My favorite cookbook: “Paleo Takeout” by Russ Crandall

Obviously, there’s no single best cookbook for everyone. There isn’t even a perfect paleo cookbook for everyone. Until now, I’ve refrained from singling one out in a general way, but I’m ready to declare a favorite, at least for now: Russ Crandall’s “Paleo Takeout: Restaurant Favorites Without the Junk” is just that good.

Recently purchased for our home collection, my family has fallen in love with these recipes. The first week, my wife couldn’t stop cooking through them day after day, and we’ve yet to find a clinker. The concept is paleo re-creations of takeout favorites, and as such it succeeds. But I wouldn’t call these substitutes or approximations. The flavors are authentic, if sometimes superior to the originals, and they’re made with such wholesome ingredients that there’s never any “I shouldn’t have” feeling afterward!

Our favorites so far include: Egg Foo Young, Honey Sesame Chicken, Pad See Ew, and Thai Green Curry. (Can you tell we started with the Asian recipes?) There are also “American Classics” such as pizza, wings, burgers, chili fries… all made clean and nourishing. There are even recipes for making your own sauces, condiments, and sides – without the usual junk.

Some recipes include limited dairy or rice, always with alternatives if you want to keep it strict. His reasoning is fully explained in the front pages, along with the expected author’s personal story, introduction to paleo, guide to cooking techniques, etc. Front and back cover flaps double as durable bookmarks.

I’m someone who expects nice full-color pictures of each dish, and “Paleo Takeout” doesn’t disappoint there. Taking it a step further, there’s a cute recipe index in the back that looks like a takeout menu! This book will be much more than just a source for whimsical party recipes. Already it’s one of our go-to cookbooks for everyday use as well as entertaining. This would be a perfect gift for anyone who enjoys takeout, even if they’ve never heard of paleo.

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