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What's Cooking?: Food Allergy

Food allergy is fast becoming a public health concern.    There are 15 million people who are affected by this in our country, of which nearly 6 million are children.   The major food allergens are milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, soy, fish, and shellfish.  These eight foods account for 90% of all food-allergic reactions.  Personally, it is a very serious problem in my household with several family members allergic to nuts, Crustacean shellfish, and sesame seeds.   It is not fun hunting for a tiny sesame seed on the bread or hidden inside one.  Each progressive attack can be life threatening if it is not treated immediately.   Unfortunately, we have not been strangers to the hospital for this reason.  Outside the hospital setting, food allergy is the leading cause of anaphylaxis.   

Decades ago, there were very few cookbooks available in this subject area.  Bette Hagman, who passed away 5 years ago, left a legacy as a pioneer in writing cookbooks for those who have allergies.  She herself had celiac disease and had to be on a gluten-free diet.  Her cookbooks are still referred to and checked out in our library.   Today the number of allergen-free cookbooks in the market certainly reflects the 18% increase in food allergy.   The wonderful assortments of cookbooks being published also include health related diets such as diabetic, salt-free, low cholesterol, cancer, and ibs.   Those who have no food allergy may not be able to comprehend how envious one who has food sensitivity can be to try that scrumptious red velvet cake or a slice of that pizza.  Now it is possible to eat so many foods without fear because they are  made allergen-free.  A few bakeries who cater to those with food allergies have written their own cookbooks and products can now be ordered online.  It is also exciting to see the diversity of the recipes covering international cuisines as well.   If you are fortunate to not have food allergies, I am sure you know someone who does, so spread the word that these sources are available in our library.

Cooking Free by Carol Fenster

The Gluten-Free Gourmet Cooks Comfort Goods by Bette Hagman

Flying Apron’s Gluten-Free & Vegan Baking Book by Jennifer Katzinger

BabyCakes by Erin McKenna

Recipes for IBS by Ashely Koff

The Everything Food Allergy Cookbook by Linda Larsen

The Big Book of Diabetic Desserts by Jackie Mills

The Allergen-Free Baker’s Handbook by Cybele Pascal

The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen by Laura Byrne Russell

The Divvies Bakery Cookbook by Lori Sandler

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