Mr. Flintstone and I met when we were both in grade school. He went to an all-boys school while I attended an all-girls school. It just so happened that our dads were co-workers and we frequently got dragged to weekend parties and whatnot. I remember him best out of all the others because I actually saved him from drowning when we were 8. We went to the same high school. We hung out in the same circle, swapped comic books, and snuck out to concerts together. We got accepted in the same university. We experienced the highs and lows of academic life, along with other collegiate exploits. We were each other’s constant—default roadtrip buddy, tutor, detective, proofreader, loan shark, defense lawyer, critic, wingman. We were the inseparable best of friends who would most definitely recoil in horror if someone were to suggest that we be anything more than that.
Believe it or not, Mr. Flintstone and I did not hit it off until our first out-of-the-country trip together. But that’s another story.
Mr. Flintstone and I navigated through the turbulent waters of career life together. He used to be on the slender side, but the burden of career life had slowly begun to manifest itself in his midsection. Soon after, Mr. Flintstone got sick. He resurrected from his ordeal a changed man. He started brisk walking after work every other day. Eventually, the afternoon brisk walk evolved into a sunset jog. Not long after, he started hitting the gym before going to work.
It surprised no one when Mr. Flintstone announced that he’s going paleo 6 times a week (as you can surmise I gave him the nickname Mr. Flintstone because of his dietary preference). As the Kitchen Commander of our, er, cave, I demanded to know what he can or cannot eat. After giving me the full brief—
Me: So what you’re saying is, you’re not going to be eating rice?
Mr. Flintstone: That’s correct.
Me: So you’re renouncing your nationality? What kind of Filipino doesn’t eat rice!?
Mr. Flintstone: Where did that come from? You’re over reacting!
At first, I was sad to have lost my carb-bonanza and dessert buddy, but I’m also happy that he’s taking extra steps to improve his well-being.
As a compromise, we both agreed that Mr. Flintstone would create his own meal plan and conduct all the research (a.k.a. recipe hunting) and I would do all the grocery shopping and cooking. Fair enough.
Mr. Flintstone’s so-called “cheat day” is on Sunday, the designated family day. It’s easier, after all, to eat a few tablespoons of grains than suffer through his mother’s interrogation. “Why aren’t you eating the mashed potatoes. Don’t you like it?”
I would like to think of myself as a supportive spouse, but there are times wherein I would taunt Mr. Flintstone with freshly baked bread and a plate of exceptional pastry. Eventually, I learned how to adapt to his newfound dietary preference. I also learned to adopt it from time to time. For example, I’d grill chicken inasal, and we’d pair it with cauliflower “rice” and a ton of greens.
For father’s day, I’ve decided to treat Mr. Flintstone to a gourmet paleo-friendly feast. Whether you have a Barney Rubble or a George Jetson at home, this spread will earn you accolades.
For lunch, treat your stone-age sweetheart to a simple bowl of zucchini “spaghetti” lightly tossed in nutty, peppery arugula pesto.
Later on, have a “hunter and gatherer” themed dinner and commence it with oysters on the half shell with smokey bacon, shallot, wild chili, calamansi, and coconut vinegar mignonette.
Afterward, serve up a big plate of lean, mean steak onglet (hanger steak) with roasted spicy sweet potatoes and French green beans.
Strictly speaking, the paleo diet doesn't allow alcohol. But Mr. Flintstone can't seem to resist a large mug of ice-cold, Jack Daniels-spiked Lynchburg Lemonade!
½ cup olive oil
½ bulb crushed garlic
1 sprig of rosemary or thyme
2 lemon wedges
500 g hanger steak at least 1.5” thick (ask the butcher to remove the cartilage in the middle, trim the excess fat, and remove the silverskin)
1. Marinate steak in olive oil, garlic, rosemary or thyme, lemon, and plenty of salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Chill in the fridge overnight.
2. Let steak come down to room temperature. Season with more salt and pepper. Heat cast iron griddle (you can also use a heavy bottom pan with low sides) until smoking hot. You will know it’s hot enough if you can no longer put your hand over the cast iron griddle.
3. Grill one side of the steak until grill mark forms, about 2 minutes. Flip gently. Grill the other side of the steak, about 2 minutes. Steak should remain pink in the center (medium rare).
4. Transfer steak to a wire rack to rest. Slice the meat against the grain.
Note: If you serve it rare, it will be too slippery and will have a strange mouthfeel. If you serve it beyond medium, it will be dry and coarse.
250 grams sweet potato, cut into thick wedges
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp zaatar
1. Toss potatoes in olive oil, paprika, cayenne pepper, zaatar, sea salt, and freshly cracked black peppercorn.
2. Roast potatoes on the middle rack of the oven for 15 minutes. Transfer tray to top rack and roast for 10-15 minutes until crispy.
250 grams French green beans
3 cloves crushed garlic
3 tablespoons butter
1. Saute garlic until fragrant.
2. Saute French green beans until cooked through but still al dente.
4. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper.
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