Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Sunday Salon: Review of The Food Allergy Cookbook by Carmel Nelson and Amra Ibrisimovic


The Food Allergy Book
A Guide to Living with Allergies and Entertaining with Healthy, Delicious Meals
By Carmel Nelson and Amra Ibrisimovic
Skyhorse Publishing Hardcover
On Sale: July 2011
ISBN: 978-1-61608-297-0
Price: $17.95

A Guide to Living with Allergies
and Entertaining with Healthy, Delicious Meals
By Carmel Nelson and Amra Ibrisimovic

Are you turning down social gatherings that revolve around food? Skipping lunch with your co-workers to avoid an awkward explanation? Deserting the dinner table on holidays so you don’t have to reject Aunt Sally’s home-cooked meal? . . . Or are you the one playing host to your friends, some of whom may have food allergies? The husband who lit all the candles, and turned up the Barry White, but doesn’t know exactly what’s safe to cook for a romantic dinner? For all of you, here is your resource to make alternative dining easy and understandable!

Don’t let restricted options consume the joys of cooking! Say “NO!” to cardboard-flavored daily sustenance and brick-hard bread that would be more useful in constructing a house than actually eating. If you or someone you love has food allergies but is passionate about the culinary arts, this is the book for you! The Food Allergy Cookbookcontains 101 delectable recipes tested to perfection. Each and every recipe is accompanied by an irresistible, full-length and in color photograph that will make you salivate before even whipping up the treat!

The joint authors, Carmel Nelson and Amra Ibrisimovic, are among the millions of people struggling with food allergies. Over the years, their friendship has fostered support for one another as they discover new ways to live and eat enjoyably. They were disappointed by the lack of resources available on food allergies when they needed it the most, only a few years ago. Now that they are both in the know, they want to share their knowledge with you!

The Food Allergy Cookbook caters to those with dairy, wheat, oats, barley, soy, and corn allergies. It shows that you don’t have to give up your favorites, just alter them! It even comes with a special recipe for a flour mixture to do just that. There are every-day recipes plus entire meal plans for holidays so you don’t have to forfeit entertaining or being a guest. Instead, prepare a to-die-for meal that everyone will love! Don’t be surprised if they ask for the recipe!

Recipes include:
  • BBQ dishes such as Chicken Legs and Sloppy Joes
  • Savory Stuffed Peppers for the Vegetarian or Bosnian Style
  • Comforting classics like Chicken Soup with Dumplings and Chicken Pot Pie
  • A full-course Thanksgiving meal consisting of Roasted Turkey with Gravy, a unique Holiday Stuffing, warm Harvest Soup, Cranberry Sauce, Sweet Potato Puree, and for dessert—Pumpkin Pie!
  • Sweets for the adventurous eaters—Grand Marnier Cranberry Muffins and Apple Pear Quinoa Crisp—but also the staples— rich Fudge Brownies and Chocolate Chip Cookies!
  • Bread Sticks and corn-free Korn Bread
  • And many more!
 But The Food Allergy Cookbook is not merely a cookbook! It also serves up a list of restaurants with alternative menus, tips on working with your doctor and traveling safely, a lesson on deciphering food labels, and tons of helpful resources. Carmel and Amra will help you concoct healthy and flavorful recipes that finally prove…it IS possible to easily serve, eat and enjoy allergen-free fare. Now go play in the kitchen!

About the Authors:
CARMEL NELSON has worked as a substance abuse counselor and mental health therapist. She has been published in Living Without and Alaska Wellness magazines.

AMRA IBRISIMOVIC is a project manager and computer engineer. She emigrated from Bosnia during their civil war and became a U.S. citizen in 2000.

My Thoughts:

I always enjoy getting new cookbooks and often like to try new allergy cookbooks as my son has food allergies. The Food Allergy Cookbook is written by two authors, Carmel & Amra who both have food allergies and intolerances. They developed these allergies as adults and share their stories in the first chapter. The Food Allergy Cookbook has many things going for it, it has bright and beautiful pictures that accompany every recipe which I appreciated. For me, a cookbook with lots of pictures is a plus as I like to see what the recipe will look like. Another thing that is important to me in a cookbook is a Table of Contents which this cookbook includes as well as chapters that focus on recipes for  Holiday Menus, Soups, Appetizers, Salads and Side Dishes, Entrees and Pastries and Desserts. Each chapter also has an index with page numbers corresponding to each recipe. I liked the organization and flow of this cookbook. There are a variety of recipes and most are not overly complicated. The desserts require more ingredients and steps which is typical for home baked desserts. The authors focus on those with dairy, wheat, oats, barley, soy and corn allergies. My son has dairy intolerance and soy allergies so most of these recipes I could make without adaptations. The authors have their own recipe for a Flour mixture that is a substitute for wheat flour and gluten free so this would be a good cookbook for those with gluten intolerance or celiac as well. It's important to check through each recipe to make sure that it is safe for those you are serving with allergies. I chose to try the Quirky Coleslaw recipe as I had many of the ingredients on hand. I did not add the optional chopped nuts due to my son's allergies.

Quirky Coleslaw

1 Bag Shredded Cabbage/ or shred 1 head of Cabbage finely
(I used a bag of Coleslaw mix with shredded cabbage, carrots, red cabbage)
1/2 cup dried fruit (raisins, pineapple, cranberries, currants, etc)
(I used a small box of raisins and small 1 oz bag craisins)
1/2 cup nuts, finely chopped (optional) 
(I skipped nuts as my son is allergic to nuts)


1/2 cup Mayonnaise
1 Tablespoon Vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)
2 teaspoons sugar
1 Tablespoon Poppy Seeds
(I didn't have poppy seeds so I substituted caraway seeds)
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
(I didn't have this so I added salt)

1. Mix together salad ingredients.
2. Whip together dressing and blend with salad until everything is evenly coated with dressing.
3. Serve Cold.

Serves 8-10

* I made some substitutions that worked nicely. I think that this may taste better with poppy seed as caraway seeds are a bit larger and more dominant tasting. My husband and I liked this but my son did not care for it. He didn't like the dried fruit in the coleslaw or the caraway seeds. I think that it's more of a personal preference than that the dish didn't work. I love carrot and raisin salad and this reminded me of that dish. I would make this again and use poppy seeds instead. This would make a nice cold summer salad to accompany any meal.

Would I recommend this cookbook? Yes! I found it had a variety of practical menus that families with or without allergies could make as well as holiday menus and a variety of simple to more complex recipes to choose from. I liked the color and photography and that there were pictures of the recipes throughout the book, it was also easy to find recipes. I liked the Hot tips, scattered throughout the cookbook intermixed with the recipes. There was some good advice for Kitchen tips, Doctors and medical tips and traveling while eating out. Some of it was a bit basic for me as I have been dealing with food allergies since my son was a year old but I did learn some new ideas for traveling. Also, the price is reasonable for a hardback cookbook with over 100 recipes to choose from.

Thanks to Skyhorse Publishing for sending me a copy of The Food Allergy Cookbook for review.

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  1. I'm going to tell my friend Tracy about this book...she has sons that have issues with certain foods too. That Quirky Coleslaw looks yummy!!

  2. It looks like a great cookbook! I do like when there are a lot of photos in a cookbook. We don't have anyone with food allergies in our family and I'm crossing my fingers that that holds true.

  3. I have friends who have children with food allergies. I'm definitely recommending this book to them.


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