Against the Grain by Nancy Cain
N.B. I received this cookbook from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.
Before I begin to review this cookbook, I need to list two disclaimers. One, I am a foodie (even when my husband and I were in Paris visiting restaurants, people called us “foodies”). Two, I sneer at most cookbooks. In fact, only two cookbooks hold an honored position in my kitchen. One is an old version of the Joy of Cooking and the other is an old version of the Southern Living Cookbook. Neither version is currently in print, and their modern iterations are not in keeping with the standards of the old versions.
So, I approached this cookbook with a grim outlook. Compounded with that, I have been baking/cooking gluten free for 16 years—long before it became popular or easy. And I have bought and tossed out quite a few gluten-free cookbooks. I was prepared to do the same with this book. But I didn’t. A new cookbook may soon be moving to the honored shelf in my kitchen.
This baking cookbook truly amazed me. The food was actually good. And if you’ve cooked GF for a while, you’ll know how significant this is. The non-GF people in our home are actually stealing the GF baked goods because they’re delicious.
Normally, I’d bake a lot of recipes before reviewing this, but I’ve been mumbling about this cookbook on Facebook and other sites and people are asking me about it. So here’s my review: buy it.
If you want some typical review information, here it is.
1. The recipes are clearly printed and well explained.
2. There are lots of lovely photos of the food, so you’ll know what it looks like—after all, presentation is important.
3. Because this is a GF cookbook, it is mostly a baking cookbook. Note too, these recipes use protein and other binders in place of the traditional guar gum and xanthan gum used in typical GF baking.
4. The cookbook has a section on the fundamentals and science of baking gluten free.
5. Two of my favorite recipes are the cocobean cupcakes and chocolate eggs, just in time for Easter. (BTW, the chocolate egg recipe is very European, i.e., not oversweet. If you like your sweets sweet, add some sugar to the coconut butter.)