I was sent a copy of Gluten Is My Bitch: Rants, Recipes, and Ridiculousness for the Gluten-Free by April Peveteaux to review. I’ve experimented with going gluten-free, but my trial was pretty short-lived. So I thought the review would be more useful coming from my friend, R.D., who has celiac disease and truly needs to eat gluten-free. Here’s what she had to say …
As the title suggests, the author is funny, but rather brash. Some newly-diagnosed people might find it too abrasive at first (when I was first diagnosed, I was an overly-sensitive self-contained pity-party that could cry at the drop of a bread basket!). But Peveteaux is completely right that the best way to approach this diagnosis is with humor and honesty, and she has a lot of great tips. Also, she is candid about the fact that her humor comes from a bitterness about having to be gluten-free. She even directly addresses those annoying hipsters who choose to be GF (and vegan or paleo). Anyone who has to be GF will ultimately connect with this book.
The book starts out as a how-to guide on figuring out whether you need to be GF. Peveteaux’s story is entirely too familiar: no problems with gluten until a sudden onset of horrible stomach/bathroom problems without an obvious source, then invasive medical testing and a diagnosis of Celiac disease. Anyone who has been through this process will find Peveteaux’s descriptions recognizable and humorous. She also addresses those lucky people who discover a gluten intolerance/allergy without having stomach/bathroom problems. Later, she tackles how to deal with a child’s diagnosis, including several helpful tips about hidden sources of gluten in a child’s life (who would have even thought about Playdough?) and suggestions on snacks for GF kids of different ages.
Because the book is a sort of hybrid between an introduction to going GF and a recipe book, it actually does not include very many recipes. However, the recipes I tried were all good, easy, and excellent resources for someone new to GF living. They are the types of foods you fear you will not be able to eat ever again on a GF diet (chicken fried steak?!), and they do not taste at all GF.
I will say the recipes sometimes needed a little spicing up for my taste, but each was easily adaptable. For example, the macaroni and cheese was excellent, but next time I will add a little extra flavor – maybe some bacon or a more pungent cheese like gorgonzola. The Cowboy crepes were so good even my gluten-full boyfriend really enjoyed them. The chess pie (which I had never heard of) certainly lived up to its description as causing a “sugar coma” and was delicious!
Peveteaux also provides good gluten-free cooking tips that will save a lot of time and bad experimentation. I wish someone would have told me not to eat GF dough (the terrible flavor of what looked like delicious chocolate chip cookie dough caused me some serious psychological damage), and that I could have saved a ton of time and frustration (and ended up with a better tasting pie) by just buying a frozen GF pie crust from Whole Foods instead of trying to make a GF crust from scratch.
Overall, I think this book is a really good resource for anyone new to the GF diet.
Thanks for your perspective, R.D.! (And I don’t remember any pity parties when you were newly diagnosed.)