Long-time staff member publishes book on gluten-free cooking

gluten.free.bookNancy J. Metcalf, administrative assistant for Global Programs and Studies, has been working at Wake Forest for nearly 25 years. She and her daughter, Amy, are both 2003 Wake Forest graduates.

Diagnosed with celiac disease in 2007, Metcalf has published a gluten-free cookbook, “Gluten Free and Budget Friendly,” which she recently promoted at Whole Foods in Winston-Salem.

Q: What inspired you to write a cookbook?

A: When I was first diagnosed I found it challenging to figure out what I could and couldn’t eat. I started experimenting with recipes to make it easier on myself and my family and discovered many gluten-free foods everyone could eat and not feel deprived. Many folks are choosing to eat gluten free, so I thought this book might be helpful to them as well.

Q: What makes preparing gluten-free foods challenging?

A: It  takes a bit more thought and some careful reading of labels. Those with celiac disease have to be more diligent in keeping the cooking area free of non-gluten-free food contamination. For example, I have to keep my toaster oven clean so that I don’t get my husband’s toast crumbs on my food.

Q: How did you develop your recipes?

A: I have around 200 recipes in my book. Most of them are family favorites that I have used for years. Some are ones I re-developed. I remember trying to perfect my hush puppies; we ate a lot of imperfect hush puppies before getting to my final recipe!

Q: Can celiacs and those who prefer to eat gluten-free adjust their own favorite recipes?

A: For the most part, it’s not hard to re-tool a recipe. A lot of what we eat is naturally gluten-free. If a food may contain gluten, check the label carefully or do some research. For gluten-free cooking, increasing the spices and seasonings helps and carefully choosing recipes that don’t require a large amount of flour. For those that require small amounts of flour, I came up with a gluten-free flour mix that can be used as a substitute for regular flour.

Q: How long did it take to complete the cookbook? Are you considering another?

A: I’ve been collecting recipes for several years.  The most time consuming part was getting everything typed. After that, my publisher put it into cookbook form. We chose a cover, and the publisher registered the book so it could be sold on Amazon.com.  Now my time is spent getting the word out about “Gluten Free and Budget Friendly” so others can enjoy eating these meals without worry.  I’ve thought about tackling a second cookbook. It would be fun to do one that puts together whole menus based on themes, like special events or holidays. I’ll have to see how that goes!

Q: What advice do you have for those who want or need to go gluten free?

A: There is a lot of gluten free “ready to eat” stuff out there and a lot of mixes for things. I’ve used some of them on occasion myself, but I have to say, it’s hard to beat homemade. It generally tastes better and has fewer calories, fat and sodium. I intended my cookbook for folks who don’t mind cooking and using real ingredients. Here’s a rice crispy treat recipe to try. Adding the vanilla punches up the flavor, and they are just as good as store-bought treats.


Nancy Metcalf

Gluten-Free Rice Crispy Treats

6 cups gluten-free crisp rice cereal
4 tablespoons margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 bag mini marshmallows

In a large saucepan, melt the margarine and stir in the marshmallows until melted. Add the vanilla. Add in the cereal and stir until coated.

Spread into a 12 x 14 baking dish, generously sprayed with cooking spray.

Let cool completely and cut into squares.