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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on August 20, 2004
Although this is a very useful book for anyone with an uncommon food allergy, those who are allergic to peanuts, nuts, and shellfish (and those who are gluten-intolerant) would not find this book as useful. Most of the recipes feature nuts or peanuts as main ingredients, and there's no real help given as to how to make a substitution. As the most common allergies (and the most serious, sometimes even leading to death) are to nuts and peanuts, I'm surprised that these ingredients are featured so prominently in a supposed allergy cookbook.
The same could be said with respect to the seafood recipes and the many recipes featuring grains that contain or (as is the case with oats) may be contaminated with other grains that contain gluten. Even a trace of gluten can bring grief to someone with celiac sprue.
I did not find this book very useful. However, those with allergies to rarer items or whose 'allergies' are merely intolerances (ie. no hives, throat swelling, cardiac arrest, etc.) might find this book useful. I can't recommend it to the average food allergy sufferer, though.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on March 11, 2003
My review pertains to the version of the book that has 350 recipes. But I would assume that this version is a similar quality.
This book has really been a great resource for me. My son (who is 3) has multiple food allergies (wheat, rye, corn, eggs, soy, dairy, chicken, foods in the night-shade family like potatoes, tomatoes, bell pepper....the list continues). It has been quite a nightmare to know what to get for him. And he also started developing sensitivities to the food that he ate all the time (oats, pork).
When I got this book, I learnt about the rotation diet, about how one could get sensitive to foods if exposed to them for an extended period of time. It provided me with alternative foods, information about food groups (which is essential when planning a rotation diet), lots of alternative things to use instead of sugar (agave nectar, maple or date sugar), how to use alternative flours (amaranth, quinoa, buckwheat, teff) which have all been so much help.
I have been using the breakfast and better breads section extensively, and also the snack and dessert sections. With the range of allergies that my son has, those have been the hardest types of food to prepare. The main course sections have some good suggestions as well.
I would highly recommend this book if you need to deal with multiple allergies and are at a loss as to where to start. I found the recipes in this book much better to use than the recipes from the Food Allergy Network, which is rather strange. The recipes from the FAN mostly had wheat flour in them, and provided no information on rotation diets, food groups or alternative flours. Some of the other books that I have bought are also not very strong in these areas. This book is particularly good if you have the type of allergies that I listed earlier. If you only have one or two of these allergies, perhaps you might find the recipes too esoteric and it might be unnecessary to go to such lengths as I have had to, to find the right food.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 2, 2003
This book needs to be in your kitchen if any of the following apply to you:
· you are vegan,
· someone in your family has food allergies,
· you are vegetarian and want to include more vegan recipes in your diet, or
· you enjoy baking but cringe at the amount of butter and sugar in most recipes
Author Jones was diagnosed with food allergies in 1976. She defines a food "allergy" as the following experience: "eating a food causes you distress, or if you discover any clear cause-and-effect symptoms that are relieved by avoidance of specific foods."
Her completely updated and revised cookbook includes over 350 recipes. Each is free of all common food allergens. No more getting halfway through a recipe only to realize that it would have been gluten-free if only you had used the other flour option. There are also chapters on ingredients that may be new to you, rotary diversified diets, keeping your home allergy-free, eating out, and helping children with allergies.
Note that this is not a vegetarian cookbook. However, a majority of the recipes are vegan. There are 17 vegetarian main dishes, and several of these have become instant hits at my house. The Better Burgers are the greatest. For Thanksgiving, I served the Zesty Loaf for the first time and an hour later, the loaf was gone, and my sisters-in-law were begging for the recipe.
We have also grown quite fond of the Fresh Apple Muffins. They will be going with us to our La Leche League meeting this month. And I'm willing to bet that none of them will be making the return trip home.
The only recipe that hasn't turned out well was the Date Pecan Pie. Too much blackstrap molasses makes things taste like cough syrup.
My only complaint with the book is that quite a few of the baked goods call for white buckwheat flour or a combination of flours. While the author explains how to grind whole buckwheat groats in the blender, I find that to be too time consuming. With a preschooler and baby around, I don't have time to grind my own flour. I have the same issue with the combination of flours used in some recipes. It takes extra time to get out and measure three different flours.
