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.