Several weeks ago, I received a beautiful cookbook in the mail. I didn’t know that the book was on the way so it was a nice surprise. As the title indicates “The Whole Foods Kosher Kitchen Glorious Meals Pure and Simple” is full of kosher recipes. Most of the recipes are marked with P for Passover, GF for gluten-free or GFA for gluten-free adaptable.
There are recipes in every category you can think of including, soups, salads, fish, poultry, meat, vegetables, grains and pastas, breakfast and brunch dishes and desserts. There is also a section of bread and flat bread recipes, but very few of the items in that category are gluten-free or even gluten-free adaptable. Some of the bread recipes noted to be GFA might work fine or they might not. Unless one is an excellent gluten-free bread baker, it would be hard to find out which it is.
The GFA options call for gluten-free flour and xanthan gum, without any indication of which brand of flour to use – or a recipe for a flour blend. At the beginning of the bread section there is a description of several whole grain flours – some gluten-free and some not. However, those of use who’ve dabbled in gluten-free baking know we can’t just pour out a cup of rice flour or buckwheat flour or quinoa to substitute for gluten all-purpose baking flour.
That is not the only reason that I don’t think this book is suitable to “newbies” on the gluten-free diet. There are just too many things that a newbie would not know for it to be safe for them to dive into the recipes with abandon. It’s mostly little things like the fact that oats are explained regarding their gluten-free status, but recipes that call for oats don’t necessarily state to use gluten-free oats. Some list steel cut oats in the ingredients which are hard to find in a gluten-free form. Buckwheat is gluten-free, but it’s often blended with semolina wheat flour, but in the bread section at least, that isn’t explained.
For anyone who is 100% confident that they understand what ingredients need to be questioned or substituted, this book could be a great resource. Most every recipe seems to be fairly easy to convert to be gluten-free (if need be) except for the bread recipes as it noted above. Even I would be concerned about wasting some of my pricey gluten-free flour blends by guessing which ones would work best in the various recipes offered. Thankfully, only about a dozen of the recipes are in the bread section anyway.
There is a full paragraph that explains what gluten-free means and most of the details seem accurate which is good. Various types of food items that should be questioned because they might cause hidden gluten are mentioned. The reason that a newbie would be confused in reading this information is that there is no mention that there are in fact, gluten-free versions of things like soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, teriyaki sauce and BBQ sauce. However, it was a little perplexing to things like powdered sugar, peanut butter and non-dairy creamer also listed. It would be very difficult to find any of those things with gluten in them. At least it would be in the U.S. And the myth about some alcohols (like vodka ad bourbon) containing gluten is alive and well in this section as well. Oh well, we all know by now how hard it is to kill a gluten-free myth.
In the introduction, the author Lisa R. Young, PhD, RD, explains many things that most of us know, but can always be reminded of. These are tips about how to generally eat healthy to get and stay healthy. She explains that many food companies pounce on the diet de jour and hope consumers will only read the “low carb” or “gluten-free” part of the label without reading the fine print. Everyone would benefit from reading the labels of all foods they purchase whether they can eat gluten or not, of course. It’s especially refreshing to see that the author thinks everyone should be avoiding MSG.
*The book reviewed here was sent to me by Skyhorse Publishing. As always, my opinions are my own and have not been influenced by any outside sources.