Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
6 Oct

Grokfeast in Cape Coral, Florida

On September 8th I asked my readers to host picnics and to send me the results. The following is one of 27 amazing submissions, the best of which will win an entire cow, courtesy of US Wellness. Vote for your favorite on October 8.

When I saw this contest description, I knew that I had to get my kids involved. By ‘my kids’ I mean my 4th grade class. From the beginning of the school year, they’ve listened to me talk about just eating fruits, vegetables and meat and this contest was my chance to demonstrate a good time, Old-School err…. Primal-School. The parents think I’m a bit nuts, but they’ve seemed to embrace, or at least can’t deny, the nutritional value of eating more fruits and vegetables (I always mention organic of course). Several have thanked me for my influence on their kids eating habits already. As such, 9 families embraced the spirit of the event and joined the fun, each bringing primal-styled foods.

We started off by hunting for twigs and sticks to get the fire going, picking up pokin’ sticks and spears along the way, of course! The natural lump charcoal fire had to be contained in the State Park’s grill, but a stone slab provided the primal cooking surface. As the adults worked on the fire using some rendered chicken fat I’d brought for the accelerant, the kids began their hunt for shells (see photos for shell-usage). Once the fire under the slab was blazing, we started cooking the skewers and the shrimp, which are great for temperature gauging. I brought an all natural, grass-fed bison hot dog for one little girl that only eats hot dogs – she ate it with glee! After these foods were cooked and consumed, I brought out the TEST: seasoned, ground cow heart. All but two of the kids tried it and of those, all but two had extra helpings! One brother-sister team had to be stopped by their parents from eating it all!

During the meal I explained various aspects of Primal eating to the parents and told them of my efforts and success. I’m happy to say that I’ve lost 30 pounds in 6 months without hardcore exercise and have recently begun going to a Crossfit gym. After eating our main meal, it was time to play. We went to the beach to have bear crawl and crab crawl races – the winners receiving precious drops of Organic Agave Nectar on their fingers, which I explained, would have been the Prize of Prizes for a Paleolithic Champion (then, of course, they all got a taste). All in all, it was a great day at the park. The kids had a good time and I think they will remember it for a long time – which is, of course, my goal as a teacher – learning while having fun!

The Feast

Raw foods enjoyed:

  • Tropical fruit salads (2)
  • Grapes
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Lettuce (for wraps)
  • Strawberries
  • Bananas
  • Mango

Cooked foods:

  • Venezuelan tuna antipasta (no pasta, of course)
  • Cuban scallop ceviche
  • Veg & beef skewers
  • Juice marinaded vegetables
  • Shrimp with salt and lime
  • Cow heart

Recipe: Seasoned Cow Heart

  • 2 lbs. cow heart. The key is the double grind. The butcher can do it easily. It’s a really tough muscle.
  • 2 tsp of Kosher salt
  • 2 tsp fresh ground cumin
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp of fresh nutmeg
  • 1 lime

Mix well and set overnight. Why overnight? So that it’s already prepared in the morning! There may be some flavor absorption during that period, but I can’t verify that. For the sake of the kids’ palates, I kept the seasoning light. Personally, I would have added some heat.

Pre-heat a scrubbed clean, hardware store bought, stone slab to 500+ deg. How will you know it’s hot enough to cook on? Toss a shrimp on it. When it starts to change color, add another to see how fast it starts to cook. Once the shrimp start cooking quickly, you know it’s ready. Add a lump (~tbsp) of coconut oil, spread around and then add the meat. I chose to break it up into smaller chunks rather than burgers so that the kids would have small options available. Cook until desired doneness is achieved. Squeeze fresh lime over the meat.

For those that have never had beef heart, it is one of the beefiest beef flavors you’ll ever have. Adding just a little to a soup or meatloaf or burger or whatever – it adds a great amount of flavor!

The Tribe

  • Matt Halstead (MDA member, organizer, bald)
  • Brady family (4)
  • Bowman family (3)
  • Riepe family (4)
  • Llanes family (2)
  • Baptista family (3)
  • Ogden family (2)
  • Durepos family (3)
  • Mars family (2)
  • Talavera family (2)

Total: 26

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. Awesome! Glad there is a teacher out there spreading the Primal word…gives me some hope for the future.

    anzy wrote on October 6th, 2010
  2. “teach, your children well…”
    Awesome concept!! Oh, & yummy looking heart recipe, btw…

    Peggy wrote on October 6th, 2010
    • I can’t say enough good things about the heart meat. I’ve served it numerous times over the past couple of years. Everyone loves it – until they find out what it is… Give it a try!

      Matt wrote on October 6th, 2010
  3. Why weren’t my teachers this cool?

    Melody wrote on October 6th, 2010
  4. I’m jealous…that beach looks like too much fun! :(

    Funkadelic Flash wrote on October 6th, 2010
  5. That looks fabulous! Grok on!

    Katt wrote on October 6th, 2010
  6. You’re not just a teacher, you’re the tribe wise-man teaching the children the things that will help them (and the tribe)to THRIVE! Keep up the good work. More tribes could use wise-men like you.

    Larry wrote on October 6th, 2010
  7. The recipes for Venezuelan Tuna and Cuban Ceviche would be aweosme!

    *Nice tip on the double grind. I wonder if I could find a butcher to do that for me with a pastured one…?

    tara tootie wrote on October 6th, 2010
    • ~ extended pulses in a food processor might do the trick as well.

