MAHWAH, N.J. – Cookbook guru Annalise Roberts of Mahwah is the go-to source for gluten-free diet information, in age when cookbooks are becoming an endangered species.
Her four books are bibles for those with celiac disease and gluten sensitivities.
The latest is “Gluten-Free Baking Classics: The Heirloom Collection.” Launched last year, it features 90 recipes tested by both experienced and amateur bakers.
“I want to give people a solid starting base in the gluten-free world so they can really build on their knowledge,” Roberts said.
Her passion for the topic followed her own diagnosis of celiac disease in 2002.
Roberts, who gets thousands of letters, hears horrifying stories from people who’ve tried recipe after recipe with no success.
“They made cupcakes that the kids spit out at a birthday party,” she said. “It’s heartbreaking. My goal always has been to provide failproof recipes.”
At her website, www.mygluten-freetable.com , Roberts includes detailed information on ingredients, from psyllium husk powders to sprouted flours, her own tests of commercial gluten-free flours, and much more.
She goes so far as to spend weeks researching a single ingredient. She also consults old cookbooks dating back 100 years, including “The Fannie Farmer Cookbook,” to trace the origin of recipes.
Roberts gives talks and demonstrations at Chef Central in Paramus and at Wegmans Food Markets. She speaks, upon request, to celiac groups statewide as well as in New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and beyond.
Celiac disease is an immune disorder. When people who have it eat foods containing gluten, their immune system damages or destroys the inner lining of their small intestine.
The condition can manifest with 300 different symptoms from abdominal pain to anemia, according to Beyond Celiac, an advocacy organization. If untreated, it can lead to serious, even life-threatening, illnesses. A total of 83 percent of people with celiac disease are undiagnosed or misdiagnosed with other conditions.