Book Review: Gluten is my Bitch by April Peveteaux

Book Review:
Gluten is my Bitch: Rants, Recipes and Ridiculousness for the Gluten-Free—by April Peveteaux

Review by Christine A. Krahling

Peveteaux dedicates Gluten is my Bitch to her mom, with a parenthetical note that says, “Sorry for all the cursing.” Readers; however should not be at all sorry. This book is a gem, written by someone who is not afraid to call the gluten-free life what it often is—hard. (Peveteaux prefaces the word “hard” in her book with a colorful adjective that I’ll leave to your imagination, dear reader.)

While the 50 recipes Peveteaux provides are mouth-watering enough to get you to flip through the book, it’s her no-holds-barred advice and sound information that keep you hooked—and wanting more. She covers everything—sneaky sources of gluten; the abundance of produce, cheese and meat that celiacs can enjoy; cross-contamination; how to dine out on various ethnic cuisines, and the even more delicate situations of how to handle it when your child has celiac disease and how to address well-meaning relatives who say, “Oh, surely she can have a little” [gluten]. For a real laugh-riot, see Page 113—“Who Are the People in Your (Gluten-Free) Neighborhood, to deal with friends who seem disappointed (read: inconvenienced) by your new gluten-free diet.

In the section titled, “A Short Conversation About Flour,” Peveteaux discusses  a few different brands and offers suggestions on which flours to use for baking and cooking, as well as explaining what xanthan gum is--along with when you need it and when you don’t--vital information for the newly-diagnosed celiac.  

Bottom line: Run, don’t walk, to your nearest bookstore (yes, I still shop at real bookstores, and you should, too!) to grab a copy of Gluten is my Bitch. You may still not give thanks every day for being diagnosed with celiac disease after reading it but you’ll certainly be able to brave the condition armed with some solid information, good laughs and fabulous recipes to boot.

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A few yummy-sounding recipes to try:

  • Prize Coffee Cake with Streusel Filling
  • Crispy Garlic Smashed Potatoes
  • The Most Amazing Mac & Cheese You’ll Ever Eat
  • Italian Cream Cake
  • Jell-O Shots, Three Ways (yes readers, she went there, booze and all!)

Classic quotes from Gluten is my Bitch:

On being a writer in the digital age:  “After all, I’m just a writer, and we all know how the Internet has ruined all of our chances of ever making money again. So thank you for buying this book and allowing me to purchase my very expensive gluten-free saltines.”

On having “amazing restaurant experiences” as a celiac: “I also know that a little charm goes a long way. Don’t rule out a low-cut blouse, ladies. OK, that might have just crossed a line. But I’m not here to judge, just to provide helpful suggestions other than “kick some ass, and take some gluten-free names.”

On people who follow a gluten-free diet for “hipster” reasons: “It’s totally true that you’re helping to spread awareness, if not annoyance, and for that I suppose I should thank you. So thanks for letting everyone know that there’s something called a ‘gluten-free diet.’ Your work is done here; now please move on.”