Well Fed Update

Friday was a pretty huge day around our house! If you follow me on Twitter, you know that our proof copy of Well Fed arrived from CreateSpace. We experienced a few white-knuckle moments as we flipped through the pages of Well Fed for the first time, but our anxiety was for naught: the book looks great, you guys!

Here’s the pic I posted on Twitter, just a few minutes after we tore open the package:

So right now, Dave is putting the finishing touches on some tech-related things and tomorrow, Well Fed officially goes on sale.

Now that I’ve held the book and flipped through the book and used the book to cook (!), I thought I’d share some of the things that I really like about it. For your consideration…

5 Cool Things About Well Fed

1. It’s so friendly!
We went with an 8.5-inch square format for the printed book, and now that I’ve used it, I’m so glad we did! The book is a lovely, manageable size, and when I used it this weekend, it stayed flat on the counter. Hands-free instruction! Plus, the compact size makes it feel like a little handbook for kicking ass in the kitchen. The covers are thick and glossy, but the inside pages have a matte finish so you can take notes in the handy “Notes” field that’s on most of the recipe pages, without smearing ink all over the place. The colors in the photos have reproduced beautifully – and seeing Kathleen’s design in real-life, 3D is awesome.

Most of the recipe pages have a handy area for notes to yourself, like, "You're awesome!"

2. Melissa and Dallas of Whole9 wrote the foreword.

I was delighted when M&D of Whole9 said yes to my invitation to write the foreword – and then humbled when they delivered their text to me. I’m not too proud to admit I that a few tears sprung to my eyes when I read what they wrote. Here’s a short excerpt:

We have a confession: Overall, we give our collective cooking skills a “B” grade at best. (Truthfully, one of us is pulling that average down, but we’re not saying which one.) We’re darn good nutritionists, but our background isn’t in the culinary arts. The good news? We don’t have to be Cordon Bleu-trained chefs, because we’ve got a well fed, dressed to kill, glossy haired, rock and roll, tart tongued secret weapon: our friend Mel.

Flip through Well Fed, and you’ll immediately see this isn’t some taking-itself-so-seriously cookbook full of pictures you’d barely recognize as food. Mel created these recipes in her kitchen, using the same basic tools and equipment you’ve got in your kitchen. And she developed and prepared these meals around her own busy schedule – in between work, exercise, family, friends, and looking after a house and a husband and a cat. (The lesson: if she’s got time to create them from scratch, you’ve got time to make them for dinner.) Because she knows that cooking is scary for lots of folks, she’s filled her recipes with extra details, helpful hints, and technique tips. (No Ph.D. required!)

3. We used real food and natural light.

There are all kinds of tricks that food manufacturers use to make food in commercials look good – disgusting things like glue in place of milk, for example. All of the food in the Well Fed photos is 100% legit. In fact, every Sunday this summer, I cooked food, Dave photographed it, and then we ate it. Sometimes we accidentally ate the star of the shot before we were done taking photos – and sometimes we ate bits of food that were misbehaving. Chomp!

And just as we decided to do the publishing the hard way, we did the photography the hard way, too… with all natural light instead of studio light. That meant we spent a lot of afternoons in 100+ degree temps, sweating (Dave) and whining (me) to get the perfect shots. There were a few evenings when we were literally running down the street with food in one hand, props in the other, chasing the vanishing sunlight. A few photos might have been taken in our neighbor’s driveway because she catches the best afternoon sunlight. But now, when I look at the warm light and life that infuse our photos, I’m really glad Dave trusted his instincts on his technique. See?

Salmon a l'Afrique du Nord

4. There’s lots of eye candy and inspiration.
There are 115+ original recipes and variations in Well Fed, along with tons of ideas for how you can mix and match ingredients to make hundreds of different meals – and each recipe includes a full-page color photo so you know just what you’re getting yourself into. Kathleen’s design has tucked little surprises into each page, so every time you read it, I think you’ll see something new – and I hope you’ll add your own variations as you cook your way through the recipes. Thank you so much to everyone who responded to my cookbook survey last year; your responses helped shape the book, and I’m so glad we listened to your opinions.

5. The most amazing people were on the team.
Saturday night, we gathered the entire Well Fed team for a dinner party under the lights in our backyard. I made recipes from Well Fed, and we toasted with non-paleo sparkling wine in dark chocolate cordial cups to celebrate the successful arrival of our proof copy. Looking around the table, I was grateful for all of them and all of you! The best gift a writer can receive is someone reading her words, and I’m so blessed that all of you take the time to read my ramblings and respond with such great questions, support, and funny commentary. I wish there was a way for all of you to have joined us at the table Saturday night. Maybe sometime we’ll do a virtual dinner party – we can all make the same recipe from Well Fed and eat it at the same time!

Here are a few photos from our celebration. Believe me when I say you were all there with us in my heart (and yes, yoga is making me soft, and I don’t care).

NOTE: Dave did not take these photos, which is why the light is jacked, and we all look fuzzy.

Mom and me. Yes, that's a feather fascinator on my noggin.

