Google+ Allergy-Free Vintage Cookery: What's a mom to do?


Saturday, July 30, 2011

What's a mom to do?

This summer, after years of suspecting our family was suffering from rampant food allergies, I finally bit the bullet and got everyone tested.  I knew my three boys had trouble with dairy, but I was shocked to see how many other food items were on their list of sensitivities.  Wheat, eggs, corn, apples, carrots (huh?), lemon, white beans, cashews, molds (aged foods), grapes.... the list seemed endless.  As I started to leaf through my recipe books and files for something appropriate to eat, it dawned on me that I was standing at the edge of a brand new chapter in my life.

On bad days, I think of it as the Year of No Food, but on better days I see it as a chance to start fresh -- in more ways than one.  We all rely on a short list of favorite meals, but our list seemed to shrink over the years as I gave in to the children's moaning about dinners they didn't like.  While I love home-cooked comfort food, I have also been guilty lately of turning to convenience food to save me on those days when every boy in the house needed to be driven to a different sporting field at the same time, and I didn't start planning dinner early enough to get something on the table in time.  It really was time to re-think my approach to cooking.

To make my new challenge just a little more fun (ha!), my husband decided to go vegan at the same time the boys' allergies were diagnosed.  Not just meatless, but chicken broth-less, butter-less, and oil free.  Yes, oil.  He read that one can reverse heart disease on an extremely low fat diet.  (sigh.....)

Surprisingly, I have been able to dig up some recipes that not only meet our rigid dietary criteria, but are also natural and taste good.  By natural, I mean that these recipes do not include those dubious substitutes  like soy "cheez" and tofurkey.  Vintage style and homemaking are passions of mine, and I just could not make room for rubbery fake meats in that worldview.  And did I mention we have some soy allergies too?

So I set out to compile a new cookbook for myself of "normal" food that is allergen-free.  Some of the recipes I've found come from World War II rationing booklets, some from Lenten recipe books, and others from my large collection of antique cookbooks.  Each is marked with the allergens it does not include.  The best part of my search has been the thrill of realizing that I can still cook cute vintage things for tea parties, mother's day brunches, and big family holiday dinners.  A wheat-free, egg-free and dairy-free tea bread?  Yes, please.  A completely vegetarian Easter buffet?  I'll take it.  After all, tofurkey just doesn't look right on vintage Fiesta Ware.

Happy cooking, and I'd love to hear about your adventures in allergy-free cooking!

Shared with Once Upon a Weekend at Family Ever After and Strut Your Stuff Saturday at Six Sisters' Stuff and Any Linky Goes at Bacon Time with the Hungry Hypo.


  1. Good luck! I've been struggling with being dairy free which only developed in the last year and has gotten worse. I look forward to hearing how your family fares!

  2. Oh makes me feel lucky that we don't have any allergies to food. Thanks for sharing at Bacon Time. Can't wait to see what tasty treats you share this week.

  3. I'm in the middle of diagnosing my 9-month-old son's food allergies (particularly since his previous pediatrician wouldn't!). I'm happy to have found your blog! It's been book-marked and now I need to sit down and plan meals...again. Now that I expect bean allergies I'm back to the drawing board! Reading your experience gives me hope! Thanks for the resource!