Q: What inspired you to write The Heritage Cookbook?

A: When I first started food blogging in 2010, I soon realized that traditional dishes — those that we have been cooking over many generations — are an important part of what makes humankind so unique. Not only are traditional recipes delicious, because they have been refined over many years, but they also connect us directly with our recent ancestors, who have demonstrated their love for us by filling our bellies with their beloved family meals. And finally, many traditional foods are also health-promoting, because many of them were first created in a time before industrial practices transformed our current food culture into something full of processed and refined ingredients.

Our second son joined the Crandall family in 2015, and I came to another conclusion: discovering my family heritage was important to me, and I wanted to know more about the genes I was passing on to my children. But as I started to learn about my family background, I couldn’t help but consider that there may be a connection with my individual heritage and the traditional foods that my recent ancestors ate. What if the foods that my great-great-grandparents ate affected the genes that I inherited from them?

While I've always felt that a traditional or historical approach to diet is probably the most sensible (and healthiest), there is also a growing field of study (called nutritional genomics) that investigates the link between our genes and the foods we eat.  In other words, nutritional genomics could give us clues as to whether foods eaten by our direct ancestors influence our health today.  Given the growing popularity of at-home DNA testing and genealogy research, I decided to make a cookbook that combines all of these ideas.

Q: How many recipes are in the book?

A: There are a total of 292 full recipes in the book, and a fair amount of additional sauces and spice blends push that number to over 300.  If you'd like to see a listing of every recipe found in this book, follow this link.

Q: How did you choose which recipes to develop?

A: I spent months researching US population statistics to determine the ancestral makeup of our country.  From there, I developed recipes in numbers that were generally aligned to the size of today's ancestry groups.  It's not a perfect match, because some traditional recipes are the result of culinary influences that occured when cultures were mixed during historical events (migrations, conquests, etc).  So there is some overlap, such as the prevalence of African-style dishes in Latin America and the Caribbean.  I also had to adjust the recipes to create a balanced cookbook overall.  In the end, here is how the recipes are broken down:

Ancestry Region Population  Representation Recipes



51.87% 68

North America


19.14% 32

Latin America & the Caribbean


6.94% 45



13.70% 24

Middle East & the Mediterranean


6.84% 38

Central & South Asia


1.96% 27

East Asia


2.69% 26

Southeast Asia & the Pacific


2.65% 32

Q: What do you mean by "traditional" recipes?  Like recipes from prehistory, or the foods that my grandmother cooked?

A: In general, my research and recipe development focused on some of the oldest, longstanding dishes that are still in use today, but that could be made using ingredients found in your typical grocery store, local international market, or readily available online.  My rule of thumb was to present dishes and cooking methods that existed before the Industrial Revolution (1760-1840), before the advent of commercially-produced items like seed oils, packaged goods, etc.

Q: I'm not sure about my genetic background.  Does this mean that I won't be able to use this book to its fullest extent?

A: You're in luck--if you're interested in finding out more about your genetic or family background, I provide guides and recommendations for DNA testing or genealogy research services.  But even if you're not comfortable undergoing DNA testing, or don't have the time for investigating your family tree, this book is designed to function as a standalone cookbook, which happens to be filled with some pretty fascinating food and cultural history notes.

Q: I'm of (insert ethnic group[s] here) ancestry.  Should I only be cooking recipes from that region?

A: The science is pretty clear that you won't drop dead from eating foods from other parts of the world.  The Heritage Cookbook is organized in a way that allows you to enjoy each of its 300+ recipes, but to also make overall dietary considerations based on your ancestry group's historical eating patterns.

Q: Your previous two books were written with a focus on the Paleo diet.  Is this a Paleo book?

