I know I’ve been a tad sadistic for the past few months, dropping hints about a mysterious “side project” and taunting you with new dishes while withholding the recipes. I’ve been a total see-you-next-Tuesday, and for that, I apologize.

But know this: It gives me zero pleasure to keep secrets from you. In fact, IT’S KILLING ME INSIDE.

I’ve never been able to keep secrets. I can’t throw surprise parties ‘cause I’m a big blabbermouth. I’d make a terrible CIA agent; if I got caught, I’d barf up every last piece of classified information – no torture required. So you can imagine how tough it’s been to keep my pie hole shut. At this point, if I hold it in any longer, I’m going to explode.

So here goes.

The top secret “side project” revealed at last – along with some preview pictures – after the jump!

A lot of folks assume I’m writing a cookbook. It’s obvious from my blog posts that I’ve been testing out (and stockpiling) dozens of new recipes like a lunatic for months now. Plus, many of my Paleo Superfriends (Sarah, Bill and Hayley, Jules and Charles, Melicious, Stacy and Matt, Diane, Melissa and Dallas) have tomes either in the works or on bookshelves – so I must be next, right?


I have no book deal to announce. Although I’m an unabashed cookbook nerd (I own a bazillion of them – I counted), and I’ve been approached about writing one before, you won’t be flipping through the pages of a Nom Nom Paleo cookbook anytime soon. Sorry!

A few of you also wondered if I’m starting a Nom Nom Paleo restaurant or food truck or catering business or meal delivery service. 

Answer: NOPE. I worked in food service as a high schooler, and there’s no aspect of my teenage years I wish to relive.

Instead, my side project is…(drum roll, please)…a kick-ass Nom Nom Paleo cooking app for the iPad!

Really! I’m not joking!

If all goes as planned, the official Nom Nom Paleo app will launch this spring with 110+ recipes and 1,500+(!) high-resolution photos that show every step of the cooking process. (We plan to charge $4.99 for approximately 50 recipes, with another 60 recipes available for in-app purchase.) The app will feature tons of new recipes with my own special brand of commentary, as well as updated versions of classic Nom Nom Paleo dishes. With a swipe of the finger, users will be able to follow each recipe from the cutting board to the dining room table. In addition, the app will offer a “Paleo 101” primer, a 30-day meal planning guide, a customizable shopping list, a collection of culinary tips, tricks, and trivia, links to exclusive online content, and much, much more.

And that’s just the start. Once you download it, I’ll have the ability to seamlessly update the app with new recipes and content. It’ll be like an interactive cookbook with regularly updated recipes! Pretty cool, right?

I know you probably have some questions. But before you fire away, let me try to head off a few of them. 

Q: What?!? I expected an ACTUAL PHYSICAL COOKBOOK, woman! One with friggin’ PAGES that I can stick on my SHELF! Why aren’t you giving me what I want?!?

A: Wow. Calm yourself. There are a number of fantastic Paleo cookbooks on the market, including Well Fed, Make It Paleo, Paleo Comfort Foods, and Everyday Paleo. More still are hitting bookstores soon. I love ‘em all, and am positively giddy for all my buddies who’ve succeeded so wildly as authors. I’m certainly not ruling out writing a cookbook someday, but right now, I’m really excited about the increasing use of cooking apps in the kitchen. As a recent New York Times article pointed out:

The interface of a tablet offers possibilities to the cook that would be impossible with a laptop, let alone a book. Swiping, tapping and zooming through information presented in multimedia is a good match for the experience of cooking, which involves all the senses and the brain, as well. And when those faculties fail, as often happens in high-stress kitchen scenarios like Thanksgiving, apps can come to the rescue with features like technique videos, embedded glossaries and social media links. 

My hope is to create an app that will give my readers the experience of cooking with me at home – complete with images of every single step of the cooking process and my own flippant, snarky commentary. I suppose I could’ve tried to cram all of our step-by-step photos and instructions into a cookbook, but I think a book with over fifteen hundred photos would be a pain in the keister to lug around the kitchen. 

