Sunday, July 24, 2011

Review: The Food Allergy Cookbook

Summary: More than 11 million Americans are currently living with food allergies. The Food Allergy Cookbook is for those millions who like to have fun with food, enjoy cooking and playing in the kitchen, and want relief from the limited cuisine offered by most allergy–free cookbooks. Here is a user–friendly book that contains 101 tried and true recipes for those suffering from food allergies, including appetizers, breads, soups, entrees, desserts, and a selection of delicious holiday meals. Each recipe is easy to prepare, with readily available ingredients, and full of flavor.

In addition to tasty, every–day recipes—from white bean artichoke dip, cinnamon rolls, and cream of mushroom soup to chicken pot pie, cranberry apple sauce, and amaretto fudge brownies—Carmel Nelson and Amra Ibrisimovic provide full–course meal plans for family holidays and social gatherings, including the perfect allergy–free turkey dinner! With personal anecdotes, tips for the kitchen, shopping lists, guidance on reading food labels, and helpful resources, The Food Allergy Cookbook is the essential book for anyone living with or cooking for someone with food allergies. -- Skyhorse Publishing

When I was contacted about reviewing THE FOOD ALLERGY COOKBOOK: A GUIDE TO LIVING WITH ALLERGIES AND ENTERTAINING WITH HEALTHY, DELICIOUS MEALS by Carmel Nelson and Amra Ibrisimovic, I jumped at the chance! Many of you already know that Booking Son has quite a few food allergies, some of which are life-threatening; and finding foods that he enjoys and that are safe can be a bit of a challenge. So I am always on the lookout for cookbooks written especially for families with food allergies.

THE FOOD ALLERGY COOKBOOK is a fantastic resource for those of you looking for recipes that fit an allergy-friendly lifestyle. Both of the authors of the cookbook share their personal stories at the beginning of the book, and I think many readers will relate. In addition, there is a section on Kitchen Tips which explains food labels as well as common allergens. One of the most helpful things in this section is the listing of alternative names for each allergen. For example, dairy can also be identified in foods as casein, lactose, lactoglobulin, and many more. Needless to say, you have to be on your toes when reading ingredient lists.

There is also a chapter titled "Traveling with Food Allergies" which I found helpful. I try to keep things as normal as possible for our family, but I've found that, outside of Disney World, traveling is a very difficult thing for us to do. The authors provide a list of chain restaurants that have begun catering to special/alternative diets including Olive Garden, Wendy's, and Boston Market. And they also offer some travel options including Disney World (which I can vouch for!) as well as cruises.

While there is some great information in the first few chapters, I was definitely ready to check out the recipes. There are over 100 recipes in this cookbook and I found many of them to look delicious. And, most of them weren't any more complex than "normal" recipes! The recipes are for appetizers, breads, soups, entrees, and desserts and exclude many common allergens including dairy, gluten, soy, corn, shellfish, and nuts.

Although quite a few of the recipes were perfect for Booking Son's food restrictions, I did find that many recipes included eggs as an ingredient. I just had to skim right past these recipes since Booking Son is allergic to eggs. In addition, the recipes leave out gluten, soy and corn which he can tolerate. However, I did like that the authors provided some alternative options where I could use ingredients such as any "flour mixture."

The recipes in THE FOOD ALLERGY COOKBOOK are divided into the following chapters: Holiday Menus -- Winter Holiday, Thanksgiving, Spring Holiday; Soups; Appetizers; Salads and Side Dishes; Entrees; and Pastries and Desserts. I especially appreciated some of the alternative recipes for traditional foods such as Pumpkin Pie (it uses coconut milk for the dairy -- yum!) I think the Entrees Section is probably the most useful for our family since that's what I find myself cooking the most.

Despite not having to worry about gluten (thank goodness), I do think the recipes in this cookbook are ideal for those people on a gluten-free diet. I found many of the options to be fantastic. There were recipes for flat bread, pies, cinnamon rolls, stuffing, muffins, and crepes.

If you are one of (or know one of) the 11 million Americans who have food allergies, then I highly recommend taking a look at this very useful cookbook. THE FOOD ALLERGY COOKBOOK is a wonderful resource for those of us looking for allergy-free recipes or additional information on food allergies.

Thanks to the publisher for sending a copy of this cookbook.
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Beth S. said...

That's great that the book has a section of traveling with allergies. My friend is deathly allergic to MSG, which is in stuff you don't even know it's in, so she is afraid to travel. It's always nice to have resources like that to help people out who are fearful to travel due to their life-threatening food allergies.

Sandy Nawrot said...

We really don't have an allergy issue in our house (except my daughter with MSG) but a good friend of mine has a grandbaby who is allergic to all nuts, dairy, shellfish, and probably more I'm not thinking of. I'm going to tell her about this one. She said that it is very easy to get stuck in a rut, because you are inclined to just find something safe and make it over and over.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I'm glad food allergies are getting so much attention now. And I see new gluten-free foods all the time, which is good news for people trying to avoid it.

Beth F said...

Thanks for pointing out that the recipes are (or can be) gluten free. I have a good friend who is always looking for gluten free ideas.

Beth(bookaholicmom) said...

I do not have food allergies but do know of people who have them. I will be sure to share this book with them. This book will be much appreciated by them. Thanks for sharing it!

bermudaonion said...

It sounds like shopping and cooking for someone with food allergies is quite challenging. I'm glad to see they're coming out with cookbooks to help these days.

Rebecca Rasmussen said...

My husband has food allergies as I think you know -- so this is great :)

Nan said...

Such a helpful posting for those who have allergies.

caite said...

I don't have any allergies, but I can see this would be critical for those who do!

Chrisbookarama said...

Sounds like a good one. My daughter has a peanut allergy which is pretty easy to work around in recipes.

Marg said...

We have a tree nut allergy in our house, which is not too bad to get around most of the time. I know it can be tricky though.