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Cookbook Review: Cooking for Isaiah

August 3, 2011

Cooking for Isaiah: Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Recipes for Easy Delicious Meals was the first cookbook I bought after realizing Joseph had allergies. Right now, I would recommend it to anyone living gluten-free & dairy-free.

I love that every recipe has at least one picture. But what I love even more is that there are very few uncommon ingredients beyond rice milk and the gluten-free flour mix. Specifically, the fats she uses are all shortening and oil – I don’t have to travel over 20 minutes one way to buy the special soy-free vegan butter, or allergy-free cheese that Joseph can eat in order to make these recipes. I also liked her tips for this diet, such as using crushed rice cereal instead of breadcrumbs for recipes such as meatballs, or using waffles for sandwich bread.

My favorite thing I’ve made from this book is the chocolate birthday cake. I made it for Joseph’s first birthday party (with modifications, since we don’t drink coffee), and it was fudgy and moist, everyone (including gluten and dairy eaters) enjoyed it. Joseph also enjoyed the pizza crust. I thought the crust had an odd taste due to the olive oil, but he doesn’t know better.

The nice thing is that it’s fairly easy to adapt these recipes to be soy-free as well. Instead of vegetable oil (which is usually soybean oil) I use canola. Instead of shortening (soybeans again) I can use palm fruit shortening which I have seen in FredMeyer, but haven’t gotten around to buying yet. Most recipes don’t call for soy sauce or mayonnaise. There are a few others that I have to adapt since I don’t cook with alcohol or coffee.

My main complaint about this is sometimes I wonder how strict Nardone is with the ingredients that she cooks with (the foreward says that Isaiah’s reactions to gluten and dairy are more mild). She doesn’t list brands, but she also doesn’t specify that some ingredients (such as crisp rice cereal and semi-sweet chocolate chips) may still contain gluten-or dairy, depending on the brand.

So, I enjoyed this book, and will be following Silvana Nardone’s blog as well, to get more ideas for the future.

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