Tuesday, July 20, 2010

When Casey was first diagnosed with food allergies, I was so overwhelmed.  I felt a little better about life when I came across a copy of Cybele Pascal's Whole Foods Allergy Cookbook at my local Whole Foods Market.  Even though the book wasn't a great fit for my vegetarian family (there's a good amount of meat-centered recipes), it made me feel so much better to know that there were other families out there living with similar challenges.  It also provided some confidence that I could mount the learning curve required to change my family's diet.

Wow, how times have changed!  Seven years later there are so many more resources available to folks living with restricted diets.  There are great websites and blogs, cookbooks and products.  It makes this challenging journey a little easier, not to mention a little sweeter, to negotiate.

When someone from St. Martin's Press asked if I would review the new food-allergy cookbook, The Divvies Bakery Cookbook, I was a little torn.  Megan and I believe that it is important that every recipe and every product review featured here on our Welcoming Kitchen site follow our inclusive model.  Everything should be free of the top 8 allergens, gluten-free and vegan.  We want to create a safe place for most everyone.  Lori Sandler, the founder and owner of the food-allergy products company, Divvies, has written a cookbook that features baked goods and treats that are free of nuts, eggs and dairy.  These recipes are not, however, gluten-free or vegan, so they might not work well for some of our readers.

I decided to go ahead and tell you about this book, however, because, I want to be supportive of another food-allergy mom and her efforts to make the world a safer place for kids with allergies, and to provide information on a resource that might be helpful to some of our readers.

We won't review any products that don't meet our model, but I think making an exception for a book makes some sense, since even though there are more resources out there, there still aren't enough. I hope that's ok with you.

The Divvies Bakery Cookbook is a good-looking, hard-cover baking cookbook that features cookies, cakes, brownies and other treats that are all free of nuts, dairy and eggs.  For the most part, the recipes are not-too-complicated and sound yummy.  We tried out the scones (contained wheat and soy according to the recipe), and they were tasty.  There are also some tips for dealing with school and social situations.

As an allergy-mom, I'm grateful that there are so many wonderful people out there coming up with ways to get more kids included.  This book will not meet everyone's needs, but it could sweeten the day for some families.

I'm working on a new recipe post that should be ready in a day or two -- pesto pasta with brussels sprouts!

Happy Cooking!
Kim and Megan

p.s. If you live in the Chicago area, I'm doing a cooking demonstration at the River Forest Whole Foods on Saturday, July 24.  We're going to make a couple of great recipes from our upcoming Welcoming Kitchen book, Jerk Portabello Mushrooms and sundaes made with coconut ice cream and Blueberry Syrup.  We also will make the Cucumber Chickpea Salad from this blog.  For more information, or to register for the class check out the Whole Foods website and click on the Special Diets Fair info on the right side.



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