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Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef: A Love Story with 100 Tempting Recipes

Average Rating 2.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

1 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

Gluten Free Girl and the Chef

gluten-free girl and the chef by Shauna James Ahern & Daniel Ahern, $29.95, Hardcover (Wiley)


Since, as Shauna James Ahern states, one in one hundred people are suffering from celiac disease, the intended audience is obviously a broad one. Chances are, you have at...
gluten-free girl and the chef by Shauna James Ahern & Daniel Ahern, $29.95, Hardcover (Wiley)


Since, as Shauna James Ahern states, one in one hundred people are suffering from celiac disease, the intended audience is obviously a broad one. Chances are, you have at least one friend who is suffering, and probably more that just aren't aware of it. With that said, its obvious why "gluten free" is becoming a trend in the United States. The Gluten Free Girl and the Chef treat their readers like family. They are assuming that the readers are in the same battle, which is a quality of the book that will draw you in immediately.


The book is divided into two main parts. The first, at home, includes heart-warming stories of how the Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef met and fell in love. Their courtship, their struggles, their laughs, even their flatulence (his specifically). This is done with the same engaging approach as the beginning introductions. The Gluten-Free Girl has a wonderful way of making you a friend through her writing. Each story is followed by a recipe that accompanied the shared moment in her life. Over 10 recipes that Ahern shares, and over 10 stories about her romance and fight through this disease.


The second part is the recipes regarding James Ahern's restaurant. It was well thought out to include slightly less stories and more tips on the recipes. These recipes are more in depth and difficult for the "at home" cook, and the tips are well used. The most difficult recipes have exact descriptions of each and every step, making it a breeze to follow, and keeping the fear out of cooking at this level.


The photography, by Lara Ferroni, was beautiful. It was simple, elegant, and gave the recipes the final touch. Having a visual finishing point, and such an elegant one was a bonus. The photographs graced almost every other page, and some full pages.


This cookbook, a term I use loosely, since it seemed a page-turning love story with recipes mixed in, is a must have for any kitchen. Odds are, you will need to know how to cook gluten-free and even better odds are, you will want to cook gluten free. The Gluten-free Girl and the Chef invite you into their homes and their hearts, and fill your belly in the process. I felt honored to read this book, and my guests who required a gluten-free diet, surely felt loved when I produced for them.

posted by Chefwife on September 26, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

10 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

Really wanted to like it, but....

I really wanted to like this book. I love the concept and was hoping for some great new ideas... but this book was not for me. The meatloaf, roasted eggs with potatoes, fig and blue cheese salad and roast chicken are fine, but these foods are naturally gluten-free and I...
I really wanted to like this book. I love the concept and was hoping for some great new ideas... but this book was not for me. The meatloaf, roasted eggs with potatoes, fig and blue cheese salad and roast chicken are fine, but these foods are naturally gluten-free and I have tried and true versions that I now know I prefer. I was hoping for recipes adapted from the gluten versions- not more recipes that one can find just about anywhere. The pear tart recipe in particular is terribly unappealing and doesn't really work (and I am an experienced baker), and the "pizza" recipe is just a cracker recipe where you are meant to add pizza toppings (and it's quite difficult to find- nothing listed under "pizza"). Such a disappointment if you're looking for something remotely like the true Neapolitan delight we all miss. It's odd in that sense- this book is not comprehensive enough to be a primer for new bakers, but there is also not much information for those who want to move beyond the basics into more complex baking creations. After having made a few of them, these recipes remind me of Martha Stewart's recipes: lots of work and expensive ingredients for just OK results. All in all, I am not sure that I would describe these recipes as "tempting." The writing is quite condescending and rude in some places (this couple must be terribly insecure), the soppiness goes on for a bit too long for my taste, and the cover is odd... like someone who didn't know how to use the proper computer programme cobbled it together. I don't expect something slick and unrealistic, but I wasn't quite prepared for this. It looks like one of those low-quality cookbooks specially made for an American big-box warehouse bargain bin shelf. In addition, there are some layout mistakes, actual misspellings and contradicting sentences that I found confusing. I can only fault the editor here, and I hope these authors stand firm on this point next time. On a final note, I was very put off by the author telling those on facebook to write good reviews and give positive marks on amazon, to counter some reviews that she didn't like but were in fact quite fair. She encouraged her fans to bully a few poor reviewers on amazon who were expressing their honest opinions. At that point, I'd bought the book and wanted to give it a chance, but it left an unpleasant taste in my mouth. I tried to donate this to my local library and they didn't want it- apparently the last one by this author didn't do well, and didn't even sell at their annual dollar sale. Not sure what I will do with it now. I wish I had trusted some of the amazon reviews more fully.

posted by GwynethIona on October 7, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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