by lisa | 30 June 2013 10:17
The Paleo Parents team contacted me a few months ago to see if I would be interested in receiving an advance copy of their new book ‘Beyond Bacon’ for review. Holy Swiss Cow “YES!!”, I already had this book on my ‘must get’ list since they first announced that they were writing it. I am a huge fan of Stacy and Matt and the work that they do. Go read this post on their blog and you’ll know exactly why I think they are so awesome.
I’ve been running to my mailbox everyday for weeks now waiting for my copy to arrive. It finally got here last week (everything takes forever to get all the way to Switzerland) and I sat right down and read it cover to cover.
Photographer Aimee Buxton has filled this book with stunning food photography. As a food blogger, I know how difficult it can be to capture the essence of what you’ve created in the kitchen and translate that in a picture. Looking at the pictures in this book makes me want to make every single recipe. She even managed to make Head Cheese look tempting! You can read about her experience shooting photos for the book here.
I learned a ton from this book. The whole first section of the book, called “Why We Wrote This Love Letter to Pork”, details how to find and afford pastured pork, the history of pig cultivation, the science of pork and saturated fat and what pork does and doesn’t do to your health. There is an awesome guide to pork cuts and where they are found on the pig. This is especially helpful to me since animals are butchered differently in Switzerland than they are in the US. I now have a handy little guide that I can take to my butcher so that I can show him exactly which cut I want.
The next section of the book teaches you the basics of some unique cooking techniques that you might not have tried before. You can learn how to make and stuff your own sausage, how to smoke meat, how to render lard and then how to deep fry stuff in the lard you made. Yes, I’m having a new love affair with lard.
The layout of this cookbook is excellent. The book starts with a table of contents and a foreword by my favorite farmer Joel Salatan. The recipes are broken down into sections including: grilled and smoked recipes, soups and stews, braised and roasted, conventional preparations, fried foods, veggies and sides, sauces and dressings and sweet things. The book finishes off with an index for easy navigation, a list of resources and a metric/US conversion chart, which is particularly useful to those of us living outside the States.
It has to be the right size, feel good in my hands, be printed on quality paper and be able to stand the beating I’m likely to put it through over the years. This books fits the bill on all accounts. It’s just the right size, printed to a very high standard and the hardcover is as durable as it is beautiful.
It’s all well and good for a book to be so aesthetically pleasing that you could use it as a coffee table book (yes, this could be a coffee table book), but are the recipes any good? Well, of course, I dove right in and started cooking to find out. I had over 100 recipes to choose from…oh my. We made Apple Bacon Stuffed Porkchops. I should tell you that I usually don’t like pork chops all that much because I find them to be dry most of the time. I’m also not a huge fan of apple and pork together (but my husband is, which is why we chose this recipe). I was blown away by how good this turned out. Moist, tender flavorful meat and the stuffing was beyond fantastic. I snuck back in the kitchen and gobbled up more of the stuffing when nobody was looking.
Now I just have to decide what to try next. I’m thinking ‘Best Brownies topped with Maple Bacon Frozen Custard topped with Salted Caramel Bacon Sauce. If that doesn’t make you want to run right out and get a copy of this book, I don’t know what will.
So there you have it. I love this book and I know I’ll get tons of use out of it. Beyond Bacon will be released next week on July 2nd and you can order from Amazon here. You should also check out Matt and Stacy’s other book Eat Like a Dinosaur which is a very kid friendly cookbook that the whole family will love.
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