… I Might Have to Agree with the Title!
I recently had the opportunity to review You Still Won’t Believe It’s Gluten-Free!, by Roben Ryberg. Also known for her five previous books serving up nutritious and delicious recipes for a gluten-free lifestyle, this book is a follow-up to the original You Won’t Believe It’s Gluten-Free cookbook. While I found some positive points in this cookbook, I found a few that cause some concern … especially for the new-to-gluten-free person seeking information and cookbooks that are reliably safe and easy to understand.
While I believe that Ryberg understands gluten-free foods and ingredients, what’s safe and what’s taboo, I think it’s possible that she’s become so familiar with her understanding that she’s forgotten that these all-so-important aspects need to be clearly laid out for the beginner. I’m happy to give the benefit of the doubt on this point, however my responsibility to you lies in making sure you are presented with information that leaves little to no room for doubt when you venture forth in your journey. Therefore, though this cookbook was provided as a complimentary copy for review, I’m still obligated to share my honest opinion. It’s only fair to you. This circles us back then to the title of this post … You Still Won’t Believe It’s Gluten-Free! I’m not sure we can be certain it’s written as such. Here’s what I came away with after reading, and cooking recipes from, this book.
Positive points of You Still Won’t Believe It’s Gluten-Free!
- 200 recipes are provided in a wide variety of categories including appetizers, breakfast, breads (including loaves rolls, flatbreads, pizza crusts, etc), quick breads and muffins, soups and stews, main course meat dishes, fish and seafood, starches and veggies, and many cakes and desserts.
- No flour blends are used. Most recipes are created with only one type of flour required, while some include two. This allows for simplifying gluten-free cooking and can minimize the struggle of learning how to mix proper ratios of flour types for baked goods. Also, this reduces the amount of flour types to be stored, and Ryberg utilizes only four to five flour types throughout the book.
- A section on creating and maintaining a gluten-free kitchen shares some basic but good information for those new to gluten-free and learning the ins-and-outs of possible cross-contamination in the home kitchen.
- Sections with very basic suggestions for stocking your pantry, shopping for groceries, and tools and utensils that may be helpful to have in your kitchen.
- A gluten-free resources guide and a metrics conversion chart are provided.
Points for concern in You Still Won’t Believe It’s Gluten-Free!
- Some recipes include ingredients such as pasta, chicken or beef bouillon cubes, sausage, soy sauce, instant potato flakes, and cooking spray. Most of these ingredients are not mentioned as needing to be checked for gluten, or purchased as a gluten-free variety. This is where so much hidden gluten lurks. Neglecting to make this point in the recipes can be misleading or confusing, and cause potential health risks, especially to those new to gluten-free.
- McCormick spices are the author’s preferred choice (which are gluten-free), and while she notes to always check labels, it’s important to note that some brands of spices, seasonings, and flavorings include gluten-containing ingredients as an anti-clumping agent, and these are almost never included in the ingredients list. Don’t assume that all spices are safe.
To some of you, this review may sound as if I’m going on an attack. I assure you, this is not the case at all. I believe this book has many good features, and worth adding to your gluten-free cookbook collection. I just feel strongly the need to share the red flags I’ve found here, so you can be a well-educated gluten-free consumer.
Are you concerned that there are ingredients included that could be misunderstood as safe? How precise do you need or want to be in your gluten-free lifestyle? I look forward to your thoughts and comments.
Safe food is a journey … Thrive!™