Friday, November 21, 2014

Gluten-Free (Compliments of Vanessa Weisbrod)

Being an author myself of my own ebook, I am intrigued when I get requests to view other people's cookbooks as well. Not only do I get another cookbook to add to my collection but I get to see what is inside of the minds of these great people that I come into contact with. It's one thing to talk about what you would like to do, what your life is like having a restricted diet but it's quite another task to put together a cookbook- especially a cookbook that has to be so precise due to food allergies.


I was approached to see if I would be interested in reviewing The Delight Gluten-Free Cookbook by Vanessa Weisbrod. For those of you who may not know, Vanessa is the Executive Editor of Delight Gluten Free magazine (awesome magazine, awesome peeps as I have met them). I'm not sure what everyone else usually tends to look for but I always go to the photos first. Not that this is necessarily the best way to see if it's a worthy cookbook but as I have learned, cooking gluten-free an be very challenging so if the pictures look enticing, I will be drawn in even more. (Pouting, wishing my photos were half as good right about now!)

The photos are all just simple, clean looking pictures- nothing ultra fancy but this is something that I feel everyday people who are looking for answers might respond to better. When I look at recipes with photos that display the ultimate dish that I cannot possibly live up to, I close the book and let it collect dust. As I say often, in every day life who has time to create an eighteen step meal? Not many so why would a complex photo make us want to be able to? I like the brightness of the pictures and the fact that I could even see these as foods that might have been from my own kitchen.
What I liked about the book-
  • Anatomy of a Recipe I am a person who likes to include details to make recipes easier as well as someone who like simplicity. I loved the "Anatomy of a Recipe" on page 17 because it spells everything out for you. This may seem a bit silly to some but sometimes, when you have a brain fog and just can't function on your usual level, something like this helps give you that extra "Ah ha!". 
  • Allergen Tag/Symbols These are helpful while you thumb through the cookbook and takes one less step while searching. Rather than having to go through the entire recipe, check and recheck ingredients, you can just check the allergen symbols to give you a heads-up.
  • Short Prep Time Most of the recipes within Vanessa's cookbook are 30 minutes or less. This goes back to my everyday comment of not having enough hours in the day to cook super genius meals. Yay for fast and easy!
  • Trusted Brands and Resources Vanessa lists many gluten free brands and I was thrilled that many of them are my family's favorites as well. I find these especially helpful for newcomers to the world of food allergies because it gives them a good place to start with items that they can feel comfortable trying out.
  • Cocktails Chapter Yes, she includes a chapter for cocktails! (Well, a girl likes to have options and enjoys a small night cap now and again) Also a handy reminder to many people when starting out gluten-free that gluten lurks everywhere, even in alcoholic beverages. Better to be safe than sorry.
  • Convenient Size The book has a lot of great information but it's not a large or heavy book. Sounds silly but do you know how many heavy cookbooks I have dropped on my toe?!
What I knit-picked about:
  1. SPAM Yes, like that gelatinous mystery meat in a can kind of Spam. Right there, on page 116. I am all for utilizing the foods that you can eat but that just crosses a line with me. Blah! Sorry Vanessa, my issue not yours.
  2. Dairy, Eggs, Butter Again, my issues and not the author's at all. I just noticed that a large majority of the recipes contain dairy, eggs and butter which may be a turnoff to some. I understand that it's a gluten-free focused cookbook but perhaps if there had been substitutes mentioned in the recipes containing these items to make it a bit easier for the person cooking them up (rather than flipping back and forth to the substitutions list on page 18).
The recipe that I tried:

After perusing the entire book, the recipe that caught my eye was on page 146 "Curry Coconut Mashed Cauliflower". Why this recipe? Because I am not a cauliflower lover, the combination of flavors seemed unique and it wasn't a recipe that I would assume would be in a typical cookbook (such as your average muffins, soups, etc). So I gave it a whirl. And to my surprise, I really enjoyed it. It was super easy to make and there were leftovers for lunch and sides. There was no usual cauliflower taste and it was almost like a garlicky, creamy slightly spicy version of mashed potatoes. Mine didn't seem as orange as the picture in Vanessa's cookbook but it was still quite tasty.

My overall thoughts:

I would recommend this cookbook to anyone who has to use a gluten-free diet, whether it be for beginners or for those that are just looking for another good cookbook resource. For more information or to order the cookbook, please visit http://www.amazon.com/The-Delight-Gluten-Free-Cookbook-Delicious/dp/0373893051.

<3 A heartfelt thank you to Vanessa for thinking of me for my thoughts on her cookbook. I know she will do well with this and will continue to rock the gluten-free world with additional recipes in the future.





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