Cooking For Isaiah: An inspired read full of courage and hope
Written by Robyn O’Brien August 13, 2010
Recently, I had the priviledge of reviewing a book. Not just any book, but an extraordinary book.
Written by the editor-in-chief of Everyday With Rachel Ray, Cooking for Isaiah: Gluten-free and Dairy-free Recipes for Easy and Delicious Meals has the appearance of being just another cookbook for those dealing with food allergies and sensitivities. But it’s not.
It is exceptional…not for its recipes, nor for its famous author, nor for what it says…it is extraordinary because of what it doesn’t say.
It is the story of how one mother, abandoned almost everything that she knew and leveraged her unique expertise, to care for the health of her son and others like him.
As the reader quickly learns, the author, Silvana Nardone, is a career gourmet, a chef of Italian heritage who rose to the pinnacle of culinary success as the founding editor-in-chief of Everyday with Rachel Ray by developing exquisite, uncompromised recipes.
Despite having owned an Italian bakery and won over Rachel Ray with her biscotti, Silvana, like so many modern day moms, is thrown a curveball when her son, Isaiah, is diagnosed with food intolerances to gluten and dairy. As the diagnosis hits, Silvana reflects, “Gone were the days when I could pick him up from school and stop at a bakery for an afternoon snack” and her life changed.
And while food sensitivities and intolerances are dismissed by some in the medical establishment as an attention-seeking diagnoses, to others like AllergyKids Foundation’s medical board advisors Dr. Kenneth Bock and Dr. Joel Fuhrman, food intolerances are often a sign of underlying conditions and can be associated with behavioral and neurological conditions in some children. In other words, they are serious.
Yet rather than throw a pity party, start pointing fingers or develop a woe-is-me attitude, Silvana gets to work, leveraging her culinary expertise with her passion to protect her son. In Cooking for Isaiah, Silvana reflects on the foods of her upbringing, sharing funny memories of her grandma’s less-than-fresh veggies and her slight sugar obsession (which so many of us share). And without an ounce of self pity or regret, she sheds her former, gluten and dairy laden ways, in an inspired effort to heal her son. With a whisk in hand and a desire to heal, Silvana leads us through the culinary maze she navigated in a world in which food now threatens the health and wellbeing of our children and families.
With strength and courage, humility and humor, Cooking for Isaiah is an inspiring read, not only for the recipes that it provides, but for the hope that it brings to all of us. Because as Silvana writes, ” I am not a doctor. I am not a nutritionist. I am not a trained chef. I am not a food scientist. I am just a mom who wants to feed her kids.”
Given the epidemic rates of allergies, asthma, ADHD and autism, the simple act of feeding our kids now creates enormous challenges. And for that reason, Silvana Nardone is owed a debt of gratitude for her dedication.
With heartfelt strength and steadfast resolve, Silvana inspires us. Her labor of love to heal her son has produced an invaluable resource, not only in the recipes that she provides in Cooking for Isaiah, but also in the reminder that each and every one of us has the remarkable ability to affect change when it comes to the health of our children. One meal, one cookie, one mom at a time.
Cooking for Isaiah: Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Recipes for Easy and Delicious Meals will be available on August 26, 2010 at Amazon and booksellers around the country.