An interview with mom expert and author Tamar Warga
Recently, my friend Tamar Warga, author of “A Taste of Freedom” and creator of Kosherfoodallergies.blogspot.com (where kosher Jews get allergy news) sat down to chat about her Passover cookbook. She is truly an inspiration and devoted mom. Tamar’s book is a Passover Food Allergy Cookbook and well, I thought cooking Passover was tough without chometz, Tamar does it without eggs, wheat, dairy, nuts or fish. Here is what she shared with me.
Q- Why did you choose to write a Passover cookbook without so many ingredients?
A- The short answer, necessity. I have 4 food allergic sons, three of them severely allergic to multiple foods. When they were younger their lists were even longer. We needed to avoid all of those ingredients and more. I wanted to throw a lifesaver out there to others navigating the turbulent seas of food allergies.
Q- We often get emails from others like you. Food allergies are on the rise (plus gluten sensitivities) and there are many other children and adults who could find your book helpful. Do the recipes use unusual ingredients that might be hard to find?
A- No! Not at all. The recipes are easy to follow with readily available ingredients. As a mother of 10, I value convenience and efficiency. If it’s simple and my family will eat, I’m good. After spending so much time getting the kitchen ready for Passover, why spend more time than absolutely necessary! The recipes in the book include ingredients like applesauce, chocolate chips, potato starch, ketchup, apricot jam etc.. and of course lots of fresh fruit and vegetables.
Q- Was there a reason you chose to write a Passover cookbook, anything unique about the holiday and food allergies?
A-Passover is probably the hardest Jewish holiday, food wise if you have nut and egg allergies. Hard boiled eggs and nutty charoses at the Seder followed by a week of foods laden with eggs and nuts. Many traditional Passover recipes call for ground nuts as a substitute for wheat flour and eggs as a binder as well as leavening agent. The recipes in my cookbook use alternatives to ground nuts such as ground coconut and potato starch. Applesauce, honey, margarine and fruit juice can be substituted for eggs in some recipes.
Q- Can you share any tricks or substitutes that people should know about that add flavor or work in recipes?
A- a mixture of ground unsweetened coconut and potato starch work well as a substitute for ground nuts. Flavor isn’t an issue because the omitted ingredients are not what add flavor (nuts are not what give charoses flavor. Wine and cinnamon are). So the substitution works in the same way as the nuts and does not change the flavor.
Q- How did you create these recipes? Are they collected from other sources?
Most of the recipes are ones I’ve developed over the years through trial and error. Some are tried and true allergy friendly recipes from friends, like Chavie’s Tomato Salad and Chanie’s Orange Freeze dessert
Q- Our readers will ask me if you have some favorites from the book? Kids favorites?
So the dessert showstopper dessert is definitely Fudge-in-the Middle Ice Cream Cake made with allergy friendly Pesach cookie dough. A Great go to recipe for Pesach and year round are the Meatballs (tangy, sweet, and oh so simple).
I can’t wait to try those two recipes! Thanks Tamar and wow, amazing how you turned something so challenging into something so helpful to others. See the sneak peak recipes from A Taste Of Freedom below, and get your copy today so that you have it in time for Passover prep!
Allergy-friendly Recipe from Tamar Warga:
A Taste of Freedom- Food Allergy Cookbook
Also see her blog at kosherfoodallergies.blogspot.com
Nut free Charoses
6 medium apples (peeled, cored, and sliced)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon sweet red wine
optional: ¼ cup dates (pitted, checked, and chopped)
Puree all ingredients in a food processor. Consistency should be a coarse puree.
*If making a traditional walnut version as well be careful to label the 2 types clearly and to place them in different colored containers to avoid confusion.
*quick and easy kid’s version- applesauce, grape juice, and cinnamon
Sweet Potato with Pineapple
5 sweet potatoes (peeled)
1 can crushed pineapple
3 tablespoons brown sugar
touch of cinnamon
Place sweet potatoes in a large pot of water and bring to a boil. Cook for about 45 minutes until potatoes are soft. Drain. Mash Potatoes. Add pineapple and brown sugar. Place in a baking dish, sprinkle with cinnamon and bake uncovered for 20 minutes at 350.