"Being an author is like being in charge of your own personal insane asylum." Graycie Harmon
Friday, March 11, 2011
Review of Gluten-Free Cooking Made Easy by Susan Bell, ENTER TO WIN THIS COOKBOOK
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I'm so proud to introduce to you a new cookbook by my sister-in-law, Susan Bell. After discovering that she, and several members of her family, had celiac disease, Susan spent years finding ways to feed her family yummy meals that were gluten-free. This wasn't an easy task, but she didn't give up. The result is this yummy cookbook, one that all families will enjoy not just families with members who have celiac-disease.
I've had fun experimenting with her recipes and have been fascinated by her creative use of ingredients to create dishes that are similar to those containing gluten. As with any recipe, most chefs will add their own personal touch to fit their family's taste and liking. With this recipe book, people who are unable to eat gluten will praise the delicious dishes and large variety of recipes this book contains.
From the back of the book:
Susan Bell has taken many of the bet comfort foods and made them gluten free. She has also filled this book with tips and advice on cooking and eating gluten free. If you feel deprived of your favorite comfort meal, just open the pages of this book and get started on gluten-free cooking. --Amy Yoder Begley, celiac Olympian
People with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity need to own a copy of this book. It is a great resource presented in a beautiful way. The recipes add diversity and nutrition to a diet that frequently lacks these important components.
Think you'll never be able to eat your favorite foods again? Afraid you'll never again taste a delicious muffin or slice of bread? Gluten-Free Cooking Made Easy: Delicious Recipes for Everyone is the solution you've been looking for. Peter HR Green, M.D., author of Celiac Disease: A Hidden Epidemic
No more preparing two separate meals at dinnertime - one for family members with celiac disease and one for those without it. With Susan Bell's kitchen-tested recipes, you can serve meals your entire family will love. In this book, you'll find delicious breakfasts, breads and muffins, main dishes, soups and salads, side dishes, desserts, drinks, and even home-canning recipes. This informative cookbook also features:
* Gluten-free kitchen basics * Tips for eating out * Shopping lessons and warnings * Main-dish meal planning
With Gluten-Free Cooking Made Easy: Delicious Recipes for Everyone, you can eat your favorite foods again!
I had a chance to interview Susan and find out how she has learned to cope with celiac disease and all the work she does to help others suffering with it.
MB: Why did you decide to write a "gluten-free" cookbook?
SLB: I have a desire to help others who have celiac disease to find something delicious to eat. I remember the day after I was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2003. I was crying and felt hopeless because I didn't know what to eat except tortilla chips! Once I got over the process of mourning over the foods I couldn't eat, I got busy and started the process of converting my favorite recipes over to gluten-free recipes. I feel my cookbook is full of recipes that everyone can enjoy, whether or not they are on a gluten-free diet.
MB: What is it like to have celiac disease?
SLB: Before I knew I had celiac disease and went on a gluten-free diet, I had a lot of stomach aches and other digestive symptoms. Now that my intestines are healthier, I feel much better! If I accidentally ingest gluten, I have stomach and intestinal pain that is quite severe. It is worth it to me to be very careful about what I eat. In addition, I know I have a better chance at avoiding auto-immune diseases, such as cancer and diabetes, if I am eating a gluten-free diet.
MB: It seems like there is an increase in the amount of people being diagnosed with the disease. Why do you think that is?
SLB: Gratefully, many more doctors are aware of the symptoms of celiac disease, and are realizing that irritable bowel syndrome, etc., may not be the proper diagnosis. In addition, the general public is learning more about celiac disease through the media and they are asking their doctor about how to be tested. The average number of years for proper diagnosis of celiac disease is about 10, so it will be great to see this decrease.
MB: Is celiac disease genetic?
SLB: Yes. My mother was diagnosed in 1996. Our family had no idea we should be tested until about 7 years later when my sister researched on the internet and found out celiac disease is genetic.
MB: What happens after a person finds out they have the disease?
SLB: The process of reading food labels begins. :) People with celiac disease cannot eat wheat, barley, rye, and oats (unless the oats are raised separately from wheat and processed in a factory separate from wheat). When I was diagnosed, I was shocked about the number of food items in my pantry and in my fridge that had wheat in them. I found it hard to believe that artificial crab, soy sauce, and even lipstick can contain wheat!
MB: What kind of support is out there to help with the transition?
SLB: Many communities have support groups for people with celiac disease. My sister and I started a local support group. It has been helpful to realize that we are not alone in our trial, and we learn a lot from the others in the group.
MB: How did you decide which recipes to use?
SLB: My family was extremely helpful and they evaluated any new recipes I invented or adapted. I feel my cookbook is "kid-friendly." I also tried to include a variety of bread and muffin recipes, because our children can't buy a gluten-free hot lunch at school in our area, and I wanted them to have something tasty to take in their sack lunch.
MB: What are your challenges with converting recipes?
