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Allergen-Free Baker's Handbook

Cover of Allergen-Free Baker's Handbook

Allergen-Free Baker's Handbook

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Free to Eat Sweets!

The number of people with food allergies is skyrocketing, leaving puzzled cooks and anxious parents eager to find recipes for "normal" foods that are both safe and delicious. The Allergen-Free Baker's Handbook features 100 tried-and-true recipes that are completely free of all ingredients responsible for 90 percent of food allergies, sparing bakers the all-too-common frustration of having to make unsatisfactory substitutions or rework recipes entirely. To make things even easier, energized and empathetic mom Cybele Pascal demystifies alternative foodstuffs and offers an insider's advice about choosing safe products and sources for buying them.

As the head baker for a food-allergic family, food writer Pascal shares her most in-demand treats and how to make them work without allergenic ingredients. Her collection includes a delightfully familiar array of sweets and savory goodies that are no longer off-limits, from Glazed Vanilla Scones, Cinnamon Rolls, and Lemon-Lime Squares to Chocolate Fudge Brownies, Red Velvet Cake, and every kid's favorite: Pizza.

In addition to being a lifeline for people with food allergies, sensitivities, and intolerances, these entirely vegan recipes are perfect for anyone looking to avoid artificial and refined ingredients, and those interested in baking with healthful new gluten-free flours such as quinoa, sorghum, and amaranth. Best of all, Pascal has fine-tuned each recipe to please the palates of the most exacting critics: her young sons. Lennon and Monte like these tasty treats even better than their traditional counterparts, and you will too!

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Free to Eat Sweets!

The number of people with food allergies is skyrocketing, leaving puzzled cooks and anxious parents eager to find recipes for "normal" foods that are both safe and delicious. The Allergen-Free Baker's Handbook features 100 tried-and-true recipes that are completely free of all ingredients responsible for 90 percent of food allergies, sparing bakers the all-too-common frustration of having to make unsatisfactory substitutions or rework recipes entirely. To make things even easier, energized and empathetic mom Cybele Pascal demystifies alternative foodstuffs and offers an insider's advice about choosing safe products and sources for buying them.

As the head baker for a food-allergic family, food writer Pascal shares her most in-demand treats and how to make them work without allergenic ingredients. Her collection includes a delightfully familiar array of sweets and savory goodies that are no longer off-limits, from Glazed Vanilla Scones, Cinnamon Rolls, and Lemon-Lime Squares to Chocolate Fudge Brownies, Red Velvet Cake, and every kid's favorite: Pizza.

In addition to being a lifeline for people with food allergies, sensitivities, and intolerances, these entirely vegan recipes are perfect for anyone looking to avoid artificial and refined ingredients, and those interested in baking with healthful new gluten-free flours such as quinoa, sorghum, and amaranth. Best of all, Pascal has fine-tuned each recipe to please the palates of the most exacting critics: her young sons. Lennon and Monte like these tasty treats even better than their traditional counterparts, and you will too!

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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    ForewordI first learned about food allergies when I was six years old. The family that lived across the street had four children; the youngest was nicknamed "Eggs." I didn't know who first called him Eggs; all I knew was that he couldn't eat eggs and that he was constantly itching his arms and legs, which were covered with thick, scary-looking skin that scabbed. I didn't know anybody else like that; in fact, I was actually more familiar with kids with polio. It wasn't until I was a third-year medical student working in pediatric dermatology that I saw a second person with food allergies. Three years later, when I worked in the Bronx during my residency, I saw more cases of food allergy, mostly in children rushed to the emergency room with hives or wheezing after eating a food they were allergic to.

    After moving to California, I seemed to see such cases even more frequently. During my first week of training in allergy and immunology at UCLA, I was asked to consult on an eleven-month-old boy from Arizona who weighed only ten pounds. He looked malnourished and had a rash around his mouth. My attending professor suspected child neglect or abuse, and we all expected him to thrive within days of being in the hospital. Time passed and he remained ill, with vomiting and diarrhea to boot. I checked up on him while a nurse was feeding him a cow's milk--based formula from a sippy cup. He knocked the cup over and the formula poured onto his legs. Red blisters formed where the milk had spilled. At this point it became clear that he was allergic to the very milk with which we were trying to nourish him back to health. We stopped all forms of dairy and took him off all meds. Within forty-eight hours he was a different kid--no vomiting, happier disposition, clearer skin, and increased appetite. He returned to the clinic two months later on no medications and was unrecognizable, weighing twenty-one pounds with no skin rashes.

    These anecdotes show different manifestations of food allergy, and they illustrate how food allergy, once an esoteric condition, is becoming much more prevalent. The nation has seen a mysterious rise since the 1990s in the number of children with food allergies, now estimated to be three million, or one in every twenty-five children. In the past decade alone, the prevalence has increased by 18 percent. Being a busy allergist "in the trenches," I diagnose five or more new food allergy cases each week.

    So why are food allergies rising? There's no good answer, but a lot of decent guesses. One theory is that we get exposed to nuts or other foods too early. I can remember well how some children with severe food allergies had mothers who ate large quantities of that same food while pregnant and while nursing. Could in utero exposure be the culprit?

    For years, allergists have been recommending that allergenic foods be introduced to children at a later age to reduce the risk of allergy. However, a 2008 study of British children found that early exposure to peanuts actually lowered the risk of future peanut allergies.

    Another theory explaining the increase in food allergies is that food in the United States is processed differently. For example, there is a much higher peanut allergy rate in the United States than in China; in the United States, peanuts are mostly dry roasted while in China they are mostly boiled, which decreases the amount of the allergenic protein in the peanut. Also, the processing of peanut butter in the United States involves whipping it to prevent the oil from layering out of the solid fraction; this spreads more of the peanut protein into the oil and may result in more peanut allergies. Another theory is that...

About the Author-
  • Cybele Pascal is a food writer and the author of the bestselling Whole Foods Allergy Cookbook. She has been a guest on The Martha Stewart Show, the Food Network, the Today show, ABC News, and NPR. She is a regular contributor to Living Without, the magazine for people with allergies and food sensitivities, and her recipes have appeared in many national publications, including Good Housekeeping, Allergic Living, and NY Parent. In addition to her culinary work, she is also an award-winning playwright. Pascal is the proud mother of two sons, Lennon and Montgomery. She lives in Los Angeles with her food-allergic family: husband Adam, sons Lennon and Monte, and their dogs Izzie and Carly (who also has food allergies).

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    Potter/TenSpeed/Harmony
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