So I’m three days into a 30-day restricted diet and feeling exceedingly grumpy. Not so much because of the diet, although it’s definitely not fun to eliminate a wide range of foods for my life, but because of the cookbook that I’m using/trying to use.

Slight digression: The diet is an elimination diet to test allergies. I had about three weeks of feeling incredibly good when I stopped eating gluten, followed by a few months now of intense allergies, joint pain, and exhaustion. The probability is that my hyper-reactive immune system is battling some other harmless substance, and I’ve reached the point of being willing to give up almost everything to find out what it is. Almost everything, because I’m not giving up the dogs. If it turns out they’re what’s making me sick, well, that’s why human beings have invented allergy drugs, painkillers, and caffeinated beverages. But if it’s dairy or something else, at least if I know, I can make an informed choice. So for the next twenty-seven days, I’m eating green vegetables, root vegetables, limited fruit (low-sugar), and healthy meats, ie beef, fish, and chicken, not hot dogs or salami. No additives, no processed food, no grains, no nightshades which include tomato, potato and peppers, no soy, no coffee or black tea, no chocolate, no alcohol, no sugar, etc.

To say that it’s not easy is an understatement. It’s annoying as anything. But hey, it’s my choice, and I’m doing it for good reasons, and so I’m going to stick to it. But three days in and I’m about ready to toss the cookbook I’m using out the window. It’s… not edited.

Oh, probably it was proofread. There are no typos, or not many. But it’s a cookbook, which means it’s instructional text, which means it’s my specialty and it’s driving me up the wall.

Ex 1: Recipe for ginger-baked salmon. Includes parsley in the ingredient list, never uses parsley in the recipe. I assume I sprinkle it over the top when I’m done. A well-written recipe would say so.

Ex 2: Parsley-garlic dip. Ingredient list includes slices of fresh carrot or cucumber. Step 1 starts, “Combine all ingredients in a high powered blender.” Seriously? All ingredients? Huh, so it’s going to be like a veggie smoothie? It doesn’t sound like it has enough liquid for that to work. Step 2 reads, “Serve on raw vegetable slices…” Oh, are those the vegetable slices that I would have thrown in the blender?

Ex 3: Garlic-sage chicken patties. The ingredient list calls for 1 tablespoon and 1/4 cup coconut flour. In the instructions, you “place the coconut flour on a plate,” then later “add to the ground chicken with the coconut flour and sea salt.” Wait, which coconut flour is which? Am I dredging the patties in a tablespoon of coconut flour or in four tablespoons of coconut flour?

The thing is, I am only three days into this cookbook. I’ve barely read any of the recipes and yet I’ve already read enough to not trust them. And I hate that in a cookbook. I made the chicken-acorn squash soup and tried to use the correct measurements, but I have no idea how anyone could brown that much squash in any normal-sized soup pot.  I used my big soup pot and it was still impossible. The cauliflower fried “rice” recipe claims it takes 15 minutes–15 minutes to “finely chop” an onion, a zucchini, a carrot, a cup of mushrooms, a table of chives, to mince four cloves of garlic, to roughly chop a head of cauliflower and then to cook it all in stages? Ha. Maybe for some super speed prep cook, but I can’t even run a food processor that fast. The ginger-baked salmon recipe uses ginger powder. I wondered why not grate some fresh ginger on it, but followed the instructions dutifully and it was bland. It would have been much tastier with grated fresh ginger. Why not include that as an option?

I’m sticking with the diet, but I’m definitely not trusting these recipes anymore, which means that I need to get a lot more organized about creating my own meal plans and my own shopping lists. Ugh. Organized about food is not my style. But app suggestions are welcome, if you’re reading and you cook.

C says that I should write my own cookbook. Maybe I will. If I do, the measurements will always be sorta fluid & I’ll never use a portion of a thing (ie, 2 anchovy fillets as used in this book’s caesar dressing) without offering some suggestions for how to use the rest. But oh, I wish Pam Anderson had written an auto-immune cookbook. It would make my life so much easier. She’s my favorite cookbook author. I should probably write a lot more about why she’s so great, just to balance out the rant, but thinking about foods I can’t eat would just annoy me and the dogs are ready for their dinner. Hey, at least I’m not stuck with kibble. That’ll be my positive thought for the evening. 🙂