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Against the Grain: The Slightly Eccentric Guide to Living Well Without Gluten or Wheat Paperback – June 15, 1996


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New and Popular Cookbooks for Fall
Get inspired with new and popular cookbooks and other food-related titles in Fall into Cooking.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 291 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt (June 15, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805036253
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805036251
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,757,928 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"An informative, and yes, slightly eccentric guide. "-Library Journal

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 50 people found the following review helpful By amyamanda on May 27, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is not a cookbook (although there are a few recipes in the back). It's more like a survival manual or a book-length pep talk, specifically written for people with celiac sprue, which is a severe form of gluten intolerance. But I'm finding the ideas and encouragement are applicable to anyone who is gluten-free or wheat-free for any reason, and in fact they're even worth skimming by anyone dealing with food allergies or other significant dietary changes (such as cutting out dairy or sugar). It's a funny and well-written book, including sections on anti-cheating strategies, restaurant assertiveness training, and etiquette for people with dietary restrictions, along with the expected list of product suggestions (with extensive mail-order information). I've looked at a *lot* of special diet cookbooks and guidebooks in the past couple of years, and have been disappointed by most of them because they frankly haven't had much in them that I hadn't already learned somewhere. This book is a fresh exception. I would have liked to see more specifics on various baking substitutions (maybe in the next edition?), and there is a lot of product information that may be regional or get outdated (so I expect a second edition would be a good idea), but even with those minor imperfections I still would highly recommend this book.
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53 of 57 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 9, 1999
Format: Paperback
Against the Grain is a must for people with Celiac Disease. I found the book extremely helpful in learning to cope with the gluten free lifestyle. Make note that some products mentioned in the book as being gluten free, are in fact not currently gluten free. (For example, Rice Dream contains gluten.) So be careful when reviewing food recommendations, they quickly become outdated and should be used as a guideline for calling manufacturers to confirm whether they are in fact gluten free.
There is an on-line gluten free list available at:
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 20, 1997
Format: Paperback
I was diagnosed with C.D. a year ago and my doctor said I had to buy this book. It was the first time I laughed, as well as cried and it gave me the courage to go right out to the nearest restaurant. I now take a copy whenever I travel and my sister and aunt use their copies whenever I visit. I'm not a victim anymore...Not only was it incredibly informative, it was wonderfully entertaining.
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Lalalalaura on September 17, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book has multiple personalities. One is a personal story of coming to terms with having celiac disease. Another is lists of resources for the gluten intolerant. And a third kind of mixes the two -- tells how the author was able to come to terms with things because she developed strategies for living and eating.

First of all, it's really important to know that a lot of the information about what you can and can't eat is just plain wrong. Some of that is because these things become outdated quickly, but some is less understandable than that. For instance, she says that while cream soups are likely to have gluten in them, broths won't. That's totally untrue -- most of the common brands of broth do have gluten in them. And it's a particularly odd mistake to be making given that on other things, she advocates being far more careful than the standard resources do. Like she says don't use distilled vinegar because it MIGHT be distilled from wheat, but again, everything else I've read on this subject says that 1) it's probably not distilled from wheat but more importantly 2) the distillation process removes gluten.

So if you're going to get this book, get it for the personal part, about how she dealt with her diagnosis. It's pretty entertaining and there's some value to being reminded that you're not the only one. That said, while I think it's valuable to have something to read in that area, I'd say she's more than just slightly eccentric. A lot of her stories about how her friends reacted to her diagnosis seem like extreme worst-case scenarios -- suffice it to say that I was diagnosed long before I was as sick as she describes herself as having been, yet my friends were a lot more sympathetic than she says hers were.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 23, 1998
Format: Paperback
... is the first line of the book. And after reading this book, you'll no longer occassionally wish you were. Bread - wheat - is such a huge part of the American diet that it seems like there's NOTHING to eat without it. This book is wonderfully funny, easy to read, and extremely informative. If you have celiac, or if you're close to someone who does, BUY THIS BOOK!
The only thing it's missing is info for those of us with both celiac and diabetes. (A common combo). Otherwise, I can't praise it enough.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 21, 1998
Format: Paperback
I only received the tentative news of C.D. 4 short days ago and I told my husband I wasn't going to "run out and buy some stupid book" ... However, after 2 well-meaning relatives quipped that C.D. would be the ultimate weight-loss program ... I stomped to the bookstore, looking for some kind of solace ... After nearly 30 minutes, there seemed to be nothing and it seemed cruel to put the books alpha by general cooking subject, so there was Ms. Lowell's lifesaver, snug in between "Perfect Homemade Pasta!" and "Sumptuous Bread, Every Time!" I don't normally read books in bookstores, I feel like its one step from shoplifting. But somehow I sat down and read and read, laughing and crying and nodding and pumping my fist in the air and having such a delightful conversation with my new imaginary friend ... At page 87 and nearly 2 hours later, I realized I owed the nice bookstore people some money. I'm sure I'll have better perspective 6 months from now ... but at this very moment, this book was truly a lifeline.
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