Sunday, July 31, 2011

Cooking Light goes Gluten Free!

On August 2nd, Cooking Light magazine is releasing a Gluten Free cookbook!

I am a huge fan of Cooking Light.  I like their recipes and their focus on health and balance versus dieting, so I am psyched.  You can read more about the release here.

There are a few reviews up on Amazon already which are not good. One star was given in each, in fact.  And the complaints are typical.  Between seeing comments on recipes around the web and scanning through my email comments, the following two criticisms are eeeeeverywhere.

Here are the big two.
1. The recipes rely on store bought mixes like Pamela's, Bob's Red Mill, Bisquick gluten free etc.
2. The recipes are "naturally" gluten free and focus around meat and vegetables etc.

Now, I love carbs as much as the next person.  But just because you are eating gluten free does NOT mean that every meal needs to have a gluten substitute in it.  I actually assume this is why many people unintentionally gain weight on a gluten free diet (not including those who were malnourished due to celiac and NEED to gain weight).  I fell victim to the same thinking when I first went gluten free, eating anything and everything that was labeled gluten free, saying - HEY! I CAN EAT THIS! - to myself. Can does not mean should or need to. Shouldn't we be enjoying "naturally" gluten free foods too? Like proteins, vegetables and fruits - some of the most wholesome food choices out there? What is wrong with someone putting out a collection that includes many of those recipes? I do limit my carbohydrate intake and really appreciate gluten free recipes that aren't all about swapping one flour or starch for another.

My issue with the complaints for this particular book is related to who is publishing it.  If you read Cooking Light or use their recipes, you'll find that many of their recipes are protein and vegetable centric, gluten free or not. I probably use 2 to 3 recipes from each magazine and rarely if ever have to make gluten free exchanges.

I'm excited for the idea of having the gluten free recipes together in one collection.  Not having to scour recipes and new ingredient labels does save time when shopping and cooking during the week.  I am also in favor of getting gluten free marketing away from packaged goods.  But I also know that when I do bake or cook with gluten substitutes, time is of the essence, and I often do buy pre-blended flour mixes. I don't have the kitchen space to store 10 different types of flours and often get annoyed when "fast recipes" involve measuring five different types of flour. Part laziness, part realism. Just because I have a food allergy doesn't mean I have hours to devote to cooking each day. 

So my take on this new collection? Thank you Cooking Light for helping the gluten free community focus on wholesome foods (that aren't always about the carbs) with convenience in mind.