The second edition of Judith Finlayson’s The Healthy Slow Cooker: 135 Gluten-Free Recipes for Health and Wellness comes out this March from Robert Rose Inc. Originally published in 2006, the first edition was wildly successful—selling close to 95,000 copies.
Robert Dees, president of Robert Rose Inc., believes there are a number of factors contributing to the popularity of gluten-free cookbooks. First is the increased media coverage of the problems associated with gluten intolerance and gluten allergies. “I thought this had peaked three years ago,” Dees says, “but the coverage continues to grow. The increased awareness has made consumers consider gluten-free diets as an option for treating and remediating intestinal problems.”
Dees also points out that many gluten-free grains are “ancient grains” such as quinoa, which are thought to be extremely beneficial. “It also reflects a trend towards ever more personalized health and nutrition programs and diets,” says Dees, who adds that gluten-free books sell strongly in all markets. He points out that many processed food makers are developing and promoting gluten-free products—a sure sign of just how broad the market reach is for gluten-free.
Another March publication is America’s Test Kitchen: How Can it be Gluten Free Cookbook. Jack Bishop, editorial director of America's Test Kitchen says, "During the past few years, we have been inundated with requests for gluten-free recipes from magazine subscribers and television viewers. And at every public event, someone asks if the test kitchen can make gluten-free versions of their favorite dishes. "
According to Bishop, the book’s premise is simple: “Develop recipes that are good enough to serve to everyone—including those who can eat wheat. We focused on recipes that are the hardest to get right without flour—lasagna, pizza, apple pie, fried chicken, banana bread. Recipes had to meet the same standards for quality that we use for all the test kitchen’s work.”
The Experiment is another publishing house with many gluten-free titles. Associate editor Molly Cavanaugh explains, “We’re living in probably the best time ever to be gluten-free. Mainstream companies like Pillsbury and General Mills are putting out gluten-free products, gluten-free bakeries are as common as cupcakes, and awareness is way up. Still, most Americans consume gluten every day (primarily in wheat) and have no idea where to begin when it comes to cooking gluten-free. That’s why gluten-free cookbooks are so necessary, and selling so well."
The Experiment’s publisher Matthew Lore adds, “Our roster of gluten-free titles sell everywhere you can think of, from the leading on-line and brick-and-mortar retailers to health food stores (and the specialty wholesalers who sell to them), catalog outfits, libraries, and more."
According to Lore, Kelli and Peter Bronski, the authors of several strong-selling gluten-free books (and authors of the forthcoming Gluten-Free Family Favorites) attended ALA’s annual show a few years ago with their Artisanal Gluten-Free Cupcakes—and had a big turnout for their demo at ALA’s cooking stage, with a line of more than 100 librarians interested in speaking with them.