SLB: The texture and consistency of bread dough is much different when using gluten-free flours. It is a challenge to get the blend of flours just right, with the right amount of xanthan gum to hold them together. I had to adjust my thinking to realize that gluten-free bread is different than bread with gluten, and I wouldn't be able to knead the dough--but instead I learned to "scoop" the dough into the bread pan. I also struggled with the starchy taste of gluten-free pancake batter, and I made about five experimental batches of batter before I got the flavor just right. My family loves the pancake and waffle recipe from my cookbook, and even when I serve them to guests who are on a regular diet, they are delighted.
MB: Who is your target audience? Is it just for people who suffer from celiac disease?
SLB: My hope is that anyone who loves great recipes will buy the cookbook, not just those who have been diagnosed with celiac disease. It is filled with delicious main dish and salad recipes, so the part of the cookbook title "Delicious Recipes for Everyone" is a real thing. The cookbook will also be handy for those who have an occasional visitor to their home who has celiac disease or a wheat allergy, or for those who need to provide a dessert for a church activity where someone attending is on a gluten-free diet. It is a great gift idea for someone who has just been diagnosed with celiac disease, when they are particularly discouraged and need to know there are many foods they can eat.
MB: What do you miss being able to eat?
SLB: I miss stuffed crust pizza from Pizza Hut! However, nearly every other food I miss can be replaced with a gluten-free food. I am grateful for the progress the gluten-free food industry has made. There are many great products out there.
MB: What have you learned to like or what food have you discovered since being diagnosed with celiac disease?
SLB: I love the brand Tinkyada. They make gluten-free pasta and it is very good. I also love gluten-free donuts made by Kinnikinnick.
MB: What advice do you have for people who have celiac disease?
SLB: I would advise them to love life and live life to the fullest! A gluten-free diet is difficult, but it can be done!
MB: Is there a cure in sight?
SLB: Not yet, though researchers are hard at work. At least our treatment is to eat a gluten-free diet, instead of surgery or medication.
MB: What do you do when you go out to eat?
SLB: My experience has been that restaurant employees are very helpful and understanding. They have even been willing to bring out a food package or container with a label for me to read, to make sure there is no gluten in it. Many restaurants now offer a gluten-free menu, which is awesome!
MB: What do you do at family gatherings?
SLB: I try to find out what the menu plan is and bring something gluten-free that matches it as closely as possible. You, and all of our extended family, have been willing to help in any way you can when we have a family dinner or event. For example, you e-mailed me and let me know the ingredients of the salad you were making, and served the croutons to the side. All of those little things mean so much.
MB: You seem to sense the importance of educating people about this disease.
SLB: I truly do feel a strong desire to help. I hope the first section of my cookbook, entitled, "Lessons and Warnings," will prevent someone getting sick from eating something they didn't realize would contain gluten. I appreciate your willingness, Michele, to educate others about celiac disease through this interview. There are many who still haven't heard of celiac disease and may ask their doctor if this could be the source of their problems.
MB: What are some of the most common symptoms of celiac disease?
SLB: I had a lot of abdominal pain and bloating. Some people have diarrhea. Mayoclinic.com adds the following:
Sometimes people with celiac disease may have no gastrointestinal symptoms at all. Celiac disease symptoms can also mimic those of other conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome, gastric ulcers, Crohn's disease, parasite infections and anemia. Celiac disease may also present itself in less obvious ways, including: Irritability or depression Anemia Stomach upset Joint pain Muscle cramps Skin rash Mouth sores Dental and bone disorders (such as osteoporosis) Tingling in the legs and feet (neuropathy) Some indications of malabsorption of nutrients that may result from celiac disease include:
Weight loss Diarrhea Abdominal cramps, gas and bloating General weakness and fatigue Foul-smelling or grayish stools that may be fatty or oily Stunted growth (in children) Osteoporosis Dermatitis herpetiformis is an itchy, blistering skin disease that also stems from gluten intolerance.
SLB: We were tested by a lab in Texas (see www.enterolab.com) and through a blood test our doctor authorized. Many people are tested by an upper gastrointestinal scope, to find out if the villi are flattened in the small intestine. Initially, we went off of all dairy products, along with gluten. This was extremely difficult, and gratefully after two years we were able to re-introduce dairy products. It took a while to start feeling better, but it is huge blessing in our lives to have better health now.
MB: Where can I get a cookbook?
SLB: They can be ordered on amazon.com (see http://www.amazon.com/Gluten-Free-Cooking-Made-Easy-Delicious/dp/1935217860/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1299105893&sr=1-1), deseretbook.com,latterdaylightbooks.com, and barnesandnoble.com. It is also available at Deseret Book. Almost any bookstore or health food store will be able to order it for you, even if the store doesn’t have a copy.
Here is the information you will need to give the manager if you want your store to sell the cookbook: Gluten-Free Cooking Made Easy is published by Walnut Springs Press, an imprint of Leatherwood Press, and is distributed by Brigham Distributing (brighamdistributing.com). For more information or to place an order, please contact Barry Reeder at (435) 723-6611 or firstname.lastname@example.org. MB: Do you give presentations or demos?
SLB: Yes, I enjoy speaking to support groups and bringing samples to share.
My greatest claim to fame is my family. I am married to my prince charming and have four awesome children. This year I experienced the joy of becoming a grandmother to my sweet baby girl Halle. I love to travel and I love to write books.