In WITF's Kitchen with Chef Donna Desfor

Review - Danielle Walker's Against All Grain Celebrations: A Year of Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, and Paleo Recipes for Every Occasion

Written by Chef Donna Desfor | Jan 13, 2017 6:02 PM
Danielle Walker's Against All Grain Celebrations

Danielle Walker's Against All Grain Celebrations: A Year of Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, and Paleo Recipes for Every Occasion, by Danielle Walker, copyright © 2016. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC."  
Photography credit: Erin Kunkel © 2016

Our Summary:

Food brings with it some of our most cherished memories.  We can virtually recall - and long for - the tastes and the aromas from parties, holidays, and events that brought with them delicious food.  When your diet changes, for whatever reason, it's these memories that leave people wishing and even longing for what they can't have.  Danielle Walker, who suffered for years with a debilitating autoimmune disease, has remade classic dishes for our most cherished celebrations.  And though the collection is dubbed "gluten-free, dairy-free and paleo," these recipes are flexible enough to satisfy vegetarians or anyone that is looking for a healthy alternative to traditional holiday fare.

What you need to know:

Get it:  Published by Ten Speed Press, September 27, 2016; Hardcover $35.00 (Amazon starting at $20.23; Kindle $18.99).
See it:  352 Pages with color photos of all the finished recipes; the section on basic recipes (almond milk, blender bread, cashew milk, mayonnaise, pickled onions, etc.) has no photos.  There is no table of contents.
Make it:  125 grain-free, dairy-free, gluten-free and paleo recipes curated into menus for 12-special occasions ranging from game day, to baby/bridal shower, to thanksgiving with all the fixings and pies to go with it, and the seasonal holidays.

Our review:

Our modern food culture requires us to consider special dietary needs or restrictions for a variety of reasons.  If you live within these parameters, or simply like to entertain, Danielle Walker's Against All Grain Celebrations may just be the cookbook you've been looking for.

Without a table of contents, it can be bothersome to navigate the book, though each section starts with a 2 page spread color photo of an inviting celebratory or party table scene, and on the following page a menu.  It's not too hard to land on the event or season you're looking to cook from.  Still, without page numbers along with the menu page recipes, you do have to flip through each section until you land on what you are looking for. 

Cooking from Walker's recipes isn't too difficult.  Each reads in a straightforward, methodical manner.  If you are used to cooking grain-free, dairy- and gluten-free the list of ingredients won't surprise you.  If this is your first foray, you will quickly be out the door searching for things such as white chia seeds, coconut flour, raw honey, palm shortening, sunflower seed butter, coconut sugar and arrowroot powder.  A daunting task depending on your geography, though Amazon.com is always an alternative.  If you are committed to cooking this way - or simply have to - Walker's first 20 pages will delight you as she guides you through the ingredients and your kitchen needs.  And, the last 12 pages of basic recipes including almond and cashew milk, basic pie pastry, blender bread, and grain-free baking powder are lifesavers.  She's even captured the nutritional information for each recipe for you, but on her website. 

Still, when the holidays beckon and you find that normal kitchen conventions are going to preclude you or those around your table from enjoying things like maple pumpkin pie or a chocolate pecan tart, cakes, and cookies, or whoopie pies, caramel pecan sticky buns or salted caramel-chocolate panna cotta, finding the ingredients and cooking through this book will prove worthwhile.  There are classics and celebratory staples such as pork ribs, honey-glazed ham, cabernet-braised short ribs and wedge salad with herb ranch dressing that don't require much altering to fit Walker's bill.  And then she hits you with her baked "beans" and herbed drop biscuits that despite being so far from what you'd think, keep you happy that you've found a suitable alternative.

Walker's Celebrations is not for everyone, though everyone should have a copy of it in their library.  And, when you need it or must use it, you'll be grateful that someone has paved the way through a dairy-free, gluten-free and paleo year of parties and holidays.

The Recipes (Reprinted with permission from Danielle Walker's Against All Grain Celebrations: A Year of Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, and Paleo Recipes for Every Occasion by Danielle Walker, copyright © 2016. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC." Photography credit: Erin Kunkel © 2016):

Curry Pumpkin Soup

Green Bean Casserole with Crispy Shallots

Garlic Rosemary Rib Roast

Published in Donna Marie Desfor

Tagged under , , ,

back to top

Give Now

Food Sponsor

Dutch honey Gold

Support for WITF is provided by:

Become a WITF sponsor today »