Cooking Without by Barbara Cousins
I love this book! As the title suggests, Cooking Without
turns nothing into something. It's a free-from diet enabler. If you don't have any food allergies, are completely healthy or don't care, then maybe you won't need this book. If you, or people you cook for have CFS/ME or any other long-term illness, then it's a must. It takes into account common intolerances, candidiasis, maintaining blood sugar levels, avoiding additives, and maximising nutrition for leaky guts. Also, it would be useful for those emergency dinner parties with so-and-so who has a list of what they can't eat as long as your arm. And if there's nothing in the book you like, you could eat the book. It needs a little salt, but otherwise is great flambéed with cognac.
Reading Cooking Without
, it becomes quickly evident what ingredients are actually for. These recipes are plain and simple, and genius! By stripping a recipe down to it's nuts and bolts, you can also be more creative than normal. It's given me confidence to invent my own recipes now. And it's not about substituting something with something fake, although the odd recipe does do this, like the dairy free gluten free cheesecake (come on, that can't be right!) The recipes are delicious, really easy – and delicious for everyone. It focuses on what you can have, and makes better use of natural flavours, herbs, spices, and new and interesting ingredients that are becoming much more available in the supermarkets now. A useful chapter is the one on sauces – these you can freeze too and add to meals to make them healthy “fast food”. There's a tomato sauce, mayonnaise, white sauce, you name it. Wonderful salads, tons of veggie meals. Only criticism is the breakfasts are stuffed with carbohydrates, which are known to make you drowsy – not the best way to combat chronic fatigue. Protein in the morning – have those breakfasts for supper, it works for me.
My favourite chapter is the one on baking. “What, without sugar, dairy and gluten?” you cry. Yes. Everything in here is sugar free, salt free (optional of course), dairy free, gluten free, alcohol free, and low saturated fat and red meat. Anything that could harm you, basically. The recipes are not egg free but egg substitute is recommended. It's funny how sweet things already taste without adding sugar, and you would never have known otherwise. Many cultures don't use dairy and gluten etc, and the recipes draw on that to some extent. My cupboard is now filled with potato flour, corn meal, maize meal, and rice flour. I can eat normally again! Bread, pizza, pie, it's all good. Who'd have thought?
A vegetable curry was burned during the writing of this review. That's how much I care that you read this book.