Often people are surprised when I tell them that my greatest support network was on Twitter for a very long period of time. (Then life got crazy and I got out of the twitter habit. My friends and support network are still there, I just don't check in as often. I miss that.) Many food allergy people and parents are on twitter, and are happy to share ideas and advice for those daily allergy dilemmas. Love it.
It was there that I first met Colette Martin (@colettefmartin). Later I had the pleasure of meeting her in person at allergy conferences. She is just as wonderful in person as she is online! Colette is a fellow allergy mom, and has released a cookbook based on her home cooking. She also is blogging about cooking allergy free. I feel very honored that she sent me a preview to check out! Today's breakfast came from that book.
Let me tell you a bit about the book. It is the book I wish I had four years ago when I began my adventures into gluten free baking. In fact, much of it would have been helpful 9 years ago when I was beginning my life as an allergy free household without dairy and eggs. Why? Because this book has so much more than recipes.
It is not an exaggeration to say that when this cookbook arrived in the mail, I sat down and read the first half like most people would read a novel. Not a single recipe comes up in the first half of the book! It is a tutorial in replacing wheat, eggs, and dairy in your baking. Colette includes wisdom gained through experience on what substitutes can be used in your recipe, how to determine which is best suited to your recipe, and even occasional product suggestions. I adore the fact that not only does it sound much like she is standing in the room talking to you, it is such down to earth advice. No complex recipes that take hours to prepare. No fussy recipes that require intimidating precision. This is all stuff that every mama can do, and presented with simple explanations that help you understand WHY you are doing it in such a way. If you don't try a single recipe in the book, the tutorial at the beginning is valuable enough to justify the purchase.
Each recipe is followed by tips and bits of wisdom specific to that recipe, and often by a "crash course", or brief tutorial on a baking principle that relates to the recipe. For example after a recipe that called for creaming together the sugar and shortening, a page on the role of creaming in a recipe was included. So great.
I could go on and on. There are, of course, several things that I do differently than Colette. Every baker has her own style. They are relatively minor differences. Given that, I would still have purchased this book. Coming from me, that is huge. I don't often endorse a cookbook because I have SO many restrictions that no cookbook has enough recipes I can use to justify the purchase. I live in the world of food bloggers, where I can pick and chose recipes as I need, and adapt them when necessary. Colette has written a cookbook that is wheat-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, egg-free, and nut-free. And? Rice-free if you use the right baking mix. The changes I need to make are minor. The advise and suggestions are priceless.
In a world where multiple allergies are becoming more common, this cookbook is a gem.