3

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"Special Meals" Not as special on a Paleo diet?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created March 06, 2011 at 3:44 AM

I grew up lower middle class, and while life was very good, meals were generally designed around food that could feed a family for several meals in an affordable way (hello pasta, casseroles, etc). Steak was a considered special. I remember eating it on my dad's birthday and a few other times a year. Now, that I follow a Paleo-based diet and (thanks to a higher standard of living attributable to my parents' hard work) might eat steak once or twice a week. Anyone else here have similar experiences? Thoughts about how to make certain meals "special" are appreciated.

072fd69647b0e765bb4b11532569f16d

(3717)

on March 07, 2011
at 03:10 AM

My dog Max is pretty good company, now that you mention it.

D30ff86ad2c1f3b43b99aed213bcf461

on March 06, 2011
at 11:06 PM

Laughing at the mental image of Roos riding fixies. :-D Very true point on abundance being the driver of what constitutes "special", culturally.

5786a8dbc9f3c6e1b7ec5b46079562ae

(268)

on March 06, 2011
at 08:39 PM

(That said, it's a sustainable meat IN Australia and probably nearby countries like Indonesia and New Zealand. I'm not sure if the effort of shipping it frozen all the way across the Pacific Ocean has a greater or lesser impact than the North American meat it would replace.)

5786a8dbc9f3c6e1b7ec5b46079562ae

(268)

on March 06, 2011
at 08:38 PM

*Only if they ride fixies. Something I have to comment on is my surprise at seeing kangaroo as a desirable food. It's an extremely sustainable meat since kangaroo in Australia is from culls -- it'd be exactly like New England having venison specials at whatever their version of Safeway is -- but it's also the cheapest meat in Australia and I remember making kangaroo fajitas, kangaroo burgers and kangaroo stews because my ex and I couldn't afford anything else. On the topic of how "special" can mean different things to different people, it goes to show that there's a cultural divide as well!

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22923)

on March 06, 2011
at 03:51 PM

+1 for eating by candlelight.

D30ff86ad2c1f3b43b99aed213bcf461

on March 06, 2011
at 03:34 PM

Same for us - haven't had pizza in forever, while most Americans probably eat that as a staple once every couple of weeks or even more frequently.

D30ff86ad2c1f3b43b99aed213bcf461

on March 06, 2011
at 03:33 PM

I agree that eating seasonally makes the anticipation / payoff that much better. I can't wait for peak asparagus season!

D30ff86ad2c1f3b43b99aed213bcf461

on March 06, 2011
at 03:32 PM

Sauces and reductions are also a great way to invest a little extra "oomph" in your meal. :)

072fd69647b0e765bb4b11532569f16d

(3717)

on March 06, 2011
at 02:09 PM

Thanks for the responses so far. Very much appreciated. I certainly want to clarify that this is not a complaint, and as The Primalist points out, this is a fine "problem" to have. I consider myself fortunate.

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8 Answers

4
Dd017a9b1f2d6a9c220859f780da09c5

on March 06, 2011
at 04:54 AM

It's kind of a nice problem to have, isn't it? To eat well so often that most meals could be considered special?

If I want to up the "special", I like to try a more elaborate recipe than I usually have time for. I guess putting more than the usual amount of effort into cooking makes one appreciate the final product more? In addition to that, I might make more than one course. For example, a tasty appetizer that I normally wouldn't have fussed with, and maybe a paleo-friendly dessert.

D30ff86ad2c1f3b43b99aed213bcf461

on March 06, 2011
at 03:32 PM

Sauces and reductions are also a great way to invest a little extra "oomph" in your meal. :)

3
A68f24168bc0de414a038037e287b581

on March 06, 2011
at 05:53 PM

I have the same situation. I grew up under communism, where getting any kind of meat was a struggle. If we had some, it was often things like bologna, cheesehead, sausage, liverwurst, chicken and offal. Maybe once-twice a week at the most. Chicken legs (if we had them) was only a Sunday treat. Sometimes we had no meat for weeks. I don't think I had a real steak till i was an adult ;-) Just eating meat everyday is a treat. As others said, I generally have no time to prepare more elaborate meals, so when I do, it is special. Or when I get something that is more expensive (as I usually eat ground meat and cheap cuts, no steaks).

3
98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

on March 06, 2011
at 02:13 PM

It's really just a paradigm shift about what food is "everyday" and what is "special" We used to think pasta was "everyday" and steak was "special". Now we know better. Now we know that spending the most money we can on the best quality food we can afford is not extravagance but necessity for the very best health and quality of life. I know that for me my food budget has doubled in the past few years and I have had to cut back on other things that I used to consider necessities in order to do it. At first it felt extravagant and somehow very wrong. Wasteful in a way. Now I see it as an investment.

