5 Simple Ways to Start Cooking Ancestrally

Ancestral cooking will produce food that is delicious and nutrient-dense as well as respectful to the animals consumed, the people who farm and the land that’s utilised.

Real food – food good for us mentally and physically and environmentally – is not produced in factories by profit-driven companies. It is grown and reared by individuals who care, offered to the community and then kitchen-crafted into delicious, health-giving food. This cycle is full of connection; real people, and when we sit at the table to eat, our bodies and souls are truly fed.

Sometimes, the processes involved in cooking from scratch in this way can seem overwhelming. I want to make it as easy as possible for you. Because it’s worth it.

So here are 5 simple ways to start cooking ancestrally.

1. Make stock


Stock is magic – it’s making something deeply nutritious out of ‘waste’. Saving and cooking bones gives us a tasty base for many other dishes but also feeds us with essentials minerals and the incredibly-healing gelatin.

The simplest way:

Buy whole organic chickens. After you roast them, save the bones (along with any bits of skin/tendons attached) in a bag in the freezer. When you have a good amount of bones put them in a big pot with water, an onion, some celery and a carrot and bring this to the boil. Turn it down as low as you can and cook it so the water barely shows any bubbles for at least 12 hours.

Once it has cooled, drain the contents of the pot through a sieve. Drink the stock or use it as cooking liquid for grains such as rice, or as the base for a stew.

2. Eat organ meat


Organ meat is the most nutritionally dense part of an animal. And yet it is part of the 50% of the animal that routinely never makes it to our shops. Ancestral cooking is about respect – and eating all of an animal respects the sacrifice made.

The simplest way:

Out of all offal, liver is often seen as the most accessible. Chicken liver is milder in taste than that found in other animals. Get hold of some chicken livers, chop them and add them to a dish such as bolognaise or chilli.

3. Embrace fat


Fat is amazing. It carries flavour, making dishes taste good, keeps us fuller for longer and also carries essential vitamins that aren’t so easily available elsewhere – like A, D, E and K.

The simplest way:

Choose foods that haven’t had the fat stripped away. Buy whole milk, chicken with the skin on and red meats that are marbled with fat (if you can’t find fatty beef cuts in your supermarket, use the opportunity to seek out a local farmer and buy directly). Include these whole foods in your meals.

4. Ferment


Our gut, and the biome it contains, is the master controller of our health. Anything we can do to support the good bacteria that live there is, I believe, one of the most important health steps we can take. Fermented foods are packed with probiotic good bacteria.

The simplest way:

Make sauerkraut. All you need is a cabbage, some salt, a large glass pickling jar with a lid, a knife and a bowl. Click here to be taken to a post talking you through how.

5. Soak your grains


Grains contain a chemical called phytic acid. This stops you absorbing minerals. If you soak grains prior to cooking, you can deactivate much of this phytic acid. And in the process you soften up the grains too, which’ll make it easier for you body to absorb them.

The simplest way:

Think about what grains you want to cook the following day. Before you go to bed, put these grains into a bowl, cover generously with slightly warm water and add a couple of tbsp of an acidic liquid (lemon, vinegar, whey, yogurt, sourdough starter). The next day, before you use the grains, drain and rinse them. Cook them as normal.

If you’ve got question on any of these steps, feel free to contact me. You can do so via my Instagram account @ancestral_kitchen or by commenting below.

2 Responses

  • Alison,

    It just clicked that you, Alison Kay from The Confessions, are the same Alison I have been listening to on the Ancestral Kitchen podcast! I have yet to listen to your Confessions episode, but it is saved to my phone and ready to go.

    I love the wisdom you share, and I am so very grateful. Oats are currently fermenting in my kitchen as we speak.
    You inspire me so much.

    Thank you from Australia,


    • Great to hear from you Erica! Yes, it’s me 🙂 I hope you enjoy The Confessions interview (and the oats!). Let me know!

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