A Review: The Ancestral Table

The time has come where we may share our thoughts and love for our friend Russ Crandall’s book, The Ancestral Table: Traditional Recipes for a Paleo Lifestyle. We met Russ just before he started the journey towards crafting this book at a get-together hosted by The Paleo Parents, and the time has surely flown by. If you don’t yet know of Russ, he is the brain and talent behind The Domestic Man. We’ll wait while you go check that out…

The Ancestral Table is an incredible advocate for returning back to the traditions of our ancestors—not to 10,000 BC, but rather just a few generations—you know, like how grandma used to make. Russ has made himself known for his authentic dishes that are based on traditional recipes using real-food ingredients, and this book is no exception. With over 100 recipes, you will be hard-pressed to decide what to make first. We started with the Chili Con Carne, and we’ll share more about that below. Also high on our to-do list are Congee, Kimchee, and Loco Moco.

The Ancestral Table: A Review, A Recipe & A Raffle

Warning: this book contains rational use and advocation for rice, potatoes, and dairy. This may upset or even frighten some of the more fundamentalist paleos out in the wild, but not only does Russ justify his position clearly and rationally, he even goes as far to offer a substitution guide for those who either cannot tolerate those foods, or simply choose not to eat them. As someone who has overcome great health adversities through real food, Russ provides fantastic resources for you regardless of your path or stage in eating a real-food diet.

In an attempt to not swoon too much and make all of you sick, I will leave you with one of my favorite takeaways from this book: no shortcuts. This mantra is as true in the kitchen as it is in all other situations. Having watched Russ cook, and develop recipes, I know he has the patience (I’d call it Zen) to do things right just because they ought to be done that way. Take this book into your house, give it to a friend or family member, and help spread the love of food that effuses from these 288 pages. I fully appreciate that there are more paleo cookbooks coming out these days than ever before, but The Ancestral Table is one not to miss.

A Recipe: Chili Con Carne

The Ancestral Table: A Review, A Recipe & A Raffle

1 Tbsp butter
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 Tbsp ground coriander
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp red pepper flakes
2 bay leaves
2 lbs ground beef or game meat
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
2 14.5 oz cans puréed tomatoes
8 oz smoked sausage (linguiça or andouille preferred), cut in half lengthwise and sliced into half-moons
2 Tbsp mayonnaise (recipe in book)
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
grated cheddar cheese and sour cream for serving (optional)


1. In a stockpot, warm the butter on medium heat for 1 minute, then add the onion and sauté until aromatic, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, spices, and bay leaves and sauté for another minute. Add the ground beef and simmer until browned, stirring frequently to break up chunks, about 6 minutes. Add the tomatoes, cover, and reduce the heat to low; simmer for 1 hour.

2. Near the end of the hour, brown the sausage slices in a separate pan on medium heat, about 3 minutes per side.

3. After 1 hour, add the browned sausage to the chili. Simmer, uncovered, for another hour. Stir in the mayonnaise and cocoa powder and simmer for another 10 minutes to allow the flavors to marry; add more salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper (or hot sauce) to taste. Top with cheddar cheese and sour cream if desired.

Many thanks to Russ for letting us share this recipe just before the release of the book. We love it. It might replace, or at least overshadow, our own chili recipe from now on.

A Raffle: Autographed Copy of The Ancestral Table

The Ancestral Table: A Review, A Recipe & A Raffle

Update: Many thanks to Tara, winner of the raffle!

As promised in the title, we are going to give away a signed copy of The Ancestral Table: Traditional Recipes for a Paleo Lifestyle! Russ has been awesome enough to sign a copy for us to share with all of you. We have a few cool ways to enter, and we think you’ll love the book.

This giveaway is limited to US readers (sorry international friends!), and will end on Sunday, February 16th, at 10:00 PM Eastern. Check out the raffle for details on how to enter. Please share this with friends on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and all of your social media favorites to spread the love!

Or, if you’re not one to gamble on fate, order a copy today here! (affiliate link)


  1. I can’t wait to get a copy of the Ancestral Table. I’ve been paleo for 2 months now and I love trying out new recipes! I’m feeling great, most of my issues with food have disappeared, and I attribute that to Paleo, VAHunterGatherers and DomesticMan for giving me the tools to change my lifestyle!


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