As I mentioned yesterday, I LOVE The Food Lovers Primal Palate.
Check out my glowing review of their cookbook, Make it Paleo, here. Not only do these folks know how to make AMAZING Paleo-friendly food, they also have amazing creative flair, and they shoot beautiful photos!
A while back, I started a fun blog project called “The Interview Series.” So far I’ve enjoyed some great interviews with The Civilized Caveman,Melissa Joulwan (author of Well Fed), The Paleo Parents, Clean Eats in the Zoo, Ginger Lemon Girl, The Domestic Man, and Paleo on a Budget. What fun!
It has been really interesting to learn some little-known facts about some of these Paleo Powerhouses!
Now it’s Bill and Hayley’s turn! We heard from Hayley yesterday, and we’re talking with Bill today… enjoy!
Easy Paleo (EP): If you had to describe yourself in one sentence, what would you say?
Bill Staley: I’m a landscape architect and musician turned food photographer and cookbook author.
EP: Tell us about you… anything you want to say!
Bill: Well, I’m sure a lot of your readers know our back story (and if you don’t you can get more than your fill here: http://beta.primal-palate.com/us/). What people may not know about me is that I have so many other hobbies and interests besides the paleo stuff. I’ve been a drummer for 16 years – well over half of my lifetime. I had two times in my life when I was really good at playing – once was in high school and the other was the last few years. When I was 18, I had a chance to play in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland – that was pretty cool! I didn’t get to play much during college and the first few years after, but when I moved back to Pittsburgh, I picked them up again and played in a few bands. That was actually how I ended up meeting Hayley – on the set of a music video.
I’m also really into autocrossing, which is a form of racing that is focused on driver skill. It’s sort of like a time trial, and drivers navigate a course laid out with cones. I’ve been doing that about 10 years, so I’m starting to get pretty consistently good at it. All of the guys I race with know about the cookbook Hayley and I wrote – it’s kind of funny when these gearheads come up to me to inquire about Paleo, rather than car talk. I love it!
EP: How did you discover Paleo, and what is the BIGGEST difference it made in your life?
Bill: Hayley introduced me to Paleo when we met. The whole idea of it made sense, so I was totally down with changing my diet. I was only slightly reluctant, because I didn’t necessarily want to lose any weight (crazy, right?) I did end up losing about 10 lbs in the first month, but my physique definitely improved, so I can’t complain. The biggest difference if has made for me is the clarity of my skin. Before paleo, I used to have pretty bad back acne. I will still get flare up’s if I cheat (a recent bachelor party comes to mind), so it is good incentive to stay on the wagon. I love the way it makes me feel, in terms of energy levels.
Bill: Not really – like many people, my tastes constantly change. Right now, I’m really digging this bbq sauce recipe I recently came up with. I’m using it on everything from fish, to pork, to chicken – but it’s best grilled on chicken wings. We’ve had it a few times this week with grilled chicken thighs… it’s SO good.
EP: What has been your biggest Paleo challenge, and how did you overcome it?
Bill: I think my biggest challenge has been (and continues to be) sugar. Doing Diane’s 21-Day Sugar Detox has definitely helped kick my sugar habit, but I can’t help but always let it back in. I’ve come to the conclusion that I genuinely enjoy things that taste sweet. Right now, I’m in a pretty good place where I eat fruit when I need something sweet, and will occasionally have something a little more “conventional”. Oh, before I forget, we have this great meal plan on our website that goes hand-in-hand with the 21-Day Sugar Detox – everyone should check that out!
Bill: I wish everyone knew how good they would feel if they would stick to it for a few months. Some of the best parts of living a paleo lifestyle are also some of the slowest to be fully realized. I think we’d have a lot more people in our ranks if they knew what their quality of life could be like.
EP: Paleo-eating does not have to be difficult… how do you make this lifestyle an easy element of your life?