      Matt wrote on October 6th, 2010
  8. You used your class?! I must say, as a fellow teacher, that that’s awesome!!

    Ryan wrote on October 6th, 2010
  9. I love this, I wish one of my kids teacher took the effort to bunk the system. Good for you guys.

    Robert wrote on October 6th, 2010
  10. This is terrific! Your students will carry the memories with them forever (still remember my first taste of papaya from our 5th grade Luau), plus you planted the seed of good health in 9 different families.

    Lisa Stanton wrote on October 6th, 2010
  11. That is fantastic. I hope my kids’ teachers are so cool. Fantastic idea cooking on a stone slab – where to source one?

    kevink wrote on October 6th, 2010
    • Home Depot. I went looking for natural stone. Now it’s got a really nice seasoned look to it. It’s living in my oven now. You might give it a try!

      Matt wrote on October 6th, 2010
  12. Hot rock = primal stove?

    Congratulations on your health improvements, and your efforts to make sure the next generation is well prepared!

    Kris wrote on October 6th, 2010
  13. Now go after the school lunch program.

    Mark wrote on October 6th, 2010
  14. Thanks for all of the kudos!

    Hopefully, I’ll be able to get the styro trays replaced with bio trays by next year.

    Matt wrote on October 6th, 2010
    • Hello, my name is Elaine and I have been eating primal for about a year, as well as, doing CrossFit. I live in Riverdale, not far from the Cape. I would love to join your tribe.

      Elaine Hoffman wrote on October 2nd, 2012
  15. those are some lucky 4th graders

    noah216 wrote on October 6th, 2010
  16. Cow heart is amazing. Love that you included it!

    Cindy Hanna wrote on October 6th, 2010
  17. I am getting my cow in a couple weeks (organs included) and was looking for something to do with the heart.

    JB wrote on October 6th, 2010
  18. Oh my, a feast on the beach sounds too good. Especially with beef hearts! Yum

    Ben wrote on October 6th, 2010
  19. Oh wow… what a great idea, using Grokfeast as a chance to demonstrate to non-Primals what Primal eating is. The kids must have had a blast! Good job spreading the fire. Who knows who will pick up the torch. :)

    Deanna (Diana Renata) wrote on October 6th, 2010
  20. Get ’em while they’re young! The produce looks absolutely amazing. I love the idea of cooking on a big stone slab, makes every meal more primal.

    Bet the kids had a ton of fun crawling around!

    Mason wrote on October 6th, 2010
  21. that’s awesome some of the parents were open minded enough to allow their kids to have fun

    mike wrote on October 6th, 2010
  22. Nice! Cape Coral is my hometown.

    Anthony wrote on October 6th, 2010
  23. Awesome recipe for cow heart! Have to try that.

    christie wrote on October 6th, 2010
  24. what a great lesson plan!

    Marti wrote on October 6th, 2010
  25. How refreshing to hear of a teacher encouraging healthy eating! My son gets frustrated because his football coaches say “no pop, no pop, no pop”, and then after games and at all cookouts, the league only provides pop to drink. Sounds like an awesome field trip and a great way to teach people.

    Mary Adams wrote on October 7th, 2010
  26. That’s great. I’m going to have to try the beef heart recipe.

    JRM wrote on October 7th, 2010
  27. I couldn’t be more proud of this guy. Aside from the amazing experience described here, his forward-thinking teaching methods never cease to amaze me.

    Jenny wrote on October 7th, 2010
  28. This is a great, engaging assignment! Keep up the good work!

    Chris wrote on October 7th, 2010
  29. This is my favorite post so far, how else would Groks tribe have passed on knowledge, teach the young ones!

    Hanako wrote on October 7th, 2010
  30. What a great idea for a primal picnic. Your students are very lucky to have you for a teacher.

    Now, if I can just make myself try beef heart….recipe looks good…..maybe….

    Sharon wrote on October 7th, 2010
  31. I love heart meat. Delicious and dense without being too chewy. I also love the picture of the kid wielding the “spear”. Good job on hosting an educational Grok feast. Hopefully some of your students will carry the lessons you taught for the rest of their lives.

    Ryan wrote on October 7th, 2010
  32. Oh, I love that you got your students involved! My MIL is a teacher for 4th graders in a school that uses a lot of experiential education, and I’m going to tell her about this. Nice job!

    Julie wrote on October 7th, 2010
  33. What great fun! Bet all the kids had a great time.

    Chipdogwa wrote on October 7th, 2010
  34. Awesome. By influencing how they eat you’ve made a difference that will last a lifetime. A longer, healthier lifetime at that!

    Pat wrote on October 7th, 2010
  35. What an awesome idea! Sounds like the ultimate field trip and lots of fun.

    Liz Toll wrote on October 7th, 2010
  36. More Floridians! AAAHHHH!!! Who would have guessed there’d be so many?!?!

    Fatkid wrote on October 7th, 2010
  37. Beef heart on the beach?! Sounds perfect.

    Whitney wrote on October 7th, 2010
  38. I like cooking on the stone and the menu was great!

    carol wrote on October 8th, 2010
  39. That’s amazing!! I love that you’re so fearless as to share this all with your students and their parents!! :)

    gilliebean wrote on October 8th, 2010
  40. Setting aside the biases of an enormously proud father, I can add that while spending 10 days or so with Matt earlier this year I enjoyed abundant heaps of his fabulous cooking – and lost four pounds! Grok on, Matt; you make the world a better place.

    Tom Halstead wrote on October 11th, 2010

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