Thursday, August 27, 2009

Egg & Dairy-free Italian Cooking-- Is it Possible?

I was seven and my mom and dad took my brother and I out to an upscale Italian restaurant. I remember the tables were dressed with linens, little vases with fresh flowers, and water glasses. The dining room was barely lit with candles and I just knew we were in for something special.

When it came time for the server to take our orders I had to order a meat patty and steamed vegetables. Being allergic to so many things as a child, a hamburger patty was the extent of my fine dining experience.

The food arrived and I looked around at all of the yummy pasta dishes with red sauce and white sauce. I imagined what a bite of rolled up pasta and red sauce would taste like together. I loved ketchup and it's red, so this stuff had to be good.

I enjoyed my patty, but I sat there and dreamed of the day I could try Italian cuisine.

Not too many years later, my mom started experimenting with substitutions to create egg-free and dairy-free Italian dinners for me to try. I don't want to be too dramatic, but I fell in love with Italian cuisine. This stuff is amazing. My mom learned how to make lasagna, stuffed shells, pasta and sauce, and so many other great dishes. There were new tastes and sensations in my mouth that I had never experienced before. The words creamy, rich and cheesy took on a whole new meaning for me. Some of these delicious recipes are in her cookbook, Cooking for Food Allergies Everyday & Gourmet. They had to be in there!

To this day, I prepare something from the Italian variety at least once a week.

Nicolle Avery

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