Well Fed Weeknights: an overdue review

I like Melissa Joulwan’s work with paleo cooking because she acknowledges that it requires a very different mindset and preparation to do successfully long-term. I come from a very carb-centric background, with negligible interest in vegetables. But a successful paleo approach to meals, at least for our family (some of us have very specific nutritional requirements), necessitates a focus on vegetables (preferably in the plural) at each meal. Sometimes I can do that. A lot of times I just can’t.

In previous books, Joulwan’s way of taking the daily-ness out of the eternal round of meal prep is to do a weekly cook-up. Once a week (or so), take your load of veggies and meats and get things semi-prepared. Clean and cut the veggies, braise them or otherwise get them at least partially cooked, pre-cook the meat. Essentially, get everything set-up so you can throw together a meal of already-prepared components quickly.

Well Fed: Weeknights focuses instead on straight-forward meals that can be prepared in 45 minutes or less. The most important part for me is that the vegetables are already present in the recipes. Yes, I could add a side of spinach, or cooked carrots, to a sausage recipe. But usually, That. Doesn’t. Happen. I may have the best intentions, and I can recite, chapter and verse, why it is so important to include veggies. But some times life is too much to handle and the veggies—because A)they don’t provide the same stomach-filling capability of the meat, and B)aren’t appreciated anyway—get short shrift.

These recipes INCLUDE THE VEGGIES RIGHT IN THEM, in the actual instructions. There is no need to do extra thinking, I just have to buy the ingredients and follow the instructions. It makes serving the vegetables easier than not serving the vegetables. And to me, that’s worth the price of admission, right there.
I could be a better person and do the weekly cook-up every weekend—I certainly aim for it.

I could use more willpower and force myself to do better than I have in the past.
But having a tool that makes ‘objectively healthy’ (instead of ‘at least it’s not too bad for us’) the EASIER option, is really, really helpful. Having a cookbook that doesn’t require me to be a better person, when I’m already stretched thin and almost broken, is close enough to miraculous for me.
Willpower not required.

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