Cookbook Review: The Intolerant Gourmet: Glorious Food Without Gluten & Lactose

Posted by on Jun 25, 2012 in Books | 0 comments

… Off the Shelf for Good Reason!

Intolerant_Gourmet_1, photo courtesy of Barbara KafkaBarbara Kafka, recipient of the James Beard Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award, and a well-known icon in the cooking world for her numerous award-winning cookbooks, Roasting: A Simple Art, and Soup: A Way of Life (to name-drop a couple of them), has created a new cookbook for the gluten-free and dairy-free cooks of the world, The Intolerant Gourmet: Glorious Food Without Gluten & Lactose.

While Barbara Kafka lived most of her life cooking, eating, and writing about foods that are not restricted in a typical or more mainstream diet, including wheat, rye, barley, and oats (for some), she shares that, as a child, her symptoms of gluten and dairy intolerance were obvious and an appropriate diet for these autoimmune diseases was heeded. As an adult her symptoms subsided, whereby allowing years of limitless culinary immersion. Later in life her symptoms resurfaced, requiring Kafka to return to the gluten-free, dairy-free lifestyle. With her extensive food and prolific writing background, she decided a book to represent this part of her life and gluten-free cooking knowledge, while providing a resource for others, was in order.      

I ordered her cookbook a few months ago from Amazon, and when I received it, I very quickly scanned it, finding it contains just a few photos in the center of the book. I admit I’m drawn to beautiful food photos to stimulate my palate and to help feed my imagination and creativity when it comes to food and recipes. Looking through a cookbook and “reading” it takes a bit more dedication. After a short breeze through the pages, I placed the cookbook on my shelf of “need to review” items. And there it stayed. Until recently. 

Why do I admit this to you? Because this book has much to offer and it should have been shared with you long ago! When I delved deeper into the content of The Intolerant Gourmet: Glorious Food Without Gluten & Lactose, I found Barbara Kafka provides the reader with lovely recipes like Pomegranate Shrimp Sauté with Frisée and Herb-Simmered Leg of Lamb. While I would typically bypass elegant and complex-sounding recipes such as these, I was pleasantly surprised to see that most of her recipes, lavish and otherwise, have few and simple steps required in the preparation process. And while some recipes have seemingly long lists of ingredients, such as Black Bean Feijoada over Spicy Rice, most ingredients are standard gluten-free, dairy-free pantry items we generally have on hand. This really drew me in. 

Kafka’s book includes a great number of recipe sections from Breakfast, Hors d’Oeuvre and First Courses, Pasta and Risotto (featuring Mushroom Risotto), Soup (one of my favorite meals), Salads, and Desserts (feating Chestnut Doughnut Holes). As for the main courses, and the major meat recipes, the book is divided into additional sections categorized by type of meat, such as Fish and Seafood, Chicken and Other Birds, Beef, “Perfect Pig” as Kafka puts it, Lamb, and Other Meats. I found I liked being able to peruse an entire section of whatever type of meat I was working with for that meal.   

Another aspect of this cookbook in which I became consumed while reading was the “Stiff Upper Lip: the Starches” section. In this section, Kafka provides basic and very helpful, as well as a place to quickly glean, information on gluten-free flours, bean varieties and their flavor and raw and cooked characteristics, quick-glance “how to cook grains” and “how to use flour” charts, and insights on potato, rice, and pulses. I’m betting that this section of my copy of The Intolerant Gourmet: Glorious Food Without Gluten & Lactose will gather many food stains along the way.

I look forward to cooking from The Intolerant Gourmet: Glorious Food Without Gluten & Lactose. I’ve already tagged the first few recipes I’ll be making … Spring Pea Soup, Kale Soup, and Midsummer Green Bean Salad. What a great way to celebrate fresh, wholesome, gluten and lactose free eating. Of course I’ll be splurging in the Chestnut Doughnut Holes too. I wish I’d not left The Intolerant Gourmet: Glorious Food Without Gluten & Lactose on the shelf so long. Pick up your copy today, and share in the Comments section below, which recipes you find most delicious and intriguing.

Learn more about Barbara Kafka.

Safe food is a journey … Thrive!

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