I’m Cybele Pascal and I’m the mother of a food allergic family. My son Lennon was diagnosed with severe dairy and soy allergies in 2001, and our life in the kitchen was forever changed.
Lennon and I were put on strict avoidance diets (I was breastfeeding him), and instructed to cut Dairy, Soy, Wheat, Eggs, Peanuts, Tree nuts, Fish and Shellfish from our diet.
Though this was admittedly challenging in the beginning, I viewed it as challenge I would conquer. I tied on my apron, opened my cupboards, and set about revamping the way I cooked from scratch. Out went the milk, eggs, flour, soy, and all the thousands of allergenic derivatives we take for granted in our kitchen. And from there, a new cuisine was born.
In 2001, there were no cookbooks that eliminated all top 8 allergens responsible for 90% of food allergies. Nobody had written it. But those were the recipes I needed, so I wrote the book myself. I spent about two years creating the recipes that eventually became The Whole Foods Allergy Cookbook.
Why did I do this? A) because I had to, and B) I love to cook. I began working in restaurants at 14 years old. I started as a dishwasher, but spent my days peering wistfully into the kitchen. The guys in there were the ones having fun.
The following year, at 15, I signed up to be the vegetarian cook for 50 students at my boarding school, Putney. I made their dinner every night, and I loved every single messy minute of it. The next summer, at 16, I was promoted from dishwasher to cook, and restaurant kitchens became my new stomping ground. I cooked on and off for many years to make a living. I never imagined it would come in so handy in the years to come.
Cooking Allergen-free Cuisine is both a necessity and a passion for me. I love the science of it, the challenge, and the way it’s all new. But I also cook this way because my family is a textbook case of food allergies. Lennon outgrew his dairy and soy allergies by the time he was 6, but he is still allergic to tree nuts, shellfish, kiwis, and has tested positive for allergies to wheat, barley, and eggs. I am allergic to walnuts, shellfish, and many types of fish, as well as having milder allergies to wheat, oats, yeast, citrus, and stone fruits (peaches, plums, etc). My husband Adam is allergic to dairy, (and also lactose intolerant). And my youngest son, Monte, who was allergic to eggs as an infant, also has allergic asthma, for which he must stay away from dairy.
So I continue to cook allergen-free, for my family, but also, for the many people out there like us. I cook, I write, and I share. So please come back to my site, for new recipes, tips on new allergen-free products, tidbits from my life with a food allergic family, or sometimes just straight-up tidbits. And for a simple, everyday collection of 30-minute meals, come check out my new book Allergy-Free and Easy Cooking, available for pre-order, shipping on 12/4/12! . See you in the kitch!