December 8, 2011


Years ago a naturopath advised me to eat fewer wheat products and with the intention of following her advice, I purchased a cookbook entitled “Going Against the Grain” by Phyllis Potts, a writer whom I believe resides in Oregon. For a time I used the wheat free recipes religiously though now days, I confess I tend to thaw rather than cook my meals.

Recently, I had coffee with a friend who said her daughter had been diagnosed with a wheat allergy.  Remembering the Potts’ book, I mentioned the title. My friend looked dubious and I understood why.  Most of these alternative food books turn out recipes that taste like wool flannel. But I’m happy to assure anyone that Miss Potts’ book is an exception.

(Amazon books)

After saying goodbye to my friend, I returned home and pulled the little book off the shelf, having forgotten it for several years. The pages containing my favorite recipes showed evidence of wear — still flour-coated or sticky with dabs of honey. I thought kindly of Miss Potts as I revisited these pages. Thanks to her, I’d escaped many a dreary meal.   

With the holidays approaching, I’d like to recommend “Going Against the Grain” as a gift for someone with a wheat allergy. Under Potts’ careful tutelage, those cakes and pies and biscuits that formerly were a no-no will become a happy yes-yes.

The book is still in print and under $10. The recipes are delicious, easy to prepare and the ingredients are available in any supermarket with a health food section. What’s more, they are good for you. (I hope this detail doesn’t put anyone off)

Julia Child loved her food and the more caloric and cholesterol ridden the better. She’d probably turn in her grave at the thought of food being deemed healthful. Still, I wish “Bon Appetite” to allergy sufferers who manage to get their hands on “Going Against the Grain.” The recipes will rescue a holiday season that might otherwise loom like a dark, gastronomic cloud.