With more and more people these days choosing a vegan lifestyle, and still others identifying a gluten or lactose intolerance, does that mean bland, boring food forever? Hardly; there are some cookbooks out there with meals so tasty, you’d never know they’re healthy. (To purchase any of the featured books, click on the title in red).
No more reason for family get-togethers to be a cause of friction- at least where special diet is concerned. Nava Atlas has written VEGAN HOLIDAY KITCHEN especially for those vegans who want to make delightful meals for all occasions. Why not offer to make Thanksgiving dinner this year? Include “Coconut Butternut Squash Soup,” “Sweet Potato Biscuits,” “Hearty Vegetable Pot Pie,” and for dessert, “Pumpkin Cheesecake With A Hint Of Chocolate.” Spoil your guests, and spare a turkey. There are also wonderful suggestions for Easter, Passover, Christmas, and even Independence day. And the photos by Susan Voisin look good enough to eat.
LET THEM EAT VEGAN! proclaims Dreena Burton, author of the popular EAT, DRINK, & BE VEGAN. Burton promises “200 deliciously satisfying plant-strong recipes for the whole family,” and boy, she’s not kidding. Burton is crusading against the booming market in ready-made vegan food, which is now available with highly processed meat substitutes and veggie by-products. She finds this antithetical to the whole philosophy involved in becoming a vegan in the first place, a physical and spiritual need to feed our bodies good, wholesome food. She also offers great tips on cooking techniques and how to be flexible about using the ingredients at hand. In addition, there’s special guidance for allergy free cooking.
The issue of cooking for a gluten-free diet is addressed by Beth Hillson in GLUTEN-FREE MAKEOVERS. Hillson asserts that there’s no reason we have to use wheat to make delicious family favorites and gourmet goodies. Celiac disease and gluten intolerance can make life miserable without the necessary knowledge and proper resourcefulness. When Hillson herself was diagnosed more than thirty years ago, she had no place to turn. Her lifelong mission is to aid others in their quest for gluten-free food that’s both appetizing and fun to eat. Do “Blonde Brownies,” “Stir-Fried Chicken With Walnuts,” and “Corn Bread Stuffing” sound like healthy food? With Hillson’s ingenuity, the answer is a resounding “yes!”
Susan O’Brien takes on a double challenge in her GLUTEN-FREE VEGAN COMFORT FOOD manual. This West Coast cooking coach teaches us how to eat the homey food we love while sticking to a diet that might otherwise be considered restricted. O’Brien also provides advice on creating kid’s favorites, a guide to resources, and a section on what’s new since her last bestseller, THE GLUTEN-FREE VEGAN.
THE INTOLERANT GOURMET: GLORIOUS FOOD WITHOUT GLUTEN & LACTOSE is the latest from food expert Barbara Kafka, bestselling author and recipient of the James Beard Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award. Here, she takes on the challenge of cooking gourmet quality cuisine without flour or butter. Kafka advises those with gluten and/or lactose “afflictions” to think of them as blessings in disguise. She backs up her philosophy with advice on what to keep in the pantry, a how-to section on cooking for special needs, and some fantastic recipes. Also good to know is the fact that Kafka embraces, rather than deplores, a certain amount of “ding ding cooking,” also known as using the microwave.
The food in these cookbooks are good enough to eat whether or not you have any restrictions to your diet. But if you do have to be careful with what you eat, they’re a Godsend.
Michall Jeffers is an accomplished Cultural Journalist and an avowed bibliophile. She writes extensively about food and restaurants , both in print and online. Her eponymous cable TV show is syndicated throughout the tri-state area, and features celebrity interviews, reviews, and commentary. Michall is a voting member of National Book Critics Circle. www.michalljeffers.com