When you or your child has been diagnosed with severe food allergies, it really comes down to two choices. You can either keep trying to make multiple versions of everything at meal time or you can choose to move everyone over to the allergy free side of things. Elizabeth Gordon faced that problem as she explains in the introduction to the recently released Complete Allergy-Free Comfort Foods Cookbook: Every Recipe Is Free Of Gluten, Dairy, Soy, Nuts, and Eggs and went with the later decision. That resulted in this cookbook which also tries to help users deal with the high cost of such a diet.
After the introduction explaining how the book came about there is a six page dictionary of ingredients with detailed explanations. That is followed by a three page detailed explanation regarding various substitutions which is then followed by a conversion page for metrics. With the basics out of the way it is on to the recipes.
The recipes begin with “Breakfast Goodies” section that features 13 recipes. Beyond the expected suggestions for granolas of different types there are recipes for “Biscuits” (pages 6-7), “Jelly Donuts” (pages 10-11) and “French Toast” (pages 16-17) among others. Each recipe opens with a small anecdote, features detailed instructions along with the ingredient list, and in most cases has a tip of some sort regarding substitution, freezing, storage, etc. along with a color photograph of the dish. Unfortunately, there is not any nutritional information regarding fats, sugars, salt, etc. with any of the recipes in the book.
“Starters” begins on page 24-25 and features 11 recipes. “Italian Wedding Soup” (page 28) is here as is “Corn Chowder” (page 31) and “Buffalo Wings” (pages 32-33) among others. Some items, such as “Pigs in a Blanket” (pages 36-37) could do double duty as a breakfast item while “Nachos” (pages 38-39) definitely belongs here.
11 different types of “Salads” come next with Dijon Vinaigrette flavored “Potato Salad” (pages 44-45) starting things off. Also here are recipes for “Tabbouleh” (pages 48-49), “Pasta Salad” (pages 52-53) and “Coleslaw” (page 56) among others.
If you can’t eat eggs, most condiments are out of the question. Elizabeth Gordon shows you how to deal with this in “Condiments, Dressing, and Basics.” If you are looking for “BBQ Sauce” (Page 61), “Mayo” (page 62) or even “Croutons” (page 66) among other things this is a section to check.
“Main Courses” comes up next starting on pages 68-69 and features 33 recipes. In addition to several dealing with beef and chicken, there are recipes for “Corn Dogs” (pages 70-71), “Tamale Pie” (pages 82-83), “Sloppy Joe” (pages 86-87), “Chicken Soft Tacos” (pages 106-107) and “Pizza” (pages 114-115) among others.
You have to have “Sides” and you have them here. Whether you want “Hush Puppies” (pages 126-127), “Oven Baked Fries” (pages 132-133) or “Onion Rings” (pages 142-143) there is something here. The Onion Rings use the author’s “All-Purpose Breading” (page 66) used on several dishes scattered throughout the book.
One can’t forget “Desserts.” The 22 recipes in this section starting on pages 145-146 feature such delectables as “Mint Thin Wafers” (page 147), “Double Chocolate Chip Ice Cream” (pages 158-159) and “Cherry Pie” (page 162-163) among others.
The book closes with a five page section on where to shop for the ingredients, a one page acknowledgement, and a four page index. A one paragraph author bio completes the book.
Despite the lack of nutritional information regarding fats, calories, protein, etc., this is a well done cookbook. The photographs by Susan Byrnes provide a very nice touch to the wealth of information in the Complete Allergy-Free Comfort Foods Cookbook: Every Recipe Is Free Of Gluten, Dairy, Soy, Nuts, and Eggs. Variety in the dishes is also present with many much easier than some others to make, but all are geared to please the maximum number of people possible.
Complete Allergy-Free Comfort Foods Cookbook: Every Recipe Is Free Of Gluten, Dairy, Soy, Nuts, and Eggs
Photography by Susan Byrnes
Lyons Press (imprint of Globe Pequot Press)
Material supplied by the good folks of the Plano, Texas Public Library System.
Kevin R. Tipple ©2012
Author of the e-book short story collection Mind Slices available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords in a variety of formats. Contributor to the Carpathian Shadows, Volume II anthology available in print and e-book.