Thursday, January 27, 2011

Cookbook Review: Allergy Free Cookbook for the Family

Allergy Free Cookbook for the Family by Brianna Monson is a charming little book that delivers what it advertises: family-friendly food that is free of allergens. The recipes in this book are simple, quick and budget-conscious. They are foods that are likely to appeal to children. The author is a mother of a child with life-threatening food allergies, and her personal experience with this challenge is apparent throughout the book. Each recipe has a little note about it being her childhood favourite to bake with her grandmother, a dish she serves to her inlaws, or a weekly meal at her house. I like this little personal touch that lets you know these are enjoyed so much by her family.

Some of the recipes that most interested me included:
  • Breakfast burritos
  • Country hash browns
  • Sugar cookies
  • Pie crust
  • Apple crisp
  • Graham crackers
  • Raspberry pie
  • Meatballs
  • White sauce
  • Honey ham
  • Croutons
  • Ham and bean soup
  • Kale soup
The ingredients are not whole-foods conscious, which is the usual fare at our house. There is plenty of refined sugar, corn starch and corn syrup throughout the book. I simply made the recipes with replacements such as natural cane sugar or agave, tapioca or arrowroot flour, and rice syrup. For most people just venturing into the world of allergies, the ingredients in the book are likely familiar to them and easily obtainable. I also found that the baking recipes call for way more sugar than we usually use. For instance, the banana bread and muffins call for 3/4 cup of sugar, where my recipe (using the same amount of flour) calls for 1/8 cup. But in spite of this, I still like this book and have enjoyed several recipes from it, applying changes as needed for our lifestyle.

I had success with each recipe that I tried, but the one that was the biggest success was the sugar cookie recipe. They were delicious and tasted like a wheat and butter filled cookie. They flew off the cookie sheet as everyone wanted seconds (and thirds...). I followed the recipe faithfully, including all that sugar. They were wonderful for a special occasion treat, not something that we could eat every day.

This book uses rice flour, potato flour and tapioca starch for most recipes that include starch, with the occasional recipe requesting oat flour or cornstarch. Ener-G egg replacer is recommended as a substitute for eggs. Dairy-free margarine is used frequently, and sometimes shortening is used as well. A few of the recipes call for oats, oat flour, and soy-based cream cheese; we do not use these due to an allergy, so I avoided those recipes. The book advertises that "most" recipes are free of milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, fish and shellfish. As far as I can tell, the recipes are all free of those ingredients, with the recipes containing oats specifically listed as not being gluten-free unless gluten-free oats are used. Some recipes do contain soy and corn.

I like this book and would recommend it to families that are dealing with food allergies. I appreciate that the recipes I tried all worked successfully and were easy to make.

Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this book from the publisher. As always, this review is my own opinion of the book and is not influenced by anyone except my family of taste-testers. :)

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this review. I hadn't heard of the book, and it looks like it would be great for us. I've starred your review to treat myself the next time I feel like I need to give our diets some new life. My splurge this week was a Zojirushi breadmaker - can't wait to play with it!