Q: So is this an e-book?

A: No. E-books are great, but they’re more or less static documents that you scroll through like a regular book. We’re aiming for something different, and working like crazy to design a super-engaging and immersive app. Just you wait and see!

Q: Wait – who’s developing the app? You’re a pharmacist, not a programmer!

A: I am indeed a drug dealer with zero programming knowledge. And while Fitbomb is a jack of all trades, he has no experience with mobile app design or development, either. We had to call in the pros to help us out. We hired YMedia Labs, a developer that’s done work for companies like the BBC, Foot Locker, Lonely Planet, and Genentech, and had one of their apps featured in an iPad commercial. They’re pretty damned good at what they do.

A team led by Ryan Spencer of YMedia Labs has spent the past few months working closely with us to develop a really unique user experience, user interface, and overall design that we think you’ll love. At the same time, Fitbomb and I have also been busting our butts creating new recipes, shooting and editing thousands (THOUSANDS!) of photos, and writing all the other content you’ll find on the app.

Q: That’s all fine and good, but why isn’t this app free?!? I’ll gladly pay for a cookbook, but I’ll never, ever pay for an app, lady!

A: Sorry to hear that, but the app won’t be free. This blog and its Recipe Index (with all 200+ recipes) will continue to be free, but we can’t afford to give the app away. We had to break into our piggy bank to pay for the design and development of this baby, and we’re pouring our hearts and souls (and hundreds of hours) into it, too. I’ve BLED for this project, people. (Chopping carrots is an occupational hazard.) Fitbomb’s scaled down his own blogging for a couple of months because he spends every free moment working on our app. We’ve even recruited my super-chef sister to pitch in with some of the recipe development. Besides, if we don’t recoup some of the money we’ve spent on this app, our kids aren’t going to college. (Kidding! They’re Asian, so there’s no way in hell they’re skipping college.)

The good news? I’m committed to keeping this app super-affordable, and to delivering lots of bang for the buck. Don’t hold me to this, but we’re tentatively planning to charge $4.99 for the app, which will buy you more than 50 recipes and a whole bunch of awesome features. You can stop there, but the app will also offer 6 “expansion packs” of 10 recipes each. Each expansion pack is yours for 99 cents each, so even if you’re a Nom Nom Paleo completist who buys all 110+ recipes available at launch, you’ll end up spending just $10.93 – less than the cost of a typical e-book.

Q: Curses! I don’t have an iPad! Why aren’t you making an iPhone/Android/Kindle Fire app instead?

A: Dry those tears. It’s not the end of the world. You’ve made it through life without a Nom Nom Paleo iPad app, and I’m pretty sure you’ll do just fine without one. Besides, something tells me you may have a chance to win an iPad2 soon. (What? Too obvious?)

We decided to go with the iPad because: (1) we think the iPad is insanely awesome; (2) we wanted to display the app’s visuals on a larger screen than the iPhone’s; and (3) we don’t own a Kindle Fire or other Android device. The tablet market is currently dominated by the iPad, so it made sense to start there.

If this app sells like hotcakes (and I hope it will!), we hope to develop an iPhone and/or Android version in the future.

Q: When’s it going to be available?

A: With any luck, the app will be ready within the next couple of months. Our fingers are crossed – but development and testing takes time, and we want to get this right.

Anyway, we’ll reveal more as the launch approaches, but trust me: We’re doing our very best to design something that’ll knock your socks off. (And once they’re knocked off, please go buy yourself some new Nom Nom Paleo knee-highs. I should have them up for sale by then.)

Got more questions? Hit me up in the comments below. Tell me: Are you glad, mad, or indifferent?

About Michelle Tam

Hello! My name is Michelle Tam, and I love to eat. I think about food all the time. It borders on obsession. I’ve always loved the sights and smells of the kitchen. My mother was (and is) an excellent cook, and as a kid, I was her little shadow as she prepared supper each night. From her, I gained a deep, abiding love for magically transforming pantry items into mouth-watering family meals.

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