Thursday, March 15, 2012

Two Cookbooks: Well Fed and The Healthy Gluten-Free Life

By Diana Hsieh

I've had a few books in my pile to review for the past few weeks -- okay... maybe a bit longer than that. I'm super-busy right now with SnowCon 2012, so I don't have time to write as much as I'd like, but I thought that posting these two reviews would be better than nothing! (Disclosure mandated by the turds at the FTC: These books were given to me for free as review copies.)

Well Fed by Melissa "Melicious" Joulwan of The Clothes Make The Girl

Well Fed is a fabulous addition my growing collection of paleo cookbooks. Its recipes are "made with zero grains, legumes, soy, sugar, dairy, or alcohol" -- which I think makes it compliant with the strict demands of the Whole 30. (Oh look, I was right! The web page for the book says: "Melissa and Dallas Hartwig of Whole9 wrote the foreword for Well Fed. And even better, they've given all of the Well Fed recipes (except for one dessert) their stamp of approval for happy eating during participation in the Whole30 program.")

Also, it's just beautifully done, with lucious pictures and sassy, easy-to-navigate design. It's chock-full of useful tidbits like prep and cook time, good companion recipes, and more. Its tone is friendly and approachable: you feel like you've got a friend in the kitchen.

Mostly, I'm impressed that the recipes are not standard paleo fare: they're a bit exotic and off-the-beaten path -- and wow, they look amazingly delicious and not difficult to make. Alas, I've not yet had time to make any, but I will soon!

This cookbook would be particularly suitable for two kinds of people, I think: (1) anyone who has been cooking paleo for a while and wants some variety and adventure and (2) a foodie interested in eating paleo. It's not that others won't enjoy it -- far from that -- but this cookbook is definitely a must-have for the paleo foodie.

You can buy a PDF of this book for $14.99 or buy a softcover from Amazon. (If you buy the softcover, you get a coupon for the PDF for just $1.)

The Healthy Gluten-Free Life by Tammy Credicott

For me, this cookbook isn't a great fit. Lots of its recipes use foods that I avoid, particularly gluten-free flours and sweeteners. Moreover, I'm just not interested in smoking candy cigarettes: I really enjoy full-blown paleo foods, and I don't feel any need to make pancakes, muffins, and other baked goods. That's mostly a problem in the breakfasts and desserts; the entrées and sides look far more appealing to me.

However, I imagine that some parents might find the recipes in this book really helpful when cooking for a family without a well-tuned paleo palate. Also, the recipes are not merely gluten-free: they're also dairy-free, soy-free, and egg-free. If you have an egg allergy or intolerance, this cookbook might be just what you need!

This cookbook is by the same publisher as Paleo Comfort Foods and Make it Paleo. So it's quite beautiful, with huge mouth-watering pictures. Alas, the cookbook lacks a proper table of contents, which is a huge negative. I'd love the author to post a table of contents to the web, as Paleo Comfort Foods did.

I have two other books that I'd like to review... but first, I need to find the time to read them! They are:

If you've read them, feel free to post your thoughts on them in the comments.

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