I’m ridiculously excited that my week of nightshifts is over because that means I finally have time to geek out on my pal Russ Crandall’s new cookbook, The Ancestral Table. A review copy of his beautiful book landed on my doorstep in the middle of my workweek, and I’ve been counting down the days ’til I can spend an entire day cooking all the dishes I’ve flagged in this book. (My Japanese-food-loving spawn have already demanded that I make Russ’s Teriyaki Chicken, Japanese Beef Curry, and Yakitori—preferably all at once.)
I already know I’m going to have a blast cooking through this book. Russ is one of my favorite food bloggers ’cause he focuses on perfectly re-creating classic gourmet dishes with traditional, real-food ingredients—and highlights each recipe with sharp, uncluttered photographs to boot. It’s no wonder that his blog, The Domestic Man, was a finalist for Saveur’s Best Special Diets Food Blog Award last year.
If you’re a fan of Russ’s blog, too, you’ll adore his book. Not only does The Ancestral Table feature spot-on international recipes, enlightening food facts, and beautiful photos — it also explains why Russ incorporates rice, potatoes, and dairy in many of his recipes. A good number of us who eat Paleo have added some or all of these formerly-verboten ingredients back into our diet; personally, I’ve found that I feel fine (even better!) consuming “safe starches” in moderate amounts. The bottom line, after all, is that our food should be nourishing and delicious without making us feel like crap afterwards.
A few days ago, I asked Russ if he would reveal some deep-dark secrets about his new cookbook on my blog—and he was kind enough to oblige. Take it away, Russ! (And go pre-order his cookbook!)
1. Bacon only appears 4 times in the book. The Paleo movement is often associated with bacon, and for good reason; after a cursory data pull (using the Paleo cookbooks I have here at the house), bacon shows up in an average of 13% of all recipes in Paleo cookbooks. In my book, bacon shows up in 3% of the recipes. That’s not a dig against bacon or the presence of bacon in other cookbooks. It’s more of a way to highlight the diversity you’ll find in The Ancestral Table.