I’ve visited Louisiana three or four times. Each visit was a feast for the senses. I found proud Southern people who were extremely serious only about two things: their music and their food. Alas, my discovery of the unique spices, flavors, and textures of Louisiana meals was bittersweet. I have a number of food challenges, allergies, and sensitivities that prohibited me from truly indulging.
Rhonda Peters had similar issues with her favorite foods, but she took it upon herself to be proactive. A diet counselor and Certified Professional Food Manager, she created “Rhonda’s Cooking.” Rhonda describes her enterprise as “a company that produces healthy foods, pastries and snacks that do not contain dairy, soy, eggs, artificial preservatives, or flavorings.”
That’s right! Rhonda is creating soul food and home cooking that is healthy and nutritious. Naturally, I caught up with her to find out her secrets. A native of Louisiana, her popular cookbook, “So, What Can I Eat Now?!: Living Without Dairy, Soy, Eggs and Wheat” even features a recipe for Louisiana Gumbo.
Abiola: This is so exciting, passionista! Tell us about your own food journey from Southern girl to gluten-free expert.
Rhonda: I’m from a small town called Angie, Louisiana, and in this small town, there was no McDonald’s, Burger King, Taco Bell, or even Popeye’s Chicken when I was growing up. This meant that everyday we had homemade meals if we wanted to eat. Because my mother believed that being a good wife meant that she would know how to cook for her husband and children, she started teaching me how to cook in the seventh grade!
Abiola: Interesting, Rhonda. So what inspired you to create this unique and necessary cookbook?
Rhonda: I was inspired to create the cookbook because of my own health challenges. I have thyroid disease, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple food intolerances to casein (a protein found in dairy products), soy, eggs, sesame, and yeast. When medications failed to work for me, I researched and discovered that foods, herbs, and spices all possessed amazing medicinal properties.
Abiola: The cookbook is rich and colorful. I love the photos and the way you break down the steps. So many goodies in here. Which recipe gets the biggest reaction?
Rhonda: Being that Louisiana has come to be synonymous with great food, I would say my version of Louisiana Gumbo gets the biggest reaction. Because not only is it gluten-free, it is also free of tomatoes, pork, and shellfish, all of which are staple ingredients in this delicious recipe! However, honestly, you can’t go wrong with any of the recipes because they all are very flavorful.
Abiola: Sounds delicious!
Find Rhonda’s Cooking and her wonderful cookbook on her comprehensive site or wherever you buy books. Of course, consult your doctor about your health concerns before making any changes or going off of your medications.
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