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Good gluten-free fried chicken? America’s Test Kitchen says yes

Jack Bishop America's Test Kitchen will speak about group's gluten-free cookbook Oak Park April 22.

Jack Bishop of America's Test Kitchen will speak about the group's gluten-free cookbook in Oak Park April 22.

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Jack Bishop of
America’s Test Kitchen

7:30 p.m. April 22

The Carleton Hotel, 1110 Pleasant St., Oak Park

$29, includes a copy of “The How Can It Be Gluten Free Cookbook”

(708) 386-9800;

Updated: May 18, 2014 6:12AM

With gluten concerns on the rise, it was only a matter of time before loyal readers of America’s Test Kitchen publications such as Cook’s Country and Cook’s Illustrated began requesting gluten-free recipes. And while a 2012 Mayo Clinic survey found that only an estimated 1.8 million Americans have celiac disease, 18 million Americans are estimated to have gluten sensitivity and others simply want to cut back on gluten.

With the latest America’s Test Kitchen cookbook, Jack Bishop, a James Beard Award-winning author and Editorial Director of America’s Test Kitchen, and seven others delve into the world of gluten-free fare. “The How Can It Be Gluten Free Cookbook” is a relentlessly educational volume that maintains the approachability that has become synonymous with America’s Test Kitchen.

“Over time it became clear that America’s Test Kitchen was perfectly suited to tackling a challenging project like this because we have the luxury of making many mistakes in the test kitchen and the time to figure out ways to correct them so home cooks don’t have to,” Bishop said.

Bishop will discuss the cookbook April 22 at the Carleton Hotel in Oak Park as part of an event sponsored by the Friends of the Oak Park Public Library, Midwest Marketing and The Book Table.

The team of eight people worked on creating the recipes in the test kitchen for 10 months. Composed of scientists, nutritionists and cooks as well as two gluten-free practitioners, the team was deeply committed to making delectable baked goods, satisfying pasta dishes and turning once-taboo comfort foods into welcome menu additions in a gluten-restricted lifestyle.

“Gluten-free cooking means redefining your kitchen staples, making an investment in your pantry and learning techniques to yield the best results,” Bishop said. Proper gluten-free cooking requires cooks to embrace a few uncommon ingredients like xanthan gum and psyllium husk, but “The How Can It Be Gluten Free Cookbook” reminds readers that even these unique ingredients are readily available at most finer grocery stores and are easy to incorporate into a host of recipes.

In addition to creating reliable gluten-free recipes for cookies, cakes and pie crust, team members took on the challenge of reinventing time-honored classics like fried chicken. Their version embraces cornstarch and finely ground cornmeal as a means to create a shatteringly crisp and puffy coating.

Bishop and the test kitchen professionals made it a goal to find one fried chicken recipe that would suit an entire family.

“We figured that most people who are making gluten-free food are serving one or two people,” Bishop said, “but we wanted be sure our final results were not just gluten-free replacements, but genuinely great food that anyone, regardless of dietary constraints, would enjoy eating.”

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