Book Review: Sophie-Safe CookingPosted: January 15, 2010
When my Certain Little Someone was first diagnosed with allergies, I immediately went to the library and scooped up every allergen-free cookbook available, took them home, and spent hours scouring them for tips and ideas. By and large, I was greatly disappointed. Even if the cookbook was advertised as “allergen-free”, only some of the recipes were actually free of all top 8 allergens. Most recipes would be free of wheat, but not eggs; or they would be free of nuts, but full of wheat, eggs and milk. I even ordered a cookbook from the FAAN, thinking surely it would have the recipes I needed. But, no, the majority of the recipes still had wheat flour.
To my knowledge, Sophie-Safe Cooking is the first cookbook I’ve come across where every recipe is indeed free of the top 8 allergens. It was self-published by the author, Emily Hendrix, and is now becoming widely available through Amazon.com, and is also sold in a few localized bookstores.
Sophie-Safe Cooking was written by a mom whose daughter was diagnosed with multiple allergies at 3 months of age. She and her family determined that their dinners would all be “Sophie-Safe” so she set out to find easy to make recipes the whole family would enjoy. This cookbook is the result of her efforts.
What I LIKED:
*The recipes are indeed simple, for the most part based on ingredients easily found in anyone’s pantry.
*The recipes are also for common foods that everyone enjoys. I have another allergen-free cookbook in my stack that is full of gourmet recipes with expensive, hard-to-find ingredients… and sound disgusting! Sophie-Safe Cooking recipes are approachable and sound delicious.
*Tips are scattered throughout the book with ideas for changing up the recipes, or altering them to fit your own dietary needs.
*The thing I love the most is that ALL of the top 8 allergens are consistently avoided in every single recipe. If you don’t have to avoid all 8, there are suggestions for accommodating your particular needs.
What I DISLIKE:
*There is a heavy dependency on oat flour; in fact, it is the only flour used in the cookbook, and there are no adjustments to allow for it. That would be great if it actually worked, but I admit I’m skeptical. Oat flour doesn’t contain the proteins found in wheat flour, so they must be replaced by something, either another protein-rich flour, or some other additive to the recipe.
*Especially in the main meals section, there are quite a few recipes which you could find in any basic cookbook that are allergen-free anyway. When I pick up an allergy-free cookbook, I want to find recipes that either show me how to make a typically allergen-laden food into allergen-free, or unique and little-known recipes that are allergy-free to begin with.
*Along the same lines, there are other recipes in the book that seemed like “fillers”, mostly because they’re so simple most people don’t even need a recipe for it. (Fruit salad?)
All in all, I highly recommend this book for anyone with multiple food allergies. The recipes are safe, simple and easy to follow. I look forward to trying out quite a few of the recipes I found in this book.