Hold the turkey, hold the stuffing.

Are you freaked out because your son is bringing his vegan girlfriend for Thanksgiving? Wondering what to feed a gluten-free friend? Cooking for someone who has food preferences different from your own can be daunting. Fortunately, the internet has a treasure trove of recipes that will please any type of eater. So get out your laptop, fire up the oven, and prepare to sit down to a feast that everyone on your guest list can enjoy!

You're probably wondering what a post about special diets is doing in the Library's Technology Blog. Well if you're an adventurer like me, you hop online to get the latest news, check weather reports, and ooo and awwwww over photos of your friends' kids. The web is also my favorite place to find recipes! It's true. I can often be found whipping up vegan vittles in my kitchen with my laptop sitting safely atop the breakfast bar. I have piles of vegan cookbooks, but when I've cooked for friends with different dietary restrictions I went to the internet for recipes. When I get tired of the recipes in my cookbooks I go online to find something new. And when I go online and find recipes I love, I might buy the author's cookbook! With a rise in popularity of vegan and gluten-free diets these days, there's no shortage of recipes online. Read on, and I will try to get you headed in the right direction.

When people hear that someone is vegan they might scrunch up their eyebrows and them ask things like, "Do you eat fish?" or "Can you eat peanuts?" No. And yes. Vegans do not eat or wear anything derived from animal products. This means no leather shoes, no lanolin in lotions, no chicken broth in soups. Vegans are careful not to eat eggs cooked into bread or cheese melted into sauces. You might be thinking, "Wow. What DO vegans eat?" Funny you should ask...

One great vegan recipe blog is "What the Hell Does a Vegan Eat Anyway?" The authors also have a Facebook page and you can follow them on Twitter, too. But far and away the best and most entertaining vegan chef is Isa Chandra Moskowitz. She's the author of several cookbooks, which are peppered with pretty hilarious commentary, but for those of you who just need a few vegan recipes, try her blog Post Punk Kitchen. Whether you search the blog for certain ingredients or recipes for a particular holiday you won't be disappointed, and your vegan visitors will love you. Vegan cooking - piece of cake, right?

Wait, speaking of cake, what can you make for someone with a gluten-free diet? There are a number of reasons that a person will choose to avoid gluten, including wheat allergies and celiac disease. Gluten-free means no wheat flour and no wheat pasta. Barley and rye also contain gluten, as do most types of beer and imitation meats. Uh oh. I asked a friend where she found her delicious gluten-free recipes and she was quick to tell me that Gluten-Free Goddess was her go-to. When you're cooking without wheat flour, you're using other types of flour instead. Gluten Free Mommy explains how it all works and gives some great advice on her FAQ page.

If you already use a website like Allrecipes, just try searching for "vegan" or "gluten free" and you're bound to find a glamorous recipe like Spicy Vegan Potato Curry, or Gluten Free Florentine Artichoke Dip.

If you're curious about veganism, check out the Vegetarian Resource Group's website. The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness is a good place to find out more about living a gluten-free lifestyle.

Get cooking and have fun!


Written by Melanie on November 3, 2011


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