When you get your hands on your very own copy of Well Fed 2, some things will be immediately obvious:

It’s gorgeous. Seriously. The book is packed with vibrant, mouthwatering, full-color photos by Dave Humphreys, Mel’s partner in life, food and all things Smudge.

It’s packed with 110 original recipes, most of which also include Mel’s signature, “You know how you could do that?” variations. Add to that 45 no-recipe-necessary quick meal ideas, autoimmune protocol variations, and “Tastes Great With” pairing ideas and you’ve got more Good Food than you’ll know what to do with!  (Okay, you’ll know what to do with it.)

It’s squeaky clean. No grains, no legumes, no sugar, no dairy no surprises there. But just in case you were wondering.

It’s a cover-to-cover cookbook. You’ll notice that Well Fed 2 has the same great style and captivating storytelling as the original, drawing you in from page one. It’s also packed with genuinely useful information like Mel’s “yes” and “no” food lists, a guide to the current paleo experts, and tips on “How to be a Paleo Social Butterfly.” Add to that her cooking definitions (haven’t you always wanted to know the differences between chopped, diced, and minced?) and foreign vocab words and you’re getting a real education. Even better, Mel’s stories are expertly woven throughout the book, like culinary time travel taking you to different moments and places in her life.

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10 Things You Didn’t Know You Didn’t Know About Well Fed 2

There are some things you wouldn’t know about this delicious cookbook unless Mel told you herself.  Don’t worry, though… you don’t have to chase her down  to find out. We asked, and she shared:

10. The recipes aren’t just Whole30® complaint, there are AIP adaptations.

All of the recipes in Well Fed 2 (except the sweet potato “waffle” and the banana pecan ice cream) are Whole30 compatible.

Mel says: In addition, I worked with Mickey Trescott to provide adaptations that make more than 100 of the recipes compatible with the autoimmune protocol  for paleo. I couldn’t make the whole book work, but the substitutions I included mean the recipes still taste great, even if you have to be even more strict than usual. Check out this preview of the AIP adaptations.

9. It started with almost 300 recipes.

And it’s a good thing they narrowed the list as much as they did! There are so many delicious-looking options, it’s hard to decide what to try first. Personally, I’ve got my eye on the Thai Pink Grapefruit Salad (p. 212), and according to Whole9 founder Melissa Hartwig, the citrus cauliflower rice (p. 188) is the perfect side dish for pretty much anything ever.

Mel says: When I started recipe development and testing last October, I had a list of almost 300 dishes that I was curious about or thought might be tasty. Dave and I went through a somewhat painful process of editing down the list to remove things that were too weird, too similar to each other, or really couldn’t be re-worked well in the paleo framework. The final book includes 200 recipes, variations, and Quick Meal ideas.

8. You don’t always need a recipe.

This is something that on-the-go and cook-by-the-seat-of-your-pants folks know well, but even the most experienced food concocters run out of ideas from time to time. Now, thanks to the 45 Quick Meal options in WF2, food boredom is a thing of the past.

Mel says: I have an almost pathological love for following a well-written recipe to a T. Cook’s Illustrated is my favorite because the recipe authors are SO picky and precise. But even I need to be able to just throw some food together at the last minute and know it’s going to taste good. That’s where the “Quick Meals” section of Well Fed 2 comes in. It’s a collection of almost 50 meal ideas that don’t require a recipe. If you know how to use a stove and can chop reasonably well, you can make delicious things to eat.

7. You will add new words to your vocabulary.

From fancy foreign terms to old-timey slang, you’ll have many opportunities to soak up some new verbage and impress your friends with it later.

Mel says: One of the things I enjoy about cooking international food is that it teaches me about the people, customs, and languages in other parts of the world. There’s tasty trivia sprinkled liberally throughout Well Fed 2. You might want to add this to a conversation soon: In Jamaica, “walk good” is an intimate way to say “goodbye” or “take care” to friends.

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6. Cauliflower may be the moodiest vegetable.

We know it makes for great faux rice, cous-cous, and mashed “potatoes,” but we didn’t realize just how sensitive it was.