Bora Bora Fireballs. You're going to FREAK OUT when you try this recipe.

The Well Fed team

Well Fed Weeknights Presale Now Open!

Sometimes I felt like this day would never arrive. After a few years of collecting recipe ideas, the summer of 2015 spent recipe testing, months of writing,...

Read More
My Czech Interview

Remember when Dave and I went to Prague in November for the release of the Czech version of Well Fed — a.k.a., Dobře živeni? The book has...

Read More


  • Holly says:

    I continue to be excited for you and inspired by you. Can’t wait to get my hands on a copy and get to cooking! Congratulations!

  • Andrea says:

    Ok, well I’m terribly impatient and have read all through the Well Fed posts and didn’t see any place to order so I figured my computer was just being pesky…I finally was able to pull it up on amazon.com and was able to order it!! I’m so excited…Scheduled for delivery on December 15th! Merry Christmas to me…not chancing putting it on my list and certainly didn’t want to wait until Christmas!!!!
    All that said…if it’s better for you for me to order through your store just shoot me an email and I can cancel my amazon order now that I see you are going live tomorrow…

    • Mel says:

      I am DELIGHTED for everyone to order the book. It is better for me if you order through my store tomorrow, but there’s a possibility if you do that, you won’t have Well Fed for Christmas. So… if you want it for Dec. 25, order from Amazon. If you don’t mind getting it on Dec. 27, you can order via my store and I get a bigger $$ cut. But really, as long as you order a copy, I’m happy!

  • Really looking forward to getting a copy – hopefully just in time for Christmas!

  • Carrey Bull says:

    So excited! Congratulations!

  • Lady A says:

    It’s so cool you made a cookbook! Congratulations! You are an inspiration.

  • Harmony says:

    I’m in a cooking slump so I can’t wait to order the cookbook. Wish I could just find a way to bring you into my kitchen to cook for me, but I guess the cookbook will have to suffice 🙂

  • sarena says:

    YAY, exciting.Where is your link to order it please?

  • Cate says:

    soooo excited! cannot wait to order it tomorrow!

  • Chowstalker says:

    It looks as beautiful as I expected it to be! Congrats Mel!!

  • Mel says:

    Thank you, everybody, for sharing our excitement! We’re feverishly working on updating the site RIGHT NOW so you can start buying your very own copy of Well Fed tomorrow. YAY!

  • Carla Wuthrich says:

    So excited for you, darling!!! Cheers!

  • Heidi says:

    Congratulations to your entire team! Publishing is hard work, to say the least. You are baring your soul for all to read and judge and there is no do-overs after that final proof goes back. You clearly have worked tirelessly for a long time. And the crazy thing is, your fans are going to get the kicka** rewards 🙂

    My book will be coming to Canada, so I will be waiting a little longer than the rest of you but gosh darn it, you’re worth it

    Happy eating

  • Tami C. says:

    Can’t wait! I love the empty plate on the back cover – perfect!

  • Kelly says:

    I WANT I WANT IWANT!!! I have to tell you that it is quite a testament to your cooking and creativity that every recipe I’ve ever tried from your site has been amazing…and my husband, who would eat bread and Cheetos every day if he had his way, has loved everything too! Thanks for all you do and congrats. Cannot wait to order!

  • Funke says:

    Congrats Mel! Will be purchasing a copy soon. Funny how I was thinking of sending you a “woe-is-ne” email tonight! Looking forward to Well Fed!

  • Primal Toad says:

    Congrats Mel! I wish you a lot of luck with your sales!

  • Laurial says:

    Yay! Looking forward to it.

  • Kathleen says:

    YAY! I’m so so proud and thankful. Go, Well Fed – go!

  • George says:

    Hey Mel, what great news that the book is out, I am so happy for you!

    It really looks like an amazing labor of love and I can’t wait to get my hand on it!

    I’m ordering 2 copies from your store right now!

    Happy holidays to you and the entire Well Fed team, and congratulations on a fine project accomplished!

    • Mel says:

      Thank you so much for the orders and for the holiday wishes! We are celebrating and relaxing now that our project is out in the world.

      Enjoy! Happy cooking and eating!

  • marcia says:

    Can’t decide to buy from you or Amazon (living in Seattle, that makes it local, right?). If I buy the softcover from you and also buy the $1 download code, do I have to wait to receive the physical book in the mail before I get the code for the ebook? I’m in a hurry!!! I’t almost the weekend and I want it now!

  • Karen says:

    Just got my copy of Well Fed. It’s beautiful and ya’ll have done a great job. I see some of my favorite recipes from the website, and the pics make everything look even better. I am delighted. You’ve made a good, simple cookbook for anyone, not just people who want to eat paleo.

    • Mel says:

      Hooray! Thanks, Karen! Thank you for reading along and supporting us by getting a copy of Well Fed. Wishing you many happy meals from its pages.

  • Kate says:

    Quick question–I’m planning to make the Salmon a l’Afrique du Nord but it’s January and I live in Minnesota. Soooo there’s no grilling for me! Have you ever baked it? How hot and for how long?