Interview with Cybele Pascal, Cookbook Author

in Food Allergy
Published: November 21, 2011

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GS: Do you ever spring some of your baking on the unallergic, and then after they’ve tasted, tell them what’s ‘not’ in it?
CP: “Actually, I do it all the time. Last year, at my son’s year-end school picnic, I brought my fudge brownies to the picnic and just put them out on the table with all the other foods. That was the one baked good that completely disappeared. Everyone was saying, ‘yum, your brownies are so good!’ and they didn’t know they were gluten-free, allergen-free and vegan. I love doing that.”

GS: I’ve made a few of the recipes – the cookie sandwiches, the biscotti, the Red Velvet Cake, they were big hits. What struck me was that while there may be a number of ingredients in some, the recipe steps in this book were really very easy. Was that intentional?
CP: “Absolutely! One of the things I discovered with my first cookbook, is that people who are cooking and baking with allergies might not start out enthusiastic about being in the kitchen. When a child is suddenly diagnosed with several food allergies, these people have to learn from scratch. And they might rather not be cooking.
So I figured out that this needs to be simple for people who are learning. That’s why I call it a ‘handbook’ because it’s both a book full of recipes but also an instructional guidebook for people learning to cook this way. And I hope it walks them through the steps.”

GS: Other favorites out of the Handbook?
CP: She mentions the scones and biscuits, then stops. “Oh yeah, the orange cranberry muffins are to die for. They’re amazing. And try the mock buttermilk raisin bread, it’s fantastic. A really, old-fashioned loaf of bread.”

GS: A few words in closing?
CP: “I think these recipes are good enough for everybody. I think they’re delicious enough to feed to people with or without food allergies, with or without celiac disease. That’s my mission, is to create food that everybody can eat. So I call them ‘free to eat sweets’. Also, the recipes are cholesterol-free, 30 per cent of the recipes are made with no refined sugar. They’re as healthful as you can get. But you’re still having a sweet, so don’t eat the whole dozen!”