Cooking with Food Allergies
At AllergyKids, we are thankful for the countless individuals, families and organizations that are doing everything that they can to help protect the health of the 1 in 3 American children that now has allergies, autism, asthma and ADHD.
We know that managing these conditions can often be an enormous labor of love, so we’re always on the lookout for ways to help support those who are doing such a remarkable job caring for these children. And when we learned about the work of Carmel Nelson, co-author of The Food Allergy Cookbook, we asked if she would share a few thoughts about what inspired her. So with no further ado, here’s Carmel, in her own words.
Written by Carmel Nelson
I was diagnosed with my first food allergy in the winter of 2001, about a year after my co-author and friend, Amra Ibrisimovic discovered her food allergies. She offered me solace and comfort as I learned that I was not only allergic to dairy but also other foods. As we continued to explore our common food allergies and compare notes on how little information there was available on the web and in bookstores, we also began to share our successes in the kitchen with recipes. I first had the idea of writing The Food Allergy Cookbook and Amra was excited by the idea.
What both of us had noticed is that cookbooks focusing on food allergies tended to address only one food allergy and none of them remotely acknowledged how to handle food allergies in social situations. After all, who likes to be relegated to munching on raw carrot sticks in a corner at a party simply because they can’t eat anything else? We were inspired to do more. We wrote recipes and holiday menus for our book so families and friends could gather, not worrying about having to fix a separate plate for Cousin Sue with multiple food allergies. Or, if Uncle Mac was cooking and he was the one with the food allergies, he could show others how easy it was to entertain without missing all the trimmings at a Thanksgiving meal.
Amra and I also travel frequently, and this is a big deal if you have food allergies. All airports, train stations, and the like, are filled with fast food joints, and are not exactly food allergy friendly; the TSA isn’t much friendlier. We included tips in our book for handling travel with families, international travel (particularly if you don’t speak the language), and ideas for making travel safer with food allergies. We included a full guide for stocking the pantry as well as a guide for reading food labels for the most common food allergens.
Probably, what’s most important in our book, is that we’ve tried to bring food back from a place of fear into a place of play and enjoyment for those with food allergies. No more does the individual with food allergies have to forgo the fulfilling meals, luscious cinnamon rolls, chocolate cake or mousse, or decadent desserts. We have tested our foods on the normal palates of people used to “regular” food (e.g. not the gluten/dairy free foods) and the food has passed with raging success! We certainly didn’t skimp on chocolate in this book, and if you enjoy cooking and playing in the kitchen, you’ll be having a blast rediscovering foods and learning to entertain once again!
The Food Allergy Cookbook: A Guide to Living with Allergies and Entertaining with Healthy, Delicious Meals focuses on foods that are dairy, gluten, soy, corn, nut and shellfish free. It is available in all bookstores as well as on amazon.com and Carmel has graciously shared a recipe with our readers which can be found on our Recipe Page.
To become part of The Food Allergy Cookbook team, please visit their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Food-Allergy-Cookbook-A-Guide-for-Living-with-Allergies/220720771272899