Cookbook Review: Allergy Proof Recipes for KidsPosted: May 24, 2010
Wow, what food-allergy family wouldn’t want a cookbook that promises all this: over 150 kid-friendly recipes free of all top 8 allergens, and low sugar to boot? As soon as I saw that description, I knew I had to get my hands on this cookbook.
I’m so glad I did! The author, Leslie Hammond, states that she had three main goals when putting together this cookbook: simplicity, convenience and quality, and for the most part the book lives up to this standard. She surveyed students in nearby schools to find out what their favorite foods were and then proceeded to create easy, homemade versions that were allergen-free. As a result, the cookbook is full of the types of foods kids love (chicken nuggets, pizza bites, pizza pockets, mac’n'”cheese”, etc.) but free of allergens, and most importantly, MUCH healthier than the typical store-bought versions.
I think the majority of food-allergy households will find this cookbook to be a valuable resource, and even though I’ve only tried one recipe so far (the “buttermilk” pancakes – fabulous!), I’m sure I’m going to be using it often, especially as my Certain Little Someone gets older.
One thing I found interesting is that nothing in this cookbook gave me a negative impression; however, there are a few things about it that can be good or bad depending on your perspective. Like a coin with two sides, each of this issues has a potential good and a potential bad.
1. Rice Flour/Tapioca or Corn Starch is the main flour of choice in all the recipes.
Good: That’s good because they are easy to find and relatively inexpensive. It’s also good because it makes each recipe a breeze – no need to pull out an entire catalog of grains to make your pancakes or muffins.
Bad: That’s bad because those are some of the more nutritionally deficient flours available. It’s also bad because I truly believe food-allergic children (and non-food-allergic children for that matter) need varied diets with different grains and food sources. I do not think it’s healthy for a food-allergic child to drink rice milk, eat baked goods made with rice flour, have rice with his dinner and eat rice crackers for snack. For one thing, there’s a possibility that could lead to an additional food allergy (rice) due to the overexposure in an already sensitive body. For another, rice, especially white rice, is seriously lacking in a lot of nutrients.
The easiest solution to this problem would be to use an all-purpose wheat-free flour blend in place of the rice flour/tapioca starch used in these recipes if desired.
2. A Lot of Beans are featured in the recipes, including the Mock Mayonnaise
Good: This is good because beans are a great source of protein, something that can be difficult to get enough of in your diet if you have multiple allergies. They are also rarely allergenic. This is also good because beans are cheap.
Bad: It’s bad because not all kids like beans. My Certain Little Someone happens to love them, but not all kids are like that. They can definitely be an acquired taste. The other bad thing is that all the recipes call for canned beans, which is certainly easier, but I prefer to used soaked dried beans, which are better for you and lower in sodium.
There is plenty about this cookbook, though, that is unequivocally good with no argument: the inclusion of lots and lots of fruits and veggies, mostly low-sugar recipes (with options for sugar alternatives, such as honey, maple syrup and the like), and kid-friendly foods that are healthy as well. The only minor drawback, for me, is the use of a few ingredients that I don’t usually have in my cupboard (rice vinegar, rice syrup, among others), but I think for the most part they could be easily procured or substituted.
All in all, I highly recommend this cookbook!