It started off as an idea on her bucket list. Clinical nurse practitioner Nancy Delnay wanted to pass her treasured gluten-free cooking secrets to her family in a cookbook.
She wasn’t expecting much interest beyond her circle of family and friends, but now finds herself preparing to order a second round of copies.
While there are many reasons to adopt a gluten-free diet, it’s not a choice for Delnay, who was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2006. Celiac disease is an auto-immune condition that results in damage to the small intestine when foods with gluten are eaten. Gluten is found in wheat, rye, barley and other grains.
“We live in a society where carbs with gluten are easily accessible,” said Delnay, who works in Akron Children’s Hospital’s rheumatology department. “Being gluten-free is a hard diet to follow.”
That’s when Delnay decided to use her love of cooking to make eating gluten-free appetizing.
“When I was diagnosed, there weren’t many products that were gluten-free and the ones that were gluten free were not good,” she said.
Creating gluten-free recipes
Challenging herself to recreate the textures and taste of gluten, she began crafting recipes through trial and error, working to get as close as possible to the original recipe.
“I’d bring in dishes for my coworkers, family members and church friends to try,” she said. “They would all rate each dish in different categories, such as taste and texture.”
Delnay spent 2 years perfecting the recipes. The cookbook features approximately 225 recipes, ranging from adaptations of traditional recipes to her original creations.
“This was supposed to be a small thing that I did for myself,” Delnay said. “I was shocked when people wanted to buy it, and when stores approached me to stock it. I’ve already gone through over half of my original stock.”
Nan Knows Gluten Free is full of family-oriented recipes, ranging from appetizers to full meals to desserts.