A super amazing book: Beyond Bacon book review. Recipes, techniques, and health!
Stacy and Matt blog at PaleoParents.com, and already wrote an awesome book of Paleo-friendly (grain, legume, and dairy free, whole foods) recipes for kids. But this book's for the adults--it's gorgeous, and packed with recipes I can't wait to try.
Stacy is a totally inspirational blogger who completely turned her health around. They have an amazing before/after story about their family and Stacy's health, and I love listening to "The Paleo View" podcast that Stacy does with another awesome blogger--really great, balanced approach to health through a real food diet.
So I was excited to read their newest book, and so glad I get to review a copy!! (Everyone loves bacon, right? Have you heard Jim Gaffigan's bit about it? Even when I was vegan I couldn't argue with him there--it's delicious.) But this book is about more than bacon: the delicious potential and health benefits of all parts of the whole (pastured) pig.
Husband and I went through the whole thing this Saturday morning and enjoyed it so much. We can't wait to try out recipes from each section. (My husband has a blog about our nutrient-dense diet and healthy lifestyle, called Grassfed Geek, so a book about getting the most out of meat from healthy animals was super interesting to him, too!) So yep, it's pretty crazy that less than a year ago I ate a mostly raw vegan diet, and now I'm soooooo excited about this gorgeous pork book!
The first thing I noticed is, this book is gorgeous. Not only is the photography amazing (and the recipes look sooooo good), the drawn designs and homey layout are so nice! Really just a very pleasant experience reading it.
There's a forward by Joel Salatin, possibly the coolest farmers there is. (You may remember him from the last part of The Omnivore's Dilemma, but he's also written many books himself on sustainable farming and health. He's been on some of my fave podcasts recently, too--here and here.)
The first main chunk of the book is the "Why we wrote this love letter to pork" section. These pages are PACKED with amazing info about health and pork--pastured pork. Stacy and Matt explain clearly and simply why they emphasize pastured pork rather than conventional feeding operation pork, plus how to find and afford it. There's a great cut sheet chart, always one of my favorite parts of meat cookbooks. They give advice on how to buy a whole pig, something my mother-in-law just did from a local farm, actually, so I recognized some of the terms. We may have to try that next! (We've ordered beef and lamb shares before.)
The science parts of health and diet books/resources are always my fave, though. This section includes some history of heart disease and obesity and diet--just another reminder that the link between dietary cholesterol and saturated fat and heart disease is not strong. Saturated fats are so good for us!
There's also a neat chart comparing the health pro's of various organ meats and other parts of the animal. Yep, liver is extremely nutrient-dense! So are the others. Very cool comparison.
There's a section on how to get started and learn some of the techniques they do a lot of--smoking, deep frying, and sausage stuffing. Then come the recipes! First, the basic recipes section, including this recipe I cannot wait to try. I really want to make my own bacon using pork belly from a local farmer. It would be nitrite-free! I bet it would be amazing! We really wanna try making scrapple, too. Just got to get the right parts of the animal.
We've made our own bone broth many times now, and so we have a lot of mostly beef fat in the fridge and freezer, and we like to cook with it rather than butter or oil sometimes because the fats oxidize at a higher temperature and so we can be sure we're not getting inflammatory damaged fats. (You may have seen this post about how much I love coconut oil. I've also found myself using our homemade lard for cooking all the time!) But we've never rendered our own fat from cuts of fat before, and we do have some in our downstairs freezer that we want to use! So I was excited for the rendering fat instructions in the book!
Then there are the rest of the recipes--grilled/smoked recipes, soups and stews, braised and roasted pork, traditional recipes, frying with lard, veggies and sides, sauces and dressings, and desserts.
As we flipped through the recipes, we got a little overwhelmed because every. single. thing. sounded absolutely amazing!!!!!! The photos are gorgeous, the flavors are all different and carefully selected, nothing sounded too complicated, and every dish looked so delicious and nourishing, I just wanted to understand them all. So hopefully we can start going through these and try a bunch of them soon! (This recipe is up as a teaser on their site, here!)
There are veggie recipes, too. I imagine a lot of things taste better with lard!
I mentioned there's also a desserts section. If you've been to Portland lately you may have heard of the bacon donuts, bacon chocolate, bacon brittle, bacon ice cream, and other bacon-ey treats that are popular here (and other cities, I'm sure!). But these go beyond your basic bacon chocolate cupcake. I cannot wait to make this savory bacon jam (like a chutney, almost)! (There's also a recipe for the grain-free biscuits it's shown with!)
|Source: Paleo Parents, Beyond Bacon FAQs|
And this. Um, yum.
|Source: Paleo Parents, A Look Inside Beyond Bacon|
As I said, overwhelmed by how many awesome recipes there are, so I haven't picked any to try yet and I can't even begin to list. ;) And, the next cooler day we get, I think we'll try rendering our own lard from that fat in our freezer. I'm excited!
Check out the book on Amazon if you're a real foods foodie like me! And, I can personally recommend Stacy's podcast for some really cool, science-based perspectives on diet/lifestyle/health for the whole family. And once more, the blog is PaleoParents.com!