Published by Grand Central Life & Style
Publication date: October 9th 2012
Genres: Cookbook, Debut, Non-fiction
Imagine that your father is a well-loved chef known throughout the world but you can’t eat his food. This was the dilemma faced by Jilly and Jessie Lagasse when both realized, after years of illness without diagnosis, that they were gluten-intolerant and, in Jilly’s case, had celiac disease. This began a process of learning and re-invention, not only for the girls, but for their father, Emeril.
The Gluten-Free Table is the result of their efforts. For those new to the daunting challenge of completely revamping their diet the book opens with an introduction by the authors explaining their journey and how they met the challenges of dietary change. Also included are tips for gluten-free shopping and how to stock a gluten-free pantry and keep a kitchen and its surfaces gluten-free. The last area is the only one I might take issue with. It’s stated that even a grill must be carefully cleaned to avoid cross contamination, the premise being that a meat marinated in a gluten-laden sauce can contaminate a non-treated protein. Grilling is done at over 500˚ which denatures all other proteins, but a gluten marinade will survive? This felt a bit like scare tactics and a little overdone (no pun intended).
To ease the transition, the book is designed like most cookbooks in that the chapters are divided into courses (appetizers, entrees, etc.). Each recipe is accompanied by a color photograph of the dish and a brief introduction as to the genesis of the dish. The authors have done a good job of standardizing the text and format for each recipe—ingredients along the left and instruction broken out on the right. Recipes range from spaghetti with meatballs to coconut chocolate chip cookies (which are delicious) and are largely very basic and familiar foods, adapted to remove gluten.
For those new to a gluten-free diet The Gluten-Free Table would work as a starting point in their cookbook collection. The recipes are straightforward and cover classics previously off-limits because removing the gluten left them unpalatable or impossible to create. For those looking to expand their repertoire of gluten-free recipes and experience this book does not venture into new territory; it’s very basic and much of the information will already be known to the reader. A good beginner’s guide for those who are just starting to move into the gluten-free world.