Mel says: I always have at least two heads of cauliflower in my refrigerator and bags of florets in the freezer. It’s such a friendly vegetable: It can be riced, mashed, roasted, puréed in soup, eaten in cold salads, and mixed with meat to mimic breadcrumbs and bulghur wheat. I mean, it’s almost as if it’s showing off! But it can also be quite moody, as we discovered when Dave took this photo of emo cauliflower. I was inspired to create an appropriately pouty dance-mix playlist for the kitchen; you’ll find it on page 30 of the book, but here’s a taste: “Lips Like Sugar” by Echo And The Bunnymen

5. All of the food in the photos is the real deal.

That means no glue, Vaseline, hairspray or any other clever food-styling tricks.  What you see is what Mel cooked.

Mel says: We started recipe photography in January 2013. I cooked (and cooked and cooked), and Dave took the photos — then at the end of every photography day, we ate the food we’d just shot. There are no photography tricks in our book. What you see is the real food that I cooked, following the instructions in the recipes. Dave is a master of making sure the light is just right so that the food looks like something you want to eat.

4. There were a few epic fails.

It’s hard to believe, but if Mel says it, it must be true!

Mel says: Oh, the doomed Enchanted Broccoli Forest! I wrote the whole, sad tale on my blog. Basically, I had a deep affection for a recipe from my younger days, and I thought I had a brilliant means to re-create it, paleo style. I could not have been more mistaken. Cauliflower rice, coconut milk, ground meat, and spices have never been so wrong.

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3. Tomato sauce has the ability to erupt like hot lava.

She voluteered this picture when we asked her to provide proof of said kitchen fails. Amazing.

Mel says: The photo tells you just about all you need to know. It was the end of a long, successful say of shooting. The pot slipped. The sauce flew. That’s pretty easy to explain. Not easy to explain? That outfit. WHY AM I DRESSED LIKE THAT?

 2. Saying the word “balls” never gets old.

And now you have a good excuse –well, several good excuses – to say it!

Mel says: My favorite part of the cookbook is the Burgers, Balls & Bangers section: 15 recipes — inspired by international sausage — that can be shaped into meatballs, burgers, or sausage (a.k.a., bangers) shapes. Balls!

1. It’s possible for a garlic clove to draw blood!

Good Food can be dangerous, but in the end the chef shall prevail!

Mel says: I kept track of the number of cuts and burns I acquired throughout the cookbook production process. I can’t reveal the number here because we’re going to have a contest on my blog, but I’m glad to say it turned out to be less than I thought it would be… but more than I wanted. The worst was a cut I got on my left wrist from a garlic clove. Talk about adding insult to injury! I was smashing the clove with the side of my knife when it slipped and literally slit my skin with the tough skin on the root end of the clove. I guess it really didn’t want to be smashed! Ultimately, I prevailed, and I ate the little sucker.

Oh, but wait! There’s one more super-mega-awesome feature of Well Fed 2!

Eat Well, Do Good

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Everyone who purchases a printed copy of Well Fed 2 is eligible to purchase a PDF copy for just $1.  The proceeds from those bonus copies, plus $1 from every regular e-book purchase, will be donated to the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves. This organization is dedicated to providing clean cooking methods for folks in developing countries.  Your purchase will not only help get Good Food cooking in your kitchen, but in kitchens all over the world.

Thanks to Melissa Joulwan for the fun interview. For all our readers, happy cooking (and eating) with your very own order of Well Fed 2, or…

Enter to win a copy!  We’re giving away two copies of this awesome cookbook to our readers. All you have to do is tell us about your WORST KITCHEN FAIL EVER. We want all the gory details and the best, most embarrassing sob stories will win. Leave your stories in the comments below and we’ll choose a winner on Wednesday, October 23rd.

Note: entries will not be accepted via Facebook. You must leave your comment on the article itself.

Published by Melissa Urban

Melissa Urban is a six-time New York Times best-selling author who specializes in helping people establish healthy boundaries and successfully navigate habit change. She has been featured by the New York Times, People, the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, The Today Show, and Good Morning America, and ranks #19 on Greatists Top 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness. Melissa has presented more than 150 health and nutrition seminars worldwide, and is a prominent keynote speaker on boundaries, building community, health trends, and entrepreneurship. She lives in Salt Lake City, UT.

Melissa Urban

Co-Founder / CEO

Melissa Urban is a six-time New York Times best-selling author who specializes in helping people establish healthy boundaries and successfully navigate habit change. She has been featured by the New York Times, People, the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, The Today Show, and Good Morning America, and ranks #19 on Greatists Top 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness. Melissa has presented more than 150 health and nutrition seminars worldwide, and is a prominent keynote speaker on boundaries, building community, health trends, and entrepreneurship. She lives in Salt Lake City, UT.