Book Review: Cooking Allergy-Free by Jenna Short
Tackling the ‘big 8’ allergens: eggs, soy, nuts, gluten, dairy, shellfish, fish, and corn, Cooking Allergy-Free features 150 recipes for all courses, from starters to mains to desserts. These recipes are not your standard family fare but instead are healthy gourmet, including Pumpkin Pear Soup with Sunchokes and Herbs, Spicy Cauliflower Fritters, Orange Balsamic Chicken and Flourless Molten Chocolate Cookies. Each recipe is free of at least one of the 8 allergens (highlighted visually with icons), with substitutions included to make the recipe suitable for people with other food allergies. Recipes are tested by a qualified dietician to ensure their accuracy and nutritional data is included.
Rating: 4 of 5 stars
Firstly, a Thank You to the publishers Taunton Press for the ARC so that I was able to try out this book and review it for them.
I was not familiar with Jenna Short on picking this book up, but this is something you find not unfamiliar when venturing into the world of allergy and gluten free cooking books. Few of the larger named chefs and cooks have produced cookery books in this market leaving a nice gap for new names to emerge. What intreagued me about this book was it covers a multitude of sins, as someone who has a few allergies and intolerances it is very difficult finding books which cater to my needs and I find myself buying gluten free books then having to play with the recipes!
The first thing that struck me is that Jenna has spent significant time explaining about different allergies, and what replacements can be used. Something which is very useful, especially if you are newly diagnosed. I certainly could have found information like this useful.
One thing it is worth noting is that this book has been written with a U.S. Market in mind so some of the food names are a little different to our UK uses as are measurements, but this is very easily overcome either with conversion charts or some U.S. Measuring implements!
One of the best things about this book is the allergy chart which Jenna has devised this ensures that readers know which recipes are relevant to their needs at a glance, also the variations on recipes where Jenna felt that a recipe that had dairy could be made dairy free, or with wheat made wheat-free etc. very simple instructions to adjust the recipes accordingly.
The recipes themselves are very simple to follow, clearly laid out and accompanied by stunning visuals, the photography itself is appetising! It’s hardly a surprise I felt hungry every time I went to the book. My favourite recipes were:
– Quinoa and Herbed Fennel Salad (Pg 83)
– Greek Chicken Skewers (Pg 104)
– Sloppy Joe’s (Pg 120) – Americans you’ve been hiding something from us!!
– Roasted Butternut Squash (Pg 169)
Now, if you are looking for a purely gluten free or dairy free book this isn’t it. But if like me you have a variety of allergies, or maybe you have family or friends with allergies and entertain occasionally, this book is fantastic. I would prefer an allergy based book to have purely gluten free recipes throughout as I have found most people with allergies and intolerances with one food seem to also have wheat/gluten aswell (my studies are not scientific purely based on personal conversations). But there is plenty of variety in here and if you are not a gluten free household that variety will help you pick things that fit with what is in your store cupboard.
About Jenna Short:
Jenna Short, owner of Shortbreadnyc.com, formerly worked as a Graphic Designer and Sous Chef at Bon Appétit Magazine, studied Design at the Art Institute of Boston and Culinary Arts at Lorenzo de Medici in Florence. Shortbreadnyc.com – is a boutique events company that suits challenging palettes by focusing on gluten-free, vegan, dairy-free, Kosher, and sugar-free goods – rose out of Jenna’s love of baking and her own special dietary needs (she’s allergic to dairy). She has lived around the world including New York City, Italy, Sweden, England, Tel Aviv and several others, and continues to travel the world in search of the next great meal.