Bill: Well, we’ve always based our recipes on a few core ingredients that any good kitchen should have. We also try to keep the recipes simple, and for the most part inexpensive too. We’ve been working on a set of features on our new website recently that shoot to make Paleo eating even easier. We’ve created a set of tools called “My Kitchen” which allows our site users to add notes to recipes, save them as favorites, and then compile shopping lists (which they can even edit). In addition, all of the recipes on our site have nutritional information, and we’re just getting started. We also plan to launch a meal planner sometime this summer which is already in the works, and even allow registered users to post their own recipes which use our database of ingredients and My Kitchen tools. All of this we’re providing to the community for free, with the focus of making Paleo cooking easier than ever before.
Bill: Two really stick out. The first was the dinner Hayley and I shared at the beach two summers ago that was SO GOOD that we decided to start a food blog. Looking back, we’ve had plenty of better meals since then, but that first one will always be special – the one that kicked off our journey. The other was the night we got an email from Victory Belt, asking us if we’d consider doing a cookbook with them. We were both over the moon, and literally got to work on it the next day!
EP: If you could drop everything right now and take a month-long vacation, where would you go, and which recipes would you want to be sure and make while there?
Bill: I’d love to rent a house somewhere in the tropics. Living in Pittsburgh, we don’t always have the best seafood selection (nor do we have the worst, either), but there is something amazing about caught-that-day seafood. I’d love to have more good quality fish in my diet!
Bill: Last year while we were making the book, we decided to try our hands at a sunbutter bar recipe. We had no idea, but the chemical reaction in the sunbutter turned it DARK green. It looked atrocious, but still tasted good. You can’t help but laugh when stuff like that happens.
EP: Tell us what you thought of PaleoF(x). What was the best part?
Bill: The best part of any of these events is always the social aspect, in my opinion. Our little blogging community is a tightly knit one, and it’s really nice getting to know our people beyond their blogs. We stayed in a big house in Austin with a bunch of friends: Diane from Balanced Bites, George from Civilized Caveman, Henry and Michelle from Nom Nom Paleo, Stacy from Paleo Parents, Laura from Ancestralize Me, Bobby Gill (the man, the myth, the legend)… and Liz from Cave Girl Eats even stayed a few nights. We had a blast hanging out together, cooking fun food, and taking foodie field trips to restaurants. Of course the talks at the conference were great too, and we gained quite a bit of critical insight into our own health issues (thats a story for another time though.)
EP: What made you and Hayley decide to start blogging? And what made you decide to compile a cookbook?
Bill: Hayley and I decided to make a fresh commitment to Paleo during a long weekend at the beach. We were cooking all of this great food, and taking photos for facebook. On the last night, I declared that we should try to write a cookbook. Looking back, it was extremely naive of me, but the ambition was there from the beginning. Hayley suggested that we start a blog, but 9 months later (haha, this is sounding like a baby story), along came Victory Belt with a real-life book deal.
EP: What is your FAVORITE kitchen tool or appliance, and why?
Bill: Nothing is more essential than a good quality knife. We have a few nice knives – an 8″ chef’s knife and a 7″ santoku, and a whole assortment of those colorful little Kuhn Rikon knives. Without good knives, cooking would be pretty tough!
EP: What is something we might be surprised to find out about you?
Bill: Hm, interesting question. Well, it’s a bit of a confession. I’m just not that wild about offal. I know, It’s sort of disgraceful. I just do not like liver, and heart isn’t all that swell either. However, I’m totally down with beef tongue – that stuff is excellent. I’ve been trying to incorporate more offal (in things like burgers and meatballs), but it’s a slow process getting into it. Hayley is so much better at eating that kind of stuff – I admire that about her.
EP: Anything else you’d like to add?
Bill: I believe I’ve said it all… and then some. Thanks for having us!
Thanks Bill! You and Hayley have been such an inspiration to me, and I’d be lost without Make it Paleo!
Okay, if you haven’t already, be sure to read more about Bill’s FIANCE (that’s right!!), Hayley.