When Shauna and Danny Ahern’s book, Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef arrived in my mailbox, I couldn’t wait to open it. I knew it would become tattered, torn, and well-loved. It is filled with 100 delicious recipes and mouth-watering photographs (by Lara Ferroni). But immediately I fell in love with this book because it’s more than a cookbook, it’s a story too. And if you read Three Many Cooks, you know we think that stories and food go hand-in-hand. The book contains 34 short essays written by Shauna, which reveal so much about their family and their food philosophy, which goes far beyond celiac disease and gluten-free eating. These eloquent essays (Shauna’s years as a high school English teacher show in her prose) define what food means to them – the rituals and traditions, the integral role of food and the kitchen, and their dedication to passing it on to their daughter, Lucy, who at two years old is already in the kitchen.
The evocative essays draw the reader into the experience of the food itself. Fresh ideas, fresh ingredients. These are just some of the recipes that won my heart: Smoked Duck Breast Ravioli, Saigon Cinnamon Crème Brulee, Roast Turkey Breast with Kiwi Salsa, Seared Shrimp with Garlic-Almond Sauce, Roasted Potatoes with Eggs Over Easy, Bacon-Wrapped Pork Belly (this one sent me over the top!). These recipes make you realize how often you’re eating gluten-free without really knowing it. So it’s a book with food for all of us.
And if you’re lucky enough to spend time with Danny, Shauna and little Lucy, as I have over the past few weeks, you know they’re the real deal. Authentic, warm-hearted lovers of good people and good food and that comes through in their book. But enough of my words. See and experience it for yourself: watch the cookbook trailer crafted by Todd and Diane of White on Rice Couple. You’ll be wanting Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef.