Cookbooks: To Gluten Free or Not To Gluten Free?

Posted on June 13, 2016

That is the question …

I consider myself somewhat of a foodie. I appreciate both creativity and clean cuisine. I love to cook AND to eat. So I found it a struggle when I was diagnosed with celiac disease, and I needed to rethink my approach to food. What?! No home-baked cookies? No pasta dinners? No tried and true cookbooks?! What about my favorite recipes?

What I soon discovered is that a good cookbook in the hands of a creative, and determined, cook can yield amazing gluten free meals. I also discovered that what I learn from gluten free cookbooks often make me a better recipe reader and, therefore, cook. My cookbook collection grew, and gluten free and “normal” cookbooks now cohabitate happily on my bookshelf. My favorite cookbooks have brightly colored post-its popping out to mark the best recipes, they are creased and stained from wet or oily hands. They’re keepers. And some of my favorites are not truly gluten free, but they are easily relatable and translatable for people who need to be.


My cookbook shelf is displayed proudly in the heart of my home, the nerve center if you will, the kitchen and family room area. I love that they tell a story of who lives in this house, that anyone who visits can see that they’re well used, that I’ve already needed to stack the new ones horizontally because I can’t bear to put any of them away. I’ve often gone over to other foodie girlfriends’ homes and talked cookbooks with them.  We pull out books, share favorite recipes, discuss tweaks and changes. All while eating gluten free, of course!

And what are my favorite high-velocity, unexpectedly gluten free recipes? Ina Garten’s lemon chicken in The Barefoot Contessa cookbook series is a fall and winter Monday night staple, and her fresh corn salad is on the summer menu once the corn is at the farmers market. Both are 100% gluten free and so simple and clean that the flavors shine. The chile lime skirt steak in Screen Doors and Sweet Tea (Martha Hall Foose) is my son’s first choice for any special occasion or celebration. In these and other cookbooks, I’ve adapted cookie and coffee cake recipes (using Sweet Ali’s Gluten Free Flour, of course!) and made everyone happy and asking for seconds.

So to answer the cookbook question … To Gluten Free or Not To Gluten Free? I say yes to both! Yes to trying new things, yes to creative experimentation, and yes to seeing the delicious opportunities in every cookbook.

Recommended Cookbook reading:

The Barefoot Contessa cookbook series by Ina Garten

Gluten Free Girl cookbooks by Shauna James Ahern

Screen Doors and Sweet Tea by Martha Hall Foose

(slightly obscure and a nod to my southern self, but the recipes are oh so yummy, even up north)


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