Book Review: "Well Fed 2" by Melissa Joulwan
I won’t lie. I was anxiously awaiting my review copy of Well Fed 2 by Melissa Joulwan. I reviewed Melissa’s first cookbook, Well Fed, a while back and it quickly became one of my favorites. There were many reasons for that, and while chief among those reasons was the highly quality of the recipes in Well Fed, it also had a lot to do with the general sassiness and humor that pervaded the book.
Turns out unlike your average Hollywood action flick, Well Fed 2 is a worthy sequel. It does not disappoint when it comes to any of the qualities I loved about Melissa’s first cookbook, and builds on that foundation with even more amazing recipes. From entertaining stories that go with every recipe, to tips on how to make variations, to space for writing notes, to iPod playlists, this cookbook is not only full of good food, but it’s a downright entertaining read, as well. I actually read the recipe stories out loud to my husband each time I made dinner from this book, and I must say, it did add to the fun and enjoyment of the meal.
One major thing I love about Well Fed 2 is it’s a paleo cookbook that’s actually paleo. Now, don’t get me wrong, anyone who’s seen my Facebook feed knows I love paleo baking. But the truth is, I feed all that stuff to my husband, who’s a hard gainer, and I eat little of it myself. All those calories are good things for him, but for me (and most people out there) all those calories are not a good thing. So I sometimes get frustrated when I see “paleo” cookbooks full of what actually amounts to grain-free, dairy-free junk food. That is not the case with either the original Well Fed cookbook, or this new sequel. Well Fed 2 follows the rule of “no added sugar.” That means no brown sugar, maple syrup, agave nectar, honey, or stevia, and fruit is also kept to a minimum and noted as optional.
Some other great things about this book are the inclusion of notes on how to make almost all the recipes autoimmune protocol compliant and an extensive conversation about the emotional and mental aspects of healthy eating. Also, I learned what a ham dogger is and now I kind of want one for my kitchen.
For those without a lot of time to spend in the kitchen, there are some seriously useful sections of this book. If you find yourself eating a lot of eggs, grass-fed burgers, and broccoli, and are getting sick of the same meal, then the “Quick Meals” and “Burgers, Balls & Bangers” sections of this book will provide you with endless and simple variations. You will need to invest in some spices, but that’s one of the other great aspects about this cookbook - lots of African, Middle Eastern, European, and otherwise exotic spices.
Recipes I tried included:
- Beef Stew Provencal
- Fiesta Pork Chops
- Taj Mahal Chicken
- Cincinnati Chili
- West African Chicken Stew
- Sunrise Scramble
- Mustard Garlic Brussels Sprouts
- Belly Dance Beet Salad
- Simple Lemon Spinach
While some of the recipes may seem a little complicated at first glance, in practice they are pretty straightforward. I also like that Melissa is frozen vegetable friendly. Fresh veggies are great, but there is some debate over whether fresh or frozen vegetables actually pack more nutrition, not to mention the simple fact that frozen vegetables are just more practical a lot of the time. So I enjoyed the fact that some of Melissa’s recipes either call for frozen vegetables or suggest frozen vegetables as an alternative to buying fresh.
One thing I did experience while making recipes from Well Fed 2 was that there often seemed to not be enough protein in the recipes as written. By that I mean, I would double the meat content in most of the dishes next time around. I don’t know if my husband and I are just particularly ravenous people, but the veggie to sauce to meat ratio seemed off to us. But it’s really simply solved, as I’d just double the meat and leave everything else the same. We might just be pigs.
Overall, I loved this book. I would recommend it to any foodie who’s transitioning to paleo eating, and it’s also highly useful for anyone new to the kitchen. This cookbook has all the basics covered and is full of detailed instruction for those building their kitchen and pantry, but also includes wonderful variety and flavor.
And for those taking on the Whole30 Program, you should know that all the recipes except two in this book are Whole30 approved. In addition, when you buy a print copy of the book, for one dollar more you can also download a PDF version. That dollar and one dollar from every PDF sale goes toward a charity called Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves. So you get good food for buying this book and you help others get access to good, clean food, as well.
If you’re super curious now, you can download a 35-page preview of Well Fed 2 here.
“Well Fed 2” is available for $19.91 on Amazon.com.
You can win a free copy of Well Fed 2!
We're giving away copies to two lucky readers! Here's how to win:
- Like Breaking Muscle on Facebook
- Like The Clothes Make the Girl on Facebook
- Come back here and comment saying you liked us!
This will earn you an entry into a random drawing for your own free copy of "Well Fed 2"! The window for entry will end at 12pm Pacific tomorrow, Thursday 10/17/2013.