I grew up in the world of United Methodist pot-lucks. Now, if you are unfamiliar with the United Methodist tradition let me explain one very important thing: You do not miss a pot luck. Seriously, you better be dead or in the hospital because if you aren’t there on Wednesday night, the little old ladies will be calling up patient rooms looking for you. While growing up I wasn’t too aware of food allergies or intolerances. You just didn’t see people at pot lucks who had allergies, except maybe that one kid who couldn’t eat peanuts. When I got older I realized why this was. When someone has a food allergy or intolerance, food-centered social events just aren’t so much fun, in fact, they can be downright stressful. That’s part of why I was so excited to review Against the Grain by Nancy Cain.
Against the Grain is a whole cookbook devoted to gluten-free cooking, with some recipes also being free of other common allergens such as dairy. I have a coworker who is gluten-free, another who’s wife generally avoids gluten, a friend with a wheat allergy, a little girl at our church who does not eat gluten or dairy (whey-free), and a friend who’s son has multiple food allergies. These were the people who inspired me to try my hand at gluten-free cooking.
My first thought about Against the Grain was that it didn’t use weird ingredients. There were no strange chemical additives or concoctions I had never heard of, just real whole food ingredients. I already loved it! In making some of the recipes in this book, I had to buy a few ingredients that weren’t on my usual shopping list, but nothing too out of the ordinary.
This was apparently part of Nancy’s intention with this cookbook. She not only provides yummy recipes, but tells you the story of her family’s journey in becoming gluten-free for the sake of her son’s health and how she navigated the then strange world of gluten-free eating. Her stories are heart-warming, funny, and down to earth. It was like talking with one of my mom friends and getting to take a recipe with me when I left.
The first recipe I tried out of Against the Grain was a chocolate cupcake. I wanted to make cupcakes for my Sunday School class and one of my kiddos was on a whey-free diet which meant no gluten and no dairy. Luckily, Nancy Cain had just the perfect recipe for the cupcake and the frosting! The cupcakes turned out super yummy, but even more importantly, the family of that little girl felt loved and included because I took the time to think about her and made sure she was included.
The recipes in this book are great and if you eat gluten-free it would be a no-brianer to pick up a copy, but even if your family eats gluten like it’s going of style, this book would be a great addition to your kitchen shelf so that you can feel confident in being able to include family, friends, and guests who do not eat gluten in your home and at your table.
I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.