“Baby, it’s cold outside,” as the old song goes. Add to that “dark,” “rainy,” and perhaps “busy” and “stressful,” and you can pretty much assume that what we most want to enjoy right now are some easy-to-make, warm, and delicious comfort foods. Add to that the desire to recreate traditional dishes that are attached to beloved memories. Add to THAT the increased number of work and family gatherings at this time of year…and it seems like the perfect time for an indulgent and savory appetizer, a hearty casserole, or tempting baked treat.

But let’s say you are gluten-intolerant, or know and love someone who is. You might not even know where to begin. Bette Hagman knows how you feel. She was diagnosed as a celiac in the early 1970s, and has become the acknowledged expert in the ever-widening range of gluten-free cooking. The premier creator of recipes for those intolerant to gluten, she has added a marvelously appealing resource to the Gluten-free Gourmet series with this cookbook. Popular since it was published in 2004, it includes old favorites–made with new flours- -such as macaroni and cheese, chicken pot pie, and lasagna that were once off-limits to anyone who is gluten-intolerant.

At the core of this book are more than 200 recipes for the mouth-watering comfort foods enjoyed by people everywhere. Chapters include appetizers, casseroles, cheese and egg, pasta, salads, breakfast, chicken and meat, seafood, vegetables, sandwiches, breads, desserts, and mixes/ dressings/salsas/creams. Hagman also provides an introduction to new flours now available to the gluten-free cook–amaranth, buckwheat, millet, montina, quinoa, sorghum, and teff.

I was immediately engaged by simple and inviting recipes such as Baked French Toast, Mushroom Risotto, Easy Scalloped Potatoes, Mile-High Sourdough, Fruit Coffee Cake with Streusel, and Best Ever Cheesecake Bars. The nutritional information and dietary exchanges that accompany each recipe help make these tasty foods fit easily into any diet.

From the foreword by Alessio Fasano, M.D.: “With this new book on comfort foods, Bette is closing the gap between celiac and non-celiac cuisine.” One online review I read proclaimed, “If you buy only one glutenfree cookbook, this is the one to buy.”

Winter is a time when we need to take extra care of ourselves and those we love…to nurture…to get warm and cozy…even as we dream of the new year and the warmer, lighter months ahead. This cookbook would make an encouraging, thoughtful, and useful gift for someone you love or a fine addition to your own cooking library. Celebrate the company of friends and family and the return of the light with The Gluten-Free Gourmet Cooks Comfort Foods, so that everyone can enjoy satisfying meals and snacks without gluten or wheat. For Auld Lang Syne, my dear.