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Monday, February 25, 2013

Book Review: The Complete Gluten-Free Whole-Grains Cookbook

Gluten-free eating has become something of a trend, but there are certainly those for whom it's necessary. I'm glad I'm not one of them, but sufferers of celiac disease would do themselves a favor by picking up a copy of The Complete Gluten-Free Whole Grains Cookbook: 125 Delicious Recipes from Amaranth to Quinoa to Wild Rice, by Judith Finlayson. This 224-page book opens with a primer on what gluten is, why it matters (to some people), and the various alternative grains that are out there.
The bulk of the book consists of recipes, arranged according to to the type of dish in question, from breads and brakfast foods to main dishes, soups, sides and desserts. An appendix of diabetes food values and a thorough index round out the volume.
The recipes are well thought out, from basics like fritters and arroz con pollo to quinoa-based stews and jambalaya made with Job's tears, a grain you're sure to be seeing more of soon. Although Finlayson explains why she chose particular grains for the individual recipes, it seems to me that other grains could be substituted in many of them with equally successful results.
To her credit, Finlayson doesn't devote much space to recipes that try to imitate wheat; there is one recipe for gluten-free pizza crust, but for the most part, the recipes put the grains called for to best use, by taking advantage of their unique flavors and textures rather than trying to come up with a wheat substitute. The book is also well illustrated with full-page color photos, and helpful tips and nutritional info accompany each recipe.
I know a family friend with celiac disease, and I'll be passing along my copy of this book to her. If you or anyone you know suffers from this condition, this is a great, information-packed volume with plenty of ideas for gluten-free, flavorful dishes.
The Complete Gluten-Free Whole Grains Cookbook: 125 Delicious Recipes from Amaranth to Quinoa to Wild Rice [Paperback] by Judith Finlayson. Pub. by Robert Rose (January 17, 2013)

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