Book Review: Simply #Gluten Free by Rita Greer

Simply-Gluten-Free-Rita-Greer   The lovely people at Souvenir Press recently sent me a review copy of Rita’s book Simply Gluten Free. Rita has written freefrom stuff for years so it was nice to see another new book from her.

 I remember her Easy Wheat, Egg Milk-Free Cooking book that we used to recommend and stock in the dispensary well: it was a great reference for all those people we advised to come off wheat and dairy!

The new book Simply Gluten Free is just that: a simple introduction to gluten free eating.

I found the tone friendly and welcoming and the recipes of the traditional, comforting sort. It would be a book for a newcomer to the gluten free world who wanted to find easy gluten free ways to still have their favourite well-known traditional fare. Note: there are no pictures, which is a shame, but then that helps keep the book price down and we can’t have everything!

The book is based on a traditional gluten free diet – ie. gliadin free (no wheat, rye or barley) and there is the customary confusing warning about oats – not her fault; the industry just hasn’t got it’s act together properly on this issue.

As many of you know, I have been waxing lyrical on the gluten subject for the past few years since I discovered the sheer numbers of coeliacs following a traditional gluten (gliadin) free diet who do not heal. I advise a grain free, dairy free diet mostly nowadays. It is a shame that Rita didn’t make this a gluten and dairy free diet since research shows most gluten sensitives have equal problems with dairy. In my opinion, that would have made it much more useful – and healing – for gluten sensitives.

That said, though, this is not what the book is about. As the name implies, it is a simple gluten free starter book and certainly wouldn’t scare the newly-diagnosed coeliac too much!

There are some useful tips – white pepper cut with wheat, blob of nail varnish on kitchen utensils to differentiate the GF ones etc – and there is good mention of the cross-contamination and eating-out problems for the gluten sensitive. I felt the base flour mix Rita has devised and used for the recipes was really useful, although I couldn’t help wincing at the inclusion of corn – the one non-gliadin grain I am finding many non-healing gluten sensitives are having a problem with, including me! We call it gluten whiplash when people come off the traditional gliadin grains and start eating more corn/maize based stuff and then get a problem with that. I am seeing it more and more, which is a bit of a worry when most GF foods nowadays rely on corn as the base.

The alternative ‘binders’ to replace the ‘elasticity’ of gluten are also really good to know. Gone are the days of the so-called ‘gluten free bricks’ that threatened to drop through the table they were so heavy!

Rita has included a star rating system for the healthiness of each recipe, which is helpful for gluten newbies to choose new meals well. I found it odd, though, that the rating system was at the back of the book rather than explaining it at the start of the recipe sections where I needed it.

I also liked the store cupboard section and thought actually that a list at the end of the section might be a useful thing to be able to copy for shopping lists.


A good entry-level book for gluten-sensitive newbies. Comforting, traditional food which took me back to the 70s a bit so might suit older people or just those who like good British fare. Not dairy free but many of the recipes can be adapted.

My advice: go here to download a free Gingersnaps recipe from the book (not the healthiest recipe in the book it must be said, but they sound like a yummy treat!). Make the biscuits, download the ebook for £4-odd, sit down with a cuppa and said biscuits and enjoy. If you prefer paperback, that is £9.99 but you’ll need to make more biscuits as you’ll have eaten them before it arrives..

If you need a gluten and dairy free or a grain and dairy free book, have a look here.

Hope you found that review useful. I will add the book to my traditional gluten free book recommendations list. You can see other books I like here (scroll to the bottom in the Amazon box).

Meantime, happy gingersnap munching!

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