Sunday, July 01, 2007

Trying new things

As I've mentioned in earlier posts, those of us with food allergies have to be willing to try new things and be creative in order to get good stuff to eat. Today, I tried making a cold pea soup -- which I've certainly never had or made before. (Note that I'm not crazy about cold soups in general, esp. the other famous cold soup, gazpacho -- it tastes like cold salsa to me.) It wasn't bad. Not great, but not bad. But I'm glad I tried it, so that even if I didn't LOOOOVE it, the technique gave me ideas on how to do something else fabulous.

A few weeks ago I was contacted by Clarkson/Potter publishers, who found me through this blog, to try a new cookbook called Eat Well Feel Well, by Kendall Conrad, featuring the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD). First of all, I was completely flattered that they contacted me, and agreed to review the book here for readers who might benefit from it. The SCD is to help those with Crohn's, diverticulitus and other digestive diseases. I was completely unfamiliar with the diet (anyone else heard of it? esp. celiacs?), but scanned through the cookbook for a few weeks...overall, I found it contained pretty pictures, some vague references to the SCD, and very basic, simple recipes with some odd taste sensibilities. A big problem for me was that most of them were based on things specific to the diet that I cannot have -- yogurt as thickener, bread made from cashews, lots and lots of cheese, tomatoes, orange juice as a sweetener. Most of my substitutions would have altered the recipes quite a bit, so I tried to pick something that didn't require too much fiddling to be able to evaluate properly. The first recipe I tried was the Banana Coconut fritters with Honey which were just plain weird. Shredded coconut and mashed banana fried into little pancakes...they turned out having both a funky texture and taste. Drizzling honey over the top per the recipe didn't help.

I waded through a few more recipes, and found this simple Cold Mint Pea soup, and thought it was just okay. Simple, but just okay. Tasted exactly like what it was...peas, onions and mint. No big mystery or alchemy of taste that sometimes happens when you pair certain things together.

So, the moral of this tale is, please try new things when you can, regardless of the outcome. This cookbook didn't work for me, but perhaps for those who could eat more of the basics she's structured her book on, or those with fiber/digestive problems this could be very helpful. (I'd love to know how they got Giada De Laurentis to quote on a cookbook that has no pasta!)


Loztnausten said...

Glad to see someone test-driving this recipe book. I'm very interested in your impressions. We did an adapted version of the SCD a while back, so I'm familiar with it. I ran into the same problem, you did...lots of dependence on ingredients that were off the menu for us as well.

No such thing as a tweak-free cookbook, is there?

Food Allergy Queen said...

Hi Loztnausten, thanks for your note. I certainly expect to tweak almost every time. But these were so dependent on single ingredients it caused a problem.

I'm glad someone else had the same issues as me. I've found the trick of substitution works only in some circumstances, but it has to be for ingredients that are not the pillars of the recipe.

That's why I like to find books that start off with basics I can work with (Mediterranean, Indian, etc.) and then work from there.

Allergic Girl® said...

clarkson sent me the book as well, i haven't been inspired to test drive them yet as so many were so nutty [as in nut-filled] but i shall have a flip thru soon...