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Monday, August 07, 2006

200 Best Lactose-Free Recipes

There are only a dozen or so cookbooks featuring lactose-free recipes. I know them all. I have them listed on my website, in my Milk-Free Bookstore on the Milk- and Lactose-Free Books page.

You could have knocked me over with a cow full of soy milk, therefore, when I walked into a library and found a book I had never heard of.

The book was 200 Best Lactose-Free Recipes, by Jan Main. She doesn't actually have lactose intolerance herself, but she does suffer from dairy allergies, so the dairy-free concept is important to her. It's got the latest and trendiest recipes. Back in 1978, when I first learned I was lactose intolerant I wouldn't have had any idea what in the world to do with a recipe called "Kale Tart with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Pine Nuts." And health info is all over the place. Each recipe has its nutritional value calculations, along with percentage of calories from proteins, fats, and carbohydrates.

Most of the recipes aren't too hard to figure out: you substitute lactose-free milk or soy milk for regular milk. Well, it's a little more complicated than that. Main writes:

Tofu and soy milk both have a bland, flat flavor. When I worked with them in the recipes, I found it necessary to add more spices or herbs than I would have if I had been using a milk product. If you try to adapt some of your own recipes, remember that you cannot substitute soy milk or tofu directly for milk or milk products and expect exactly the same taste results. The soy foods seem to absorb flavorings. However, once additional flavoring is added, the recipe should be tasty.

In the case of soy milk, it may be necessary to add ingredients with more color or to add a garnish to compensate for the beige color of the dishes.


That's the kind of insight that makes lactose-free cookbooks invaluable.

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