Working, as I do, in a health-oriented organic market, I encounter people with food allergies and gluten sensitivities on a daily basis. Further, I’m allergic to wheat and the majority of my family is gluten-sensitive. As a result, I’m very aware of the challenges faced by all of us who want to eat with friends and go to restaurants in a culture where wheat or gluten is in most processed foods and ubiquitous on menus.
Fortunately the tide is turning in our direction as public awareness is growing and food businesses are stepping up to the plate to provide us with choices unheard of even five years ago. And along with more gluten-free food options in the marketplace, we are seeing a surge of cookbooks written for those of us on restricted diets. Carol Fenster is one such author.
Carol understands the problems of allergies and sensitivities on a personal level. She came from- and married into- wheat farmers. She, however, cannot tolerate gluten and has lived a gluten-free lifestyle for several decades, though she assures us it wasn’t an easy transition. She founded Savory Palate, Inc. a resource for people with food allergies, celiac disease, autism and other medical conditions that require a special diet. She has written ten gluten-free cookbooks, including Gluten-Free Quick and Easy, for all of us who need help creating delicious food that works around the restrictions we face.
Carol’s most recent book is 125 Gluten Free Vegetarian Recipes: Quick and Delicious Mouthwatering Dishes for the Healthy Cook (Avery; 2011). A very comprehensive book, Carol provides us with a complete breakdown of flours, milks, sweeteners, oils, fats and more so that readers can create a practical pantry that works for whatever allergies or sensitivities need to be addressed. This is a boon for those of us who have multiple food issues. She also provides her basic flour blend for daily use and has an entire chapter devoted to yeast breads. For those of us with gluten intolerance, bread is one of our biggest frustrations as it’s almost impossible to make the delicious European and American style breads we are accustomed to without using gluten.
I’ve chosen three recipes from Carol’s book that fit my focus on foods from the tropics, which I think you will find delicious and simple to prepare. If you or someone you know is on a restricted diet, I highly recommend this book.
Peperonata on Soft Polenta