Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef: A Love Story

Shauna James Ahern and Daniel Ahern, Wiley, $35.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-470-41971-7
In the blogosphere, food writing has become more personal than ever, and Shauna James Ahern has led the pack with her blog about living with celiac disease, "The Gluten-Free Girl"; a recipestudded memoir of the same name; and now, a new hybrid memoir/cookbook artfully weaving words and flavors. This book also has an added ingredient: the titular chef, her husband Daniel Ahern (the Hardware Store on Vashon Island, Wash.) who brings his considerable culinary expertise to bear on the proceedings. Instead of distinct chapters, the contents are divided into two parts, "At Home" and "In the Restaurant." While the introduction does little to orient readers to the book's unconventional organization, it sets the tone for the highly intimate, lyrical essays that follow, covering the pair's whirlwind romance from meeting and eating ("That First Bite") to an Italian honeymoon, then cooking for three. The recipes interspersed throughout let readers in on the sophisticated and inspired gluten-free treats that the pair has shared through their courtship and marriage: halibut with millet, carrot-fennel salad and golden raisin sauce; pan-seared beef tenderloin with port sauce and balsamic onions; blue cheese cheesecake with a fig crust; and even a gluten-free crusty bread recipe. Occasionally, the Aherns stray into the TMI zone with their lusty references, but overall, this is an accomplished collection, with plenty to offer serious home cooks, the gluten-eaters and gluten-free among them. Photos. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 05/31/2010
Release date: 09/01/2010
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-1-118-38357-5
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