Julie and Charles Mayfield have united their passions for Southern food and the paleo lifestyle in a new cookbook, Paleo Comfort Foods. The book features recipes like shrimp and grits, fried green tomatoes, pulled pork and even desserts like strawberry shortcakes and chocolate coconut pudding. The dishes reach beyond the South, and include a range of classic American flavors, all modified to fit a paleo diet. “Originally we were thinking about having Southern food, but more and more the idea of comfort food became something we wanted to focus on,” says Julie.
The paleo diet is largely based upon foods that were available before the agricultural revolution and excludes grain, added sugars and processed foods. Some people on a paleo diet also exclude legumes, honey and most fruits.
The Mayfields aren’t professional chefs, in fact both had full-time jobs while creating the book. They hope it will show people how going paleo can fit into a busy lifestyle. They agree that the biggest challenge of creating the cookbook was not finding paleo substitutes for ingredients like flour and sugar, but “breaking down the recipes and measuring them out,” says Julie.
“We had a nice collection of recipes,” says Charles. “But most of them didn’t really call for specific measurements. We just kind of threw them together. So, a lot of the process early on was just taking those recipes and making them cookbook friendly.”
Julie says her favorite recipe in the book is the country curry, which Charles created. It features okra, shredded pork and andouille sausage. For Charles, who loves chocolate, it’s the decadent chocolate cake with a kick. Although some individuals following the paleo diet would eschew the added sugar in dark chocolate, the Mayfields explain that some of the dishes in their cookbook should be seen as occasional treats.
“There might be some things that you’re not going to eat every single day when you’re on a good true paleo path,” says Julie. “If you’re eating biscuits every single day of your paleo existence, you might not be leaning out if that’s your goal, or you might be having other ill effects that you weren’t necessarily seeking out. We’re pretty clear in noting that.”
Paleo Comfort Foods is also great for anyone with a gluten intolerance or who wants to live a low-carb lifestyle. The authors are confidant that people who aren’t following a paleo lifestyle will enjoy these recipes as well. “It’s simply taking real ingredients and making real dishes,” says Julie.
Featured Recipe: Paleo Country Curry
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