A: The recipes in The Heritage Cookbook are based on historical and traditional cuisines, and the premise of the book is that certain populations may have experienced genetic adaptations to their native diet.  For this reason, the ingredients found in the book are historically accurate--if the recipe is from a region that traditionally relied on a lot of non-Paleo food items (like rice, beans, corn, or grains), then the recipes reflect this historical cuisine.  However, given the growing prevalence of gluten-related negative food reactions, all dishes that call for gluten-containing products have gluten-free instructions written into the recipe (with the exception of one dessert recipe that requires semolina flour, one salad that calls for bulgur wheat, and a barley stew).  So while I'm comfortable in saying that this is a gluten-free friendly book, if you have significant dietary restrictions or follow strict dietary guidelines, this may not be the best book for your circumstances.  That being said, 176 recipes are naturally Paleo/Primal friendly, and easily tweaked to be Whole30.  Here are the stats:

58% of the book is Paleo/Primal friendly, and most of those are Whole30
67% of the book is Paleo/Primal + white rice (e.g. Perfect Health Diet) friendly
99% of the book is written to be adaptable to gluten-free
58% of the book is Keto or low-carb friendly

Q: Do you provide Autoimmune Protocol (AIP), Whole30, GAPS, or other restrictive diet instructions for the recipes in this book?

A: I do not have a specific guide for special diets for the book, but if you're having trouble adjusting a recipe to your dietary restrictions, feel free to send me an email (russ@thedomesticman.com) and we can do some brainstorming together.

Q: This all sounds like a lot of work.  How long have you been writing this book?

A: I started working on The Heritage Cookbook in 2015, so it's taken me nearly four years to get everything together.  I enlisted the help of my friend (and nutritional researcher) Kamal Patel to research the science bits of the book, and I shared photography duties with Giang Cao, who helped me photograph my other books.

Q: You've been pretty quiet on your blog and social media.  What gives?

A: This book has been exponentially more demanding that my previous books, and I learned pretty early in the writing process that I wouldn't be able to write the book and maintain my social media / blogging presence.  This book just demanded my full attention.  Additionally, a lot of life events have happened over these past four years: our family welcomed our second child into the world, we've moved to a new state, and I've taken on a lot more responsibilities at work (I have been in the Navy for the past 19 years).  I've been quietly chugging along on this book this whole time, but wanted to focus on this project before I announced anything to the world.  And here we are!

Q: Why isn't this book available through traditional bookstores, or Amazon?

A: During the course of writing The Heritage Cookbook, I parted ways with my previous publisher.  So I no longer have the resources to print and distribute this book through conventional bookstores or Amazon.  Initially, I was just going to redesign the manuscript into an eBook, but everyone (myself included) loves a good hardcover book.  So I decided to work with a small US-based printer to make a limited run of cookbooks and ship them myself.  I think the end product will be very unique, and something that we can all treasure for years to come.

Q: I really like that watercolor painting on the cover.  How did that come about?

A: I've long admired the work of Martin at Continuum Watercolors.  Once I decided to make a special hardcover edition of The Heritage Cookbook, I contacted Martin and he made a beautiful custom painting that will serve as the front (and back) cover.  Here's a preview of the painting that will become the cover:

Q: How much will you charge for shipping?

Shipping is included in the $60 book price.

Q: When will the books ship?

A: I will leave orders open until June 30th, and then in July I will place my order with the printer: however many books are ordered is how many I will have printed.  After that, they will be shipped to a central location in August or September, and I will sign, package, and ship each book for an October delivery.

Q: What are your shipping restrictions?

A: Due to the small-scale nature of my shipping setup, I am limited to shipping to US and military (APO) addresses only.

Q: I do not live in the US, or this price is a little beyond my budget.  How can I get my hands on the 300+ recipes found in this cookbook?

A: You're in luck - I have digital editions of the book which you can buy on their own from anywhere in the world, and they're just $14.99 each.  Visit my website for more information on the digital versions!

Q: How does the order process work?

You can go here to purchase a book.  Once you complete the transaction, you will get an email with a link to the digital edition of The Heritage Cookbook, so you can start enjoying the book immediately on your favorite computer, phone, or tablet.  The email will also include a link to fill out your personalization information, so I know what to write in your book before shipping.