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As published in the Fayette Neighbor and

Balancing the bowl

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

By Jessika Toothman

Fayette Neighbor Staff Writer

Justin Delaine was ill for the first seven months of his life, but doctors and family members assured first-time parents Chris and Susan Delaine that his ailments were normal for an infant.

That is, until he went into anaphylactic shock and was diagnosed at the hospital as having severe food allergies.

An allergist discovered that Justin had eight food allergies- wheat, rice, milk, egg, soy, peanuts, tree nuts and barley.


Armed with this knowledge, Ms. Delaine began a culinary journey into finding alternative foods her son was able to eat safely that were appetizing to the rest of her family, too.

"I started creating my own recipes because I was longing to be able to feed him the same kinds of foods that I eat and that I grew up on," the Fayetteville resident said. "I started changing recipes around to fit his needs."

After a few years of inventing allergen-free recipes, as well as meeting many parents whose children were also susceptible to one or more food allergies, Ms. Delaine decided to bring together her creations into a book, which she titled "Balancing the Bowl."

"It started off because I wanted to compile the recipes so they were all in front of me instead of in my head. I also wanted to help some of the other parents I know who have food-allergic children and offer them something written, instead of them having to call me when they needed a recipe," she said.

Two years in the making, "Balancing the Bowl" features kid-friendly recipes that also have appeal for adults, with meals originating from a variety of cultures such as Italian, Korean, Cuban, Jamaican and traditional American.

"I'm finding that I am meeting my goal in reaching not just food-allergic people, but also reaching people who love food, who enjoy cooking differently and eating healthy," said Ms. Delaine.

"Balancing the Bowl," which was released Nov. 13, also excludes fish and shellfish which are among the eight most common food allergens, despite the fact that Justin does not suffer from these two himself.

The book also includes guides to understanding food labels, since they often use a variety of terms to describe typical ingredients.

A book signing will be taking place at the Fayette County Public Library on Jan. 20 at 1 p.m. The event will include a presentation about the book, a question and answer session and samples of some of the recipes.

In the future, Ms. Delaine hopes to release a follow-up to her cookbook, as well as launch a quarterly magazine. © 2007