Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, April, 2017
Just because your household is small and gluten-free doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy good food. After all, small is beautiful! You can cook perfectly-proportioned meals for two with recipes from Carol Fenster, one of America’s foremost authorities on the gluten-free life style. It’s the perfect book for empty-nesters, newlyweds, college roommates, and even singles. Using Carol’s recipes eliminates waste and reduces meal boredom from eating the same leftovers day after day.
“Carol has done it again…dishing up another winning gluten-free cookbook filled with delicious recipes that are sure to be a hit with young and old.”—Shelley Case, RD, author of Gluten-Free: The Definitive Resource Guide
Why Write a Cookbook for Two People?
When Carol Fenster was advised to stay away from gluten nearly 30 years ago––to get relief from chronic sinusitis––she had no idea that it would lead to a career of creating gluten-free recipes. But long after she and her husband became empty-nesters (and when she wasn’t in recipe-testing mode for one of her many cookbooks), she inexplicably continued to cook with standard 4-serving recipes for just the two of them. Looking back, she now asks, “Why did I continue to cook so much food for just the two of us?”
One day she had a BFO (Blinding Flash of the Obvious). Why not downsize her standard recipes to serve two, especially since her husband hated leftovers and she hated to waste food. When she realized how many small households there are in America, she turned her small-scale recipes into yet another cookbook. Gluten-Free Cooking for Two was published in April, 2017 with the aim of helping small households dine well, with perfectly-proportioned dishes that eliminate waste and boring leftovers.
The book features 125 recipes for American favorites that require kitchen math to downsize to two servings. Carol found that simply dividing a 4-serving recipe in half didn’t necessarily result in success.
She says, “Keeping ingredients in the right proportions was especially complicated in baking. For example, I grew up making my mother’s chocolate cake, so I assumed that converting it to two servings would be easy. I was wrong! I had to make it a dozen times to get it right. One of the complications was the egg. I didn’t want you to measure a fraction of an egg (how do you do that, anyway?), so I had to re-portion all the other ingredients to compensate for the whole egg.”
Because many small households are short on kitchen and freezer space, Carol uses common ingredients that most gluten-free households already have on hand. Her baking flour blend uses three common flours: brown rice flour, potato starch, and tapioca flour/starch that can be used in bread, pizza, cake, brownies, muffins, pancakes.
What’s in the Book?
The book offers 125 recipes for a wide range of foods including main dishes; breads; breakfast; soups, stews, and sandwiches, sides; and of course, desserts. The recipes are carefully calibrated to retain the appearance, flavor, and texture of their original standard-size counterparts but they provide just two servings.
“Part of my goal in writing this cookbook is to reduce food waste. Did you know that Americans waste 30 to 40 percent of their food? I didn’t want to be a part of that statistic by cooking more food than my husband and I could eat. Plus, because he hates leftovers I was continually searching for clever ways to disguise or reinvent the leftovers. So, I asked myself, “Why not just cook the right amount of food in the first place?”
“I’m delighted that I could transform my own empty-nester situation into a gratifying cookbook that helps people in small households eat the foods they love––without the ingredients that make them sick”, says Carol, who founded Savory Palate in 1995 because other publishers didn’t believe there was a need for gluten-free cookbooks back then.
The Gluten-Free Market
Today, demand for gluten-free food rises steadily due to better detection of celiac disease which afflicts 1:133 or nearly 3 million Americans and is considered the nation’s most common inherited autoimmune disorder. Celiacs must avoid gluten because it prevents absorption of nutrients in food––leading to anemia, osteoporosis, and other complications such as cancer. Untreated, it can be fatal.
“In addition,” Carol says, “another 18 million of us have non-celiac gluten/wheat-sensitivity, where symptoms reduce our quality of life with annoying —though rarely life-threatening––headaches, rashes, stomach aches, and fatigue.” “Or,” she adds, “in my case it was chronic nasal congestion that led to a lifetime of sinusitis, extreme fatigue, and brain fog.” My book makes it possible for small households to enjoy gluten-free food in perfectly-proportioned meals which is terribly important because eating gluten-free food is the only treatment for these medical conditions. There is no drug, vaccine, surgery, or any preventive measures.
“Some people think that it’s easy to scale down a full-size recipe to serve two people. I learned that some recipes are easier than others and the more ingredients, the more complicated it gets because the ingredients must remain in the right proportions to each other for good flavor, texture, and appearance.
“The bottom line is that gluten-free people in small households can still eat well—with right-size meals that are perfectly-proportioned. Even if you’re living solo, these small-scale recipes will work for you.”