The cookbook that gets to sit next to my Jacques Pépin cookbook

Disclaimer: I was selected as a 100 Days of Real Food Cookbook Ambassador. I received an advance copy of the cookbook in exchange for my honest review, no other funds were given. All opinions are my own and/or my toddler’s. 

100 days of real food cookbookOn the list of “things yuppie adults and/or parents really like talking about when interacting with other yuppie adults and/or parents” are, in order:

  • Decluttering
  • “That podcast I just listened to about that, I’ll send you the link to it!”
  • “Real” (or “Whole”) food

For me, listening to other people talk about the last one is about as interesting as listening to someone’s flight delay/airline woes/cancellation story. I know in my heart the person telling the story believes in their heart that this flight delay/cancellation is really different than your flight delay story and it’s worth telling. It’s not. Here’s why: everybody has a story and (more importantly), nobody cares about someone else’s. Everybody thinks their flight delay story is more interesting/worse/deserves more, “Wow! The airlines really did that?! What happened next?” than will ever be received telling an airline delay story has ever been told. But as with every single flight delay story in the history of flight delay stories: nobody listening will ever care. It’s about as interesting to people as recapping a plot to a sitcom or what their dream last night was about. It’s important to you, as the teller of the story who lived through the agony of dealing with the airlines, but to everyone else it sounds about like the teacher from Charlie Brown. The same goes for talking about diets or your “whole foods” challenge.

All of which is to say: when my husband and I embarked on the “10-day Real Food Challenge” we didn’t tell people until it came up. I didn’t blog about it. I just wanted to do it, because everyone has their version of “real food” (paleo! Whole30! gluten-free! low-fat! no-low-fat-only-whole-fat! wheat belly! blah blah blah!) and nobody cares what your “brand” is.

However, my husband and I’s eating had gotten, shall we say, a little off the rails, so I looked for something to get a little more back on track but that I could still do with a toddler in the house. After I watched the documentary Fed Up (available to stream on Netflix) about sugar and how food manufacturers amped up sugar in food to replace fat in “low-fat” food and how that’s actually the cause of the obesity epidemic in America (and yes, even no-calorie sugar counts as sugar), I knew I wanted something that made sense to me. 100 Days of Real Food was the answer. The rules are simple. You can eat anything (including beer/wine! which right now doesn’t help me, but, you know, yay!) except:

  • White flour/rice. (All flour must be whole wheat flour, and rice must be whole grain brown rice…psst, whole wheat pasta is actually awesome!)
  • No refined sweeteners (sugar, Splenda, Stevia, etc. are all out, but honey and syrup are okay)
  • Anything out of a can/box with more than 5 ingredients on it (this was a big one for me, because it made me re-realize just how much junk is actually in the food we eat and buy)
  • Deep-fried foods/”fast” foods

I looked at the list and thought it couldn’t possibly be that hard. That’s how we always eat anyway, right? But then I started counting ingredients. And realizing maybe I wasn’t cooking as much as I thought I was. And, wait, maybe I wasn’t actually eating real food most of the time. So my husband and I (and Wee Connor, by default) did the challenge for 10 days and felt like it was a good lesson in not only cooking more but also just how much better we felt eating fewer chemicals.

Cool, right? End of story? And that’s how I got stranded in the Seattle airport for 3 days because it snowed 2″ once*? Well…

You guys, do you see this?! It really does look like the picture in the book!

You guys, do you see this?! It really does look like the picture in the book!

…the catch was this: a lot of the recipes on the 100 Days of Real Food site and old cookbook were, how shall I put this nicely, um, shackling me to the kitchen? Overwhelmingly difficult for something that seemed so simple? Yeah, that’s nice. I’ll stick with that. And not all are like that, but I felt a little overwhelmed by the end. Which was why when the new 100 Days of Real Food: Fast and Fabulous cookbook (by Lisa Leake, author of 100 Days of Real Food blog) I was pumped. This cookbook was the answer to all my prayers: real food, but actually things that don’t tie me to the kitchen forever. Lunch ideas. Salad ideas that don’t make me want to throw things. Slow cooker recipes. Really, it’s a cookbook filled with simple, make-the-food-taste-good, real-food recipes.

So far I’ve made a few recipes and they’ve turned out amazingly well. So well, in fact, they actually looked like the pictures in the book. Like for real, looked like the pictures in the book.

My husband has already requested 5-6 of the lunch ideas recipes for himself to take to work, and so far I haven’t had a bust of a recipe yet. Which means that this little cookbook is going on the top shelf next to Jacques Pépin’s masterpieces**.

Right now 100 Days of Real Food: Fast and Fabulous is on sale for preorder for $16 on Amazon. It’s fully released on October 25th, at which point I think the price goes up to full price. I really cannot recommend this cookbook enough if you’re looking for something to help get you back into eating foods that actually resemble foods, but also don’t want to become someone who talks about their “real food” adventure while stuck at the airport. It’s such a win-win.

(Oh, also, no I don’t get paid for you buying the cookbook. Should have mentioned that, too.)

*Great airport, by the way. Top notch. Real story.

**Sometimes when I’m feeling blue I pull down a Jacques Pépin cookbook and read it from cover to cover. This is me and you should probably know that.