Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Cooking
Betty Crocker created a gluten-free line of some of their classics last year including cake, brownies, cookie mixes and even Bisquick. They have now combined those mixes with a book on how to use them and incorporate them into a gluten-free lifestyle. Published by Wiley (also, my book publisher), Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Cooking has 150 recipes, all gluten-free. They sent me a review copy to check out. (On their website they also have a listing of allergen-friendly cookbooks, not just their own, including my faves like Cybele Pascal’s Cookbooks: BettyCrockerStore.com )
What I didn't love about Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Cooking:Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Cooking: uses every allergen but wheat, barely and the major culprits of gluten. There are diary, eggs, soy, tree nuts, peanut, fish and shellfish ingredients all throughout Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Cooking. So, if you have a celiac plus multi-allergy or multi-sensitivity household, Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Cooking may not for you. Or if you want to be gluten-free but have severe allergies to any of those ingredients you will be making many substitutions and there is no way to know how the recipes may turn out as they don’t provide for substitutions.
The recipes in Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Cooking call for gluten-free items to be added (like yogurt or deli meats) but have no listing of where to get those items or what substitutions are safe (many specialty cookbooks provide lists of safe flours and purveyor, for example). For new gluten-free cooks, this will pose an issue and may cause some unintentional gluten-free mistakes.
What I have mixed feelings about in Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Cooking i.e. I see this as a con and a pro:
The Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Cooking recipes use a lot of American processed foods and convenience foods. Those foods are usually high in sugar, salt and fats. However, Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Cooking also gives the nutritional information so you can make an educated choice for you and your family about each meal plan and how much sugar, fat and salt intake you are consuming
The recipes in Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Cooking remind me of a baking or cookbook from the 1950s e.g. sloppy joe pie. As I've never had tuna casserole or sloppy joe I don't know how these recipes stack up but I can say it seems the trend has turned to healthier choices. So, if you're a eating a classic bake, Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Cooking has updated these classics adding the nutritional information per serving added as well as making them gluten-free.
The good news about Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Cooking:
The information about celiac disease is correct which is not always the case with GF baking or cooking books.
The recipes use both homemade flour mixes (the recipes for which they give but again no hint of which flour purveyor is safe) and Betty Crocker brand prepared mixes which gives the reader more flexibility.
The recipes that use the pre-made Betty Crocker brand mixes look easy (NB: I haven’t yet tried them).
For a newly diagnosed celiac or gluten intolerant person, Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Cooking has lots of easy dishes both sweet and savory, appetizers and entrees that you can whip up in no time using both processed foods and fresh produce.
Upshot on Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Cooking:
There is no one book that is perfect for everyone. But the more books out there, the better for anyone who has celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, or gluten intolerance. Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Cooking will be helpful to many in the GF community who are newly diagnosed, teens just learning to bake, cook and experiment or extended family members just learning how to bake yummy GF treats for loved one.
As for me, I've flagged three new recipes to make for my next dinner party: snickerdoodles, coffee cake and whoopie pie cake. And I'm betting, given the quality of the Betty Crocker mixes, they won't know the difference.