While food allergies are rather widely accepted now, that wasn't the case in the 80's and early 90's. My food allergies (coupled with asthma) caused many a trip to the hospital for my parents as I started eating solid foods. Over the next decade, my mother was constantly cautioning waitresses and the mom's of my friends. While some things are universal, having a child with allergies to wheat, eggs, and nuts was more difficult when I was a child (and for generations before me). Food labels have gotten far more precise and easy to read, even though cautions often exclude foods unnecessarily. After the Akins diet crazy, no one asks if your hamburger with no bun is for the family dog, which some one did actually ask my father one time, much to his chagrin. Schools are also more sensitive to these issues, though I'm sure there are still kids like myself who dread planning the class Fill-in-the-blank Holiday Party knowing they can't eat anything being discussed.
I plan to use this page to share information and products that have helped me with my allergies.
Even though you can buy pancake mix now, here is the recipe we've used for me for over twenty years. This is a modified recipe from Dr. Mandell's Allergy Free Cookbook (1981).
1/2 cup rice flour (Bob's Red Mill seems to be a popular brand for all types of flours)
1/2 cup corn flour
3 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
Mixing the dry ingredients is pretty simple. The key here is to SLOWLY add the milk just a little bit at a time until you have a batter. If you add too much, it gets to watery. If you let the batter sit and it gets to thick, add more milk. The recipe says you can substitute juice or water for milk, but we've never tried it.
Yield: Three really big pancakes. We usually make a double batch and then use a 1/3 of a cup at a time. That way I only have to make it every 6 weeks (pancakes are our Sunday morning tradition).
Cherrybrook Kitchen: I LOVE these people! Until then, I had never had cookies or cake. Without them, I would have not eaten cake at my own wedding. They have two lines of foods, one with wheat / gluten and one without (Gluten Free Dreams). My family says that the special versions taste the same as normal versions. They have a blog here on Blogger, too.
Tinkyada: Growing up, my father would go to a Chinese foods store to buy rice noddles for me to eat when the family has spagetti. I enjoyed them, but I love this company's rice pasta so much more. The pasta isn't sticky and tastes less overwhelmingly like white rice. Also, it is much easier to cook and can be used as leftovers (where as the Chinese rice noodles made a mess and turned to a sticky mush if you tried to reheat them). At first, we only found the small pasta pieces, but I was very excited when we recently discovered the Spinach spagetti and veggie mixed pasta. Again, my husband claims it tastes very close to normal wheat pasta.
Mrs. Leeper's meals: This is our most recent find. When they remodeled our Walmart, a gluten free section was included in the baking aisle. These boxed dinners are the same as the Hamburger Helper my husband loves and grew up with. We have tried three kinds so far and really loved the Cheeseburger Macaroni and Lasagna. Since it makes so much, we freeze half of it. It is a little mushier after being defrosted, but still acceptable.
Namaste Gluten Free Pizza Crust Mix: This is also a pretty recent find. Until we got this, I'd never had anything like pizza and was even worried I wouldn't like it at all. However, this has become a happy addition to our menu. My husband can eat it just like regular pizza. Its also free of like every other allergen: soy, corn, potato, all nuts, dairy, and casein. I would venture to say that its no more difficult to make then regular pizza dough from scratch. Its a two step process. First, you mix and spread the ingredients, and let them cook. Then you put on the toppings and cook it again. First timers, beware that the dough can rise dramatically if there are air bubbles! Our first one looked like a giant whoopee cushion. Just poke it with a fork or knife, and it will deflate.
Ener-G Bread: At one point, I was eating a brown rice bread that came frozen. It was a huge hassle and always came out too mushy or hard. Then, I tried this company since it is not frozen. I tried several varieties and have landed on the tapioca as my favorite. They make other products, but I have not seen them in stores to try them.
Annie's Gluten Free Mac and Cheese
Gillian's Bread Crumbs. These are made in a gluten, wheat, and nut free environment. There are only five ingredients: rice flour, water, yeast, salt, and sugar. Thus far, we've used them successfully on fish and chicken. They are unseasoned, thus making them easy to use with any recipe.
Ener-G Egg Replacer
Mariani is one brand of reasonably price, good quality dried fruit that is not contaminated by peanuts. We buy the cherries, but they make other varieties. Brothers all Natural makes packets of freeze dried fruits (apples, pears, and strawberry & banana) that are also nut free. Finding nut free fruit products has been a challenge for me over the years.
Brach's candy corn is egg free by the way. Confectioner's glaze can have eggs, so I wrote to them and asked about it. They wrote back telling me their glaze does not contain eggs. However, it does have an allergen warning on the package.