Reviewed by Michelle Jenkinson
Being a mother of children with cow’s milk intolerance I was intrigued to see what type of recipes there were in the book. My children have a limited diary intake so that I can manage their intolerance. Since cow’s milk is used in a vast majority of off the shelf products I cook without dairy replacing cow’s milk with soya and butter with diary free spread. I was interested to see if there would be any recipes that I could make for my children.
The book is written by Eva Detko, PhD whose extensive training includes a Master of Science degree in Human Nutrition. There is no doubt that the author is well versed in nutrition and what types of food we should and shouldn’t eat.
The book was not what I expected. I expected a recipe book with 110 simple recipes to follow and was surprised with the 50 pages that discussed what the problem is with wheat, gluten or dairy, allergy vs intolerance, good reasons to avoid wheat, gluten and dairy, a well-balanced diet if you avoid wheat, gluten and diary, maintaining stable blood sugar and rules of good health and successful weight management. There are also a few pages about the ingredients and the substitutes for dairy, eggs and sugar.
For me these 50 pages at the start of the book were very interesting and it has made me start to re-evaluate the foods that we are eating in my house. It was quite an eye opener about how many of the ‘symptoms’ listed in the section ‘So what is the problem with wheat, gluten and diary?’ I could tick off as experiencing myself and just accept as being normal.
Having young children you are always told how important diary is in their diet by health professionals and such but it is not diary that is required in our diets it is calcium. I did find the section ‘Good reasons to avoid dairy products’ particularly interesting as I have faced a lot of scepticism about keeping my children’s diary intake down and disbelief that they have an intolerance.
I did find that the recipes needed to be a little bit more detailed as I found them a little bit too brief and since I was not familiar with a lot of the ingredients I could have done with a little bit more detail e.g. the ‘Quick pizza’ the dough was very wet when I followed the recipe substituting the quinoa flour as the recipe suggested. The dough was so wet that it stuck to my hands so I had to add more flour. I could have done with a more detailed description about how sticky the dough should have been and if it was too sticky what to add to the mixture to get the dough to the right consistency. The second time I made the dough I reduced the amount of water added to the mixture.
As I haven’t used a lot of the ingredients before I was unsure about how the ingredients were supposed to act. The quality of your ingredients is very important as well and it would seem from the recipes that I have tested that I haven’t been successful in getting some of the best quality ingredients.
While I was able to source a vast number of the ingredients from my local supermarkets free from aisle I was unable to find a few of the more elusive ingredients.
Like all recipes sometimes they need adapting to suit your own individual tastes and to suit the quality of your ingredients. Sometimes it takes more than one attempt to get the recipe right.
Testing out some of these recipes has made me step out of my comfort zone. I am not one for experimenting with my flavours and foods I am a very picky eater. My partner has been quite pleasantly surprised at my willingness to try some of these recipes. I made the garden pea and cod soup for lunch one day and leak, spring onions, chives and garlic are not something that I would usually even. To get the soup more to my liking though I do need to reduce the amount of these ingredients in the recipe slightly. My partner was sceptical about the cod and boiled egg in the recipe though they did go well together.
I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to understand more about wheat, gluten and dairy-free cooking and to people who want to understand about being intolerant or allergic to wheat, gluten or diary.
For more information visit www.dr-eva.com.