Wednesday, January 9, 2008

On cookbooks and books...

I get frustrated with a lot of the 'gluten-free' or 'wheat-free' or 'you can't eat anything, or so you think' cookbooks. They either give you specific recipes, without giving you ideas on how to tweak things, or they use spelt or kamut. And they all have their own specific blends. Because I don't have enough bags in the cupboard, I need to make up batches of YOUR specific mix in order to try one recipe. Note to all cookbook authors: spelt and kamut are wheat. They are ancient forms, but they are wheat.

There are also a lot of recipes for things that have NEVER contained wheat. I can get recipes for Cuban Black Bean Soup or Shrimp Risotto from any cookbook. What I can't get are recipes for fried chicken or hushpuppies, or rolls. For scones, soda bread, or angel food cake.

I've gotten some good tips from some, but in general, the majority are frustrating, and I end up creating my own recipes, using specific flours for tastes/complementary flavors/behavior.

There are two books I would highly reccomend, though neither is a cookbook per se.


My only issue with the Gluten-free Bible is how she deals with communion. And I hated the Hol-Grain crackers which she likes (maybe I got a bad batch?).

Some of my favorite go-to cookbooks are actually mainstream. The Joy of Cooking is one, I got some good info from an early edition on different types of flours. I have a couple of Asian cookbooks (bean flours, rice flours) and Indian cookbooks. I have a vegetarian cookbook by Madhur Jaffrey that is fabulous.

While its not a cookbook or a book, I also picked up a copy of Gluten-free living at the grocery store. I wasn't that impressed. It seemed like it was a one-woman production. I've learned a lot more from Living Without. There I learned that you only need to let gluten-free bread rise once.

So, for me, while I do check out gluten-free cookbooks from the library, I don't tend to buy them. I tend to go to the mainstream stuff. Because in trying recipes, I read what the recipe is supposed to look like/feel like. And that is how I can judge if the gluten-free version is right.

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