Preparation of a basic Palaeo meal (three pages)

This is how I'm making my basic Palaeo meal at the moment (September 2003 [1]).  I do it most evenings - seven days a week.  If some of the steps seem pedantic - well, that's just me [2].  However, this is not a recipe; every meal is deliberately different. The common features are (1) difference between meals, (2) variety within meals, (3) everything fresh and therefore seasonal and (4) locally grown - organic and from my own garden if possible [3]

You will not find here timid concessions to contemporary restaurant presentations or any other fashions. I have never watched a "tv chef" and never will; this meal is not an expression of globalized, homogenized Western culture. I do my own thing my own way to put together a satisfying palaeo meal. My meals fit in with my lifestyle: I generally eat my meals slowly while I read and relax; this is not a time for internet browsing - it's a time for books, journals and longer articles printed from the web.

If something is missing or you'd like more on the rationale, e-mail me.

I start with an avocado, scooping the first half into the bottom of the bowl with a teaspoon and keep the pieces bite-sized. The bowl is a 2.5 litre one (that's 5.3 US pints). Occasionally it's two avocados; this is usually on days when I have trained hard - rowing 20km in the morning and squats in the afternoon, or when i have a couple of avocados on the point of over-ripeness.

The basic green here is cress (strongly alkaline, pretty much unaltered from its natural state), chopped across the bunch into roughly 2.5cm lengths. Occasionally there are slugs, small snails and other living specimens in here. I toss them out if they are apparent, but I don't bother to search for them. Cress begins to look drab about a day after picking. The supermarket cos and iceberg lettuces can still look fresh three weeks after being purchased. I can't help but distrust products that are designed for cosmetic appeal in the supermarket! I don't wash organic foods unless they look dirty. I use a pastry brush to dust grit from greens.


After the cress, scoop out the remaining avocado.  My main alternative to cress is rocket (a.k.a. arugula).  As I can't feasibly replicate the Palaeo's nibbling of leaves, ground plants and waterweeds as I walk - and so eating a wide variety of fresh greens every day, I alternate my cress with rocket and occasionally add spinach, purple or green lettuce, beetroot leaves, basil in season. Variety is essential. Go without rather than get stuck in a groove of having the same food meal after meal.



1. A few notes to bring the story up to date follow below.

2. Pedantry, perhaps - that's your judgement. However, I steadfastly refuse to watch television cooking shows or 'celebrity chefs' (in fact, I refuse to watch television). If I did watch a cooking show I might be influenced to modify my own way of doing things; but, I rather like my own idiosycratic way of doing things regardless of the mass, globalized culture's norms. My meals are not designed to conform to the vague norms of restaurants, magazines, or other arbiters of popular culture. When friends come to visit, they get something that is distinctively mine, not a timid, competitive imitation of something I might imagine they would admire, or be impressed by or feel comfortable with. Jerry Mander writes: "By its ability to implant identical images into the minds of millions of people, television can homogenize perspectives, knowledge, tastes and desires to make them resemble the tastes and interests of people who transmit the imagery. In our world, the transmitters of the images are corporations whose ideal of life is technologically oriented, commodity oriented, materialistic and hostile to nature." (In the Absence of the Sacred, 1991 p97)

3. When I wrote the above I had not retired. Since retiring in 2003 I have grown all my own vegetables in my own organic garden. Cress is no longer the core of my greens - that place now belongs to a variety of lettuces and other greens that are maturing ready for harvest thoughout the year. As follows from note 2, I have also never watched a gardening show on television. I garden using techniques that I have developed to grow the food that I want to eat, not to impress anyone or to meet someone else's expectations.

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Page updated 18 November 2009