Book Review: Gluten-Free on a Shoestring

There is more than one reason why Gluten-Free on a Shoestring by Nicole Hunn is a really good resource for those of us with wheat sensitivies, allergies, or restrictions.

First, Nicole offers some sound tips for frugal living in general, specifically with regard to groceries and more specifically with regard to gluten-free items.  She lists what makes up a well-stocked GF pantry, including a shopping check list that can be easily recreated for ready use.  Following this discussion is information on what items are best bought locally and which come with better value when purchased in bulk and/or online.

Second, there are recipes. 125 of them, to be exact. These fall into several categories. There are recipes that serve as the basis for several other recipes. There are recipes that use gluten-free flours (and xantham gum). There are recipes that are made with store-bought gluten free items (such as pasta). There are recipes that were always gluten free, e.g., corn bread, but still deserve a place in this book. There are vegetarian, appetizer, bread, dessert, main course recipes. The book covers a good spectrum.

As far as flavor goes, there is nothing boring about these gluten free recipes. In the beginning of the book, there’s a little history of  Hunn’s trials with converting recipes to gluten free. I, for one, am glad she shares both the trials and the recipes for the final results of her research.  Recipes include  flour tortillas, mac and cheese, scones, sweet potato biscuits, white sandwich bread (which looks indiscernible from standard white bread), vegetarian recipes, done-over favorite main courses (meatloaf and chicken pot pie), brownies, icings, and a plethora of cookie recipes, too!

Store-bought GF finished products and mixes are expensive. A loaf of bread rings in at about $6.00; 4 muffins are the same; a brownie mix is $3.00, at least. Hunn, at the end of select recipes, rewards our choosing home cooking over buying gluten-free food stuffs by comparing the value of the home cooked version vs. the cost of it’s store-bought cousin. For example, making a pastry crust from the recipe in this book will cost the baker $1.25/crust. The prepared frozen version sells for $3.00. That’s a huge savings!

This book is a solid reference for folks who cook and bake gluten free.  If you’re concerned about getting the best value for your GF shopping and cooking, Gluten-Free on a Shoestring is a good addition to your library.

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