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Book Review: Cannelle et Vanille

December 2019/January 2020 Issue
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Cannelle et Vanille: Nourishing Gluten-Free Recipes for Every Meal and Mood
by Aran Goyoaga (Sasquatch Books)

This is the book that tops my holiday wish list. I was diagnosed with celiac disease about seven years ago, after the birth of my second son, and had to immediately and forever eliminate gluten from my diet. In the ensuing years, I’ve reconsidered everything about how I cook and eat—and the fact that I cook and eat better than ever is largely thanks to talented, inspiring people like Aran Goyoaga. She’s the genius behind this beautiful book (as well as the award-winning blog that bears the same name). Not only did she develop all the recipes and write all the text, but she also styled and photographed every image. I can’t think of another cookbook that so beautifully and thoroughly expresses who the author is and how she nourishes her loved ones and herself.

Born and raised in the Basque Country in northern Spain, Goyoaga as a child spent countless hours in her maternal grandparents’ pastry shop and in her home kitchen. “Cooking defined my family,” she writes. Like many of us, she turned away from her family traditions and then, after journeying far from home, came back to her roots. Goyoaga didn’t return to Spain, but she did take refuge in the kitchen. “I realized that cooking was in my blood all along and that I, too, wanted to be defined by it.”

The recipes reflect many sides of the author’s cooking personality. Chapters are organized around time of day. Early in the book, you’ll find breakfast recipes such as pancakes and waffles, followed by midday soups and salads, and then ideas for the evening meal, special occasions, and dessert. Wherever you choose to begin, you’ll find Goyoaga’s inimitable sensibility: Her recipes are always inspiring and beautifully presented. Some gently beckon you to reach beyond your comfort zone—Apple Cider Yeast Doughnuts, for instance, Gluten-Free Sourdough Starter, and Puff Pastry with Cultured Butter (yes, you make the dough and the butter, too). Although all her recipes are gluten-free, the author includes instructions for substituting regular all-purpose flour for readers who prefer it.

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