The Paleo Experiment

We had some friends over for dinner last night. They eat a Paleo Diet. I didn’t know much about it except from reading my friend’s blog where she talks about what they eat. I’d been afraid to cook for them because I thought our diets would be incompatible (since we’re vegetarians, if you hadn’t figured that out from my veggie recipes and cookbooks). But when I read that she shops at the farmer’s market for her vegetables and cooks up a big stew every week, I thought, Yes, I can cook for them–I’ll just make a stew with no meat.

But you knew we couldn’t leave it at that…

So I made a curried butternut squash soup with coconut milk, an edamame-asparagus bisque (both from Robin Robertson’s 1000 Vegan Recipes), and the Spanish potato tortilla my friend John always used to make for us (which I approximated by following Mark Bittman’s suggestions). They were all great–I like the asparagus soup a little better and I overcooked the tortilla a bit, but it was still delicious. I really enjoyed learning about the paleo diet–we won’t be doing it because it’s simply too radical a departure from what we eat now, but I firmly believe any time you eat more vegetables and less processed food, it’s a good day.

Now I have eggplant, cabbage, carrots, and green peppers in the fridge, because I thought I was going to make a stew with those things, but when I started looking at recipes, I couldn’t resist the other two soups. What should I do with those things? If you don’t have any absolutely must try recipe ideas, I’m going to consult my favorite man on the planet that I don’t actually know: Mark Bittman. I love love love his book How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. It really suits my style. He says, here are the things you must have to make the very basic iteration of this recipe, and then here are 27 ways to vary it up depending on what you have in the fridge and pantry. Never a bad recipe, except once when I ignored the things-you-must-have section. Love his granola recipe.



  1. Hey Leigh,
    I’ve been in a bit of a romantic food kick lately. I read cookbooks like novels and I toil over how to make the perfect whipped egg white peaks (haven’t succeeded yet). My most recent diversion is the Cooking Illustrated cookbook. No glossy food porn, but lots of interesting tidbits on how to make the perfect whatever. Digging the hummus and risotto recipes. I think my obsession with food mechanics is a subconscious attempt for me to create order in a chaotic reality. I find so many similarities between my cooking and parenting styles. I lean towards free-form, but I aspire to be more structured. I read the rule or recipe, but adjust the seasoning when the flavor doesn’t feel or taste right. I guess I’m a pragmatic parent and cook. I don’t take too many risks, but I allow myself a few mistakes here and there. Although I find myself to be a rather uncreative person, parenting and cooking offer me a unique opportunity to be more imaginative and inventive. I like that.

    I’m not sure what about this particular post inspired me to write this. I guess your blog always makes me think about food and kids. Miss you…

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