However, as one who eats a vegan diet in the comfort of my own home, I have to say that I love allergy-free cookbooks: no dairy, no eggs, and all-natural sugars. As a fine example of a cookbook that fits this bill, The Allergy Self-Help Cookbook will always have a place in my kitchen.
--Reviewed by Virginia Delaney
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 25, 2001
as nuts, especially peanuts, can be deadly for people like my son. She relies a lot on nut products (oils, flours, butters, etc.)so this cookbook wasn't as helpful as I had hoped but it still had some good ideas.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 29, 2011
The recipes in this book are neither corn-free, nor soy-free. Recipes include tofu, vegetable oil, vanilla extract, vinegar, and soy milk.

There are also a lot of cross references to other recipes. To make meatloaf, you first have to make pancakes, dry them out in the oven, and grind them into breadcrumbs.

I'm sure there are a few recipes in there that will be worthwhile, but it's nothing like I was expecting and I'm very disappointed.
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on September 29, 2003
I needed a book to give me some ideas for new foods that I wasn't getting after I was diagnosed with food allergies.
For that reason, I am very pleased with the number of alternatives for each recipe. It expanded my mind for what i could eat. It also inspired me to take all the food on my table (I arranged all the foods in the house that I could eat (with the exception of perishables, of course) on my kitchen table and arranged them by food group. That way I could look at all the ingredients and put together a healthful meal by making sure I get something from each of the food groups.)
This book has so many suggestions, it just opened up my mind to new dishes.
I plan to get one for my mother and my sister-in-law. They often cook when my husband and I come visit. They have been very concerned that I would have to bring all my food because they would have nothing I could eat.
While I do plan to take some of my own stuff, I think the ideas in this book will give them both ways to make minor modifications in what they already cook. Don't worry about us - Thanksgiving and Christmas will still feature eating a lot of food! :)
Shari
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on December 2, 2002
If you've been recently diagnosed with food allergies, you will want to buy this book because the author has many suggestions about foods you can eat in place of all of those you can't. She goes into great detail about various different types of flour to cook with and gives hope to those of us wondering, "What can I eat?"
That said, the recipies really fall flat. As one reviewer stated, she tends to rely heavily on nut ingredients and many of the "alternative flours" that she uses are rye, spelt, oats etc. So if you have serious grain allergies like I do, that's hard. Also she rels heavily on fish and seafood for protien, again, if you have seafood allergies, you'll have to ignore this portion of the book.
Lastly, of the three recipies that I tried, one was OK (buckwheat pancakes), one didn't work out (pork chops in rice with apples and celery) because the rice didn't cook (at all) but I've decided I could modify this to make it better, and one tasted AWFUL! (Ginger Gems Cookies)
I'd like to say that this book has enough redeeming qualities to make it a "good buy", but if you have numerous food allergies you may want to get it at your local library before investing the money.
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on February 2, 2003
I found out a year ago that I'm allergic to all grains, tomatoes, beef, and on and on. My diet was getting monotonous and I was having trouble getting enough carbohydrates without grains. I also really missed some of the sauces and breads I used to eat. In the Allergy Self-Help Cookbook, Marjorie Hurt-Jones gives wonderful, cleverly designed recipes such as her Tomato-free Spaghetti Sauce using pumpkin and vitamin C. And her grain-free breads (pancakes & muffins) are a God-send. I also like her Quick Skillet Bread for a quick carbo without grain. Thanks for putting so many foods back into my meals, Marjorie!
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on August 31, 2001
Although I did find that there are a few recipes which do contain ingredients that are supposedly not in this cookbook, I found the recipes interesting and tasty. If you ensure you use light buckwheat flour as recommended in applicable recipes and follow other hints provided by the author, I've found the recipes to be very good overall. This is a very good basic cookbook for people, like myself, who are just starting to discover the world of allergy free cooking/eating.
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on February 23, 2002
For someone with wheat and dairy allergies this is an excellent cookbook. The recipes are quick and easy to follow with all products readily available at any organic or health food store. Her review of alternative flours and list of 'food families' are useful information for establishing safe foods.
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