There are some foods that are too expensive for me to eat on a regular basis and those tend to make up my "special event" foods. I agree with crab. Lobster, rib eye, filet mignon are ones I buy for special meals. I also agree with buying special ingredients or trying out a new recipe to elevate a meal. I also buy flowers for the table, use "the good plates", buy more expensive wine, and light the candles that normally remain unlit. It's really just about readjusting your own cues that signify specialness in your world and that can be anything you decide you want it to be.

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22923)

on March 06, 2011
at 03:51 PM

+1 for eating by candlelight.

3
5786a8dbc9f3c6e1b7ec5b46079562ae

(268)

on March 06, 2011
at 06:43 AM

"Special" can be anything that you have rarely and you enjoy. These days my main limit is time, so what makes a meal special for me is the time invested. I can pop a ribeye into the oven or go without any night, but if I want, say, tom kha gai, I have to get on my bicycle and go to the Asian grocery store, buy the groceries, ride home and do the cooking. I have pork chops brining in the fridge now for a special Sunday dinner. "Special" could also mean seasonal food like dungeness crabs, romanesco, asparagus, blood oranges and cherries, or harder-to-find foods like quail or duck eggs or sweetbreads or venison.

D30ff86ad2c1f3b43b99aed213bcf461

on March 06, 2011
at 03:33 PM

I agree that eating seasonally makes the anticipation / payoff that much better. I can't wait for peak asparagus season!

2
D30ff86ad2c1f3b43b99aed213bcf461

on March 06, 2011
at 03:43 PM

Others have offered up terrific suggestions!! I think branching out to new game and other animal proteins is a really great way to broaden your palate while also making something "special". I took home a duck from the grocery store a few weeks back and gave my first try at roasting duck - I was delighted with the results and felt as though I had conquered something I normally reserved for ordering on rare occasions at Asian restaurants. Since that duck was $20 or so, it's cost prohibitive to be a staple in our house, but now I know that I could do it again when the occasion called for the splurge. :)

Also, Mark's Daily Apple has had a LOT of "non-mainstream"* animals featured in the recipes lately. Follow this link to the Primal Blueprint Recipes page and see recipes for kangaroo loin, caviar, bison roast, grilled ostrich, venison chops, grilled quail, goat stew, roast duck, and plenty of offal (yet still delicious! har!) recipes.

*If these animals aren't mainstream, does that make them hipster?

5786a8dbc9f3c6e1b7ec5b46079562ae

(268)

on March 06, 2011
at 08:39 PM

(That said, it's a sustainable meat IN Australia and probably nearby countries like Indonesia and New Zealand. I'm not sure if the effort of shipping it frozen all the way across the Pacific Ocean has a greater or lesser impact than the North American meat it would replace.)

5786a8dbc9f3c6e1b7ec5b46079562ae

(268)

on March 06, 2011
at 08:38 PM

*Only if they ride fixies. Something I have to comment on is my surprise at seeing kangaroo as a desirable food. It's an extremely sustainable meat since kangaroo in Australia is from culls -- it'd be exactly like New England having venison specials at whatever their version of Safeway is -- but it's also the cheapest meat in Australia and I remember making kangaroo fajitas, kangaroo burgers and kangaroo stews because my ex and I couldn't afford anything else. On the topic of how "special" can mean different things to different people, it goes to show that there's a cultural divide as well!

D30ff86ad2c1f3b43b99aed213bcf461

on March 06, 2011
at 11:06 PM

Laughing at the mental image of Roos riding fixies. :-D Very true point on abundance being the driver of what constitutes "special", culturally.

2
22212e9ba2a041e6da6c963d4d41615a

(5773)

on March 06, 2011
at 12:44 PM

What's ironic is that what we used to eat as normal foods are probably now considered as "special" or "treats." I make my son gluten free pancakes on the weekends and wee will have gluten free pasta once in a while as a treat, where those were staples growing up because of how cheap they were.

D30ff86ad2c1f3b43b99aed213bcf461

on March 06, 2011
at 03:34 PM

Same for us - haven't had pizza in forever, while most Americans probably eat that as a staple once every couple of weeks or even more frequently.

1
4bd3ea60eb43692dcf474c05b499b0d4

on March 06, 2011
at 08:35 PM

Eat whatever you would like, its the company your with that makes the meal special.

072fd69647b0e765bb4b11532569f16d

(3717)

on March 07, 2011
at 03:10 AM

My dog Max is pretty good company, now that you mention it.

1
0fb8b3d6dcfb279b0f7e050d2d22510f

(4645)

on March 06, 2011
at 02:48 PM

ox tail, pig knuckles, all the lesser cuts, what was called soul food can be your less special meals. And don't forget vegetables.

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