September 13, 2010

Allergy Proof Recipes for Kids - Cookbook

The picture on the left is my rendition of the 'Millet Molasses Muffins' recipe found in the Allergy Proof Recipes for Kids cookbook. I have found them to be tasty enough to share as well as have for breakfast everyday this week!
The search for good allergy free recipes is a tough one. You might find a few that meet one or maybe two of your food allergy requirements but if you're like me and have multiple allergies and/or intolerances then the search can begin to feel next to impossible... I frequently go through books and sites getting depressed with an egg here, creme fraiche there, or onions onions onions in what seems like every savoury recipe in the world! Sometimes I even allow myself to fantasize about only being allergic to something like gluten and how 'easy' life would be then! ... HA!
Fact is that once you have food allergies and/or intolerances life is no longer 'easy' in the traditional sense. However, it can be made easier than a lot of people are aware and a big part of my job is to pave that path ... but fact is is that the majority of recipes won't automatically suit your needs and you have to learn to put on your substitute glasses and become a keen searcher.
The unfortunate thing, for me at least, is that dedicated cookbooks to i.e: wheat free recipes seem to weigh heavily on other common allergens like milk and eggs in order to get the best taste. I don't blame them of course but it can make substituting difficult when the emphasis is on the substituted ingredient! These books serve well for education around the best product substitutes and quantities but they're not really suitable company for direct reference. In my opinion, the best book for people with multiple food allergies, is obviously those which cater to multiple food allergies.
Recently I fell upon a wonderful, and relatively new, book in our local library which specializes in recipes for children without a wide range of food allergens: Allergy Proof Recipes for Kids by Leslie Hammond and Lynne Marie Rominger. The great thing about a book designed around cooking for kids is that a lot of healthy and 'treat-type' foods will be covered in the aim of providing a healthy diet while not denying the child - a perfect balance for adults too, me thinks! Allergy Proof Recipes for Kids is a wonderful little find because all the recipes inside are:

- wheat free
- gluten free
- dairy free
- peanut free
- free from tree nuts
- egg free
- soy free
- fish free
- shellfish free

and many more are vegetarian and vegan too. There are a couple of curious or awkward things about the recipes,as always. The book is advertised as 'Low in Sugar' which I sincerely doubt. You could easily halve the sugar content in most of the recipes (esp. in the 'Chewy Granola Bars', 'Vanilla White Cake' and the 'Awesome Fluffy Lemon Blueberry Muffins' which are truly awesome but more suitable for a dessert if sugar levels are being retained). Outside of the sugar curiosity the primary awkwardness is that the book is American and things like arrowroot starch or soya free chocolate chips are not as readily available in Ireland, or at least not at overly affordable prices and sadly, the ice cream or yoghurt dishes are a bit out of reach as well because to date I have not been able to source Rice Dream ice cream in our emerald isle. I remember from my Canadian upbringing that Rice Dream ice cream is quite a tasty substitute. It's not as creamy as its soya cousins but its SO much more refreshing and obviously its soya free!
Outside of these minor quibbles Allergy Proof Recipes for Kids is a great find and an ideal option for purchase if you are in the market for a new cookbook. With a few alterations, if sugar is a concern for you, the sweets in this book are spot on and regarding savoury there are many options and ideas. I particularly like the 'Mixed Veggie Hash' with leeks instead of onions (only because I have to), and for the mix I chose butternut squash, zucchini and sweet potato to hit that hankering spot - although I do put in a bit more oil than is required, or indeed recommended, but that is only because I'm bold when it comes to fat content...
Something that i didn't say earlier that also deserves an honourable mention is that in the margins of Allergy Proof Recipes for Kids is a fountain of information about hidden allergens like corn in icing sugar, or great substitution ideas like flax instead of eggs! As I said, I loaned the book from my local public library with the intention of copying out one or two recipes but I have found that I will have to purchase my own copy because there are just too many recipes that I want and so much reference ideas and information that I would like on hand as a food-allergy home-cook.
Allergy Proof Recipes for Kids: More Than 150 Recipes That are All Wheat-Free, Gluten-Free, Nut-Free, Egg-Free and Low in Sugar


* said...

I find American recipes almost always way too sweet!!

Aurea@Survival Guide said...

its funny how tastes and 'norms' differ from continent to continent or indeed country! (like with the licorice) But I totally hear you. It can be hard to remember the characteristics of different nationalities (or individuals) and to reduce or increase successfully when you're trying out new recipes.

* said...

...and sugar is not always that easy to reduce successfully in baking, because sometimes it's chemistry, and textures go all wrong...

Aurea@Survival Guide said...

very true! you need to be a bit artistic in your conversions ..and not afraid of failure! haha