IN THE KITCHEN WITH JESSICA HAGGARD
Tell us about yourself:
As the curator of popular keto carnivore diet blog Primal Edge Health, homeschooling and homesteading mother, I get to wear many aprons every day. From head chef to author and photographer, secretary to teacher and administrator, farm hand to favorite sidekick I rely on wholesome, family-friendly meals to keep me and my growing family healthy and strong.
My two children were born at home, in Ecuador, where my husband and I have lived as ex-pats since 2010. We believe in the importance of locally produced food, grass-fed beef, organic foods and regenerative agriculture. Our lifestyle reflects these values as we implement a holistic approach to personal health, wellness, education, land management, and stewardship over all our chickens, sheep, and cows.
How did you get involved in cooking?
I’ve been cooking since before I could walk! Well, not quite that long but I have felt at home in the kitchen from an early age. My mom was skillfully experimental with food and inspired me to join in whenever I could. Growing up, my ideal Saturday morning was spent making her a surprise breakfast in bed and serving it on our 1970’s pale yellow ceramic vintage dish set (right before I alphabetized my bookshelf, just for fun!).
The kitchen has always been the heart of the home for me but it wasn’t until I learned first hand, through my own health experiences, about the essential role of animal foods for fertility, early childhood development, mental stability, and general health that I became dedicated to discovering how to prepare traditional foods and helping people improve their health through simple dietary choices.
Describe your cooking style:
My cooking style is simple, meat-centric home cooked meals from scratch with a focus on nutrient density and nose-to-tail eating. I celebrate local, seasonal foods and always seek to highlight heritage foods whenever possible. My recipes strive to normalize meat in a time when it is increasingly pushed aside and bring attention back to culturally rejected foods like liver, bones, and suet.
How did you learn about grass-fed meats?
I started my “food as medicine” journey in 2008 by eliminating all processed ingredients and prepackaged convenience foods in exchange for high-quality, organic and grass-fed ingredients. Out went with the beef tacos from Taco Bell and in came the grass-fed lamb from Whole Foods and wild-caught salmon from our neighbor. Believing in “putting my money where my mouth is” and “voting with my dollar” I stand in support of grass-fed meats, free-range chickens, and wild-caught seafood for more than just the physical health benefits. The regenerative, grass-fed approach to raising meat is vital for healthy environments, communities, and economies as well.
What is your favorite recipe featuring grass-fed meat?
Every Sunday I make an Organ Meat Pie as part of my weekly food prep routine. When I first discovered the concept behind Liver Chips, I couldn’t get enough! I think I’ve tried these with every dip imaginable and they are always delicious.
You’re stranded on a desert island; luckily, you’re stranded with your top 5 ingredients and one must-have kitchen tool:
Best cooking secret/tip/piece of advice you’ve learned:
When in doubt, add more butter.
My husband taught me not to be afraid of stepping out of the recipe box. The ingredient and direction lists are great guides but don’t have to be a technical scientific approach (unless you’re baking!). He encouraged me to find the wiggle room and improvise. We shouldn’t feel afraid of experimenting; they may be a few fails along the way but there is never a great loss without some gain. The trade of “messing up” a few meals for gaining culinary confidence and developing a personal cooking style is so rewarding and should not be missed!
What’s your favorite quote/song for culinary inspiration (if any)?
“You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces – just good food from fresh ingredients.” It’s a classic quote from Julia Child that sums up the essence of nourishing homemade meals.
Anything else you want to share?
From scratch, at home cooking doesn’t have to be a headache! Focus on fatty animal protein and add the veggies you like on the side. Every now and then add a sauce or salsa. You’ll be amazed at how simple meals built around quality beef, lamb, bison, and other meats satiate and nourish you like nothing else. If you are interested in learning more about the power of animal foods, I recommend you learn from The Carnivore Cookbook and consider joining one of our personal coaching programs.
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