the weekly cookup are worth the cover price alone.
Normally I'd be completely satisfied just getting a couple good recipes from a book, but unlike most of the cookbooks we have (Relegated to a reference at best.) I've been using the book so much I thought it best rebuild the book as a binder with plastic pages to increase its durability and protect it from my abusive cooking style.
22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on February 20, 2012
I love the content and writing style of this book. It is both entertaining and informative and provides the tools to allow one to go off on one's own cooking creatively. I love the weekly cooking session she advises. However, and it's almost a deal breaker, the pages started falling out of the book the first time I looked at it. Half of them are out by now and I've only cooked from the book once! I'm going to see if I can put the pages in a 3-ringed binder. This is one of the only reviews I've ever written. I think people need to know the book will self destruct.
23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on February 24, 2012
I bought the digital copy of this book off of Melissa's website, only because it wasn't available as a digital copy yet.
Although I'm not 100% Paleo, I am a "slow carb" eater, meaning I still eat beans and the occasional whole grain.
I. LOVE. this book.
There are not many cookbooks out there that I can say I refer to on a regular basis, but I always have this one open. So far, I've made the Scotch Eggs, Egg Foo Yung, The "Best chicken you'll ever eat", the mashed cauliflower(so simple! so tasty!), the Shepherds Pie and the Cracknitas.. err.. I mean Carnitas.. I made those a few times actual.. fan-freaking-tastic. and the Rogan Josh? OMG!!!!!
If you do want to follow a Paleo lifestyle, or if you are simply looking for tips on how to make cooking healthy, hearty food at home, this book is for you. Melissa includes a lot of great tips on how to make daily cooking simple and fast, as well as information on how to do a weekly "cook up" so that you CAN toss stuff together that is good and good for you. The Spousal Unit thinks Paleo is "a crazy way to eat" but has eaten every last thing I've made out of this book.
"You know how you could do that?"
I think this is my favorite part of the book.. every recipe has a section called "You know how you could do that?".. it's ways to take the given recipe and change it up.. in fact, the entire concept of "hot plates" is all about picking a protein, pick a "cuisine" (Mexican, Asian, Mediterranean)and picking your veggies.. then spicing it up.
There is a lot of emphasis on Paleo ingredients, as one would expect. I have found that the recipes do not suffer at all from using soy sauce (not a Paleo food) instead of coconut aminos (Paleo food). I would, however encourage readers to use the coconut milk where recommended.. it added a level of flavor to the mashed cauliflower that really *made* the dish.. and trust me.. I've tried many many variations of mashed cauliflower.
Again, I'm not 100% Paleo, but I encourage anyone looking for inspiration in the kitchen and a bit of encouragement to take back cooking in the home to pick up this book. Melissa has a real understanding of the time constraints of modern day living and embraces modern conveniences (like a microwave and slow cooker) to make Caveman Cooking convenient and tasty.
Oh.. as a side note, Melissa likes the heat.. there is a lot of cayenne in many of these recipes.. if you are sensitive to spicy foods, just dial back the cayenne. The recipes are just as good with less heat