You already know our books are free to check-out, but did you know that you can find many recipes in our cookbooks that are free of gluten and other allergens? Gluten is a vital protein in many grains such as wheat, rye and barley. This pesky little protein gives bread its wonderful texture, but it also makes many people sick. The number of people eating gluten free has risen drastically in the last decade, and your library is stocked up on gluten-free books to make your stomach -- and your wallet -- happy.
After your diagnosis and being told what you can't eat (which feels like everything), you may wonder "What on Earth CAN I eat?!" Before you starve to death, see "Tell Me What to Eat If I Have Celiac Disease," by Kimberly Tessmer. It lists dozens of ideas for each meal of the day that you can mix and match depending on what you're in the mood for. It also has a chapter of advice from other gluten-free eaters to help cheer you up if you're still mourning wheat. For the kids, see the illustrated and refreshingly silly book "The GF Kid: A Celiac Survival Guide," by Melissa London and Eric Glickman. It gives super important and cute advice, like how to stick to the diet when at the movies or a birthday party.
We have an updated version of Bette Hagman's classic, "The Gluten-Free Gourmet," which compiles foundational gluten-free recipes, such as angel food cake, meat loaf, English muffins, and, of course, breads. The book explains how to mix flours to mimic the soft texture of wheat bread. Since gluten intolerance and dairy intolerance often go hand-in-hand, see Denise Jardine's "The Dairy-Free & Gluten-Free Kitchen," for soiree-worthy dishes so good your dinner guests won't realize what's missing. Sick of buying ingredients you've never heard of like xanthan gum and lecithin powder? Get "The Complete Guide to Naturally Gluten-Free," by Olivia Dupin, which features delicious recipes with ingredients your grandmother would have recognized.
Maybe people are gluten-free and something else-free. Whether you need to avoid carbs for your waistline or your blood sugar, we have books that combine gluten free with South Beach or Paleo diets and sugar-free, dairy-free, or meat-free.
With proper nutrition out of the way, let's talk about dessert! So what if you can't eat wheat, milk, eggs, soy, or nuts? No problem! You can still eat delicious desserts if you grab a copy of Elizabeth Gordon's "Allergy Free Desserts." Birthdays are a time when many people find themselves at a loss as to how to bake a cake for a loved one. Want to bake cakes that non-Celiacs will clamor to eat? Get "The Cake Doctor Bakes Gluten-Free," by Anne Byrn. This book has recipes for mouth-watering sweets. Come to the library and never feel deprived of tasty treats again.
Speaking Volumes, written by Manatee County Public Library System staff members, is published each Sunday. Access the library www.mymanatee.org/library.html. Stephanie Katz is a Reference Librarian at the Manatee County Central Library.