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On Substitutions

Late post this week because I’ve been pondering!

Since the book’s come out we’ve gotten several questions on special diets and substitutions in general.

A lot of them stem from gluten-free or vegan diets, and it comes right down to you need to be comfortable with the substitutions and work-arounds necessary for your needs. Thankfully there are a lot of easy substitutions that can be made for various dairy products (soy, rice, almond, and coconut products can be found in most stores these days). Egg replacement is a smidgen more complex but there are options out there. As well as some very good (by reputation) gluten-free baking mixes and rice-flour products.

The other set of questions are usually about the XP, as in…

Do I still get the points if I substitute/tweak/customize recipe X.

We work pretty much on the honor system so, yeah, make the changes you need to feel comfortable. That said, if you substitute willy-nilly, I cannot guarantee the recipe will turn out as planned.

And that’s been the party line for the last few months.

But it was sticking with me–the number of questions we were receiving at cons and even by email was way more than I ever expected, and that made me think more about the subject of substitutions.

While I still believe that anyone with special dietary needs should get a good working knowledge of the ingredients that both cause and solve your food issues, I wrote Raiding Party to work for both the experienced AND less so, so expecting someone to dive into both cooking and specialty substitutions might be a little much to ask. And while I did try to include a good variety of vegetarian dishes (that we’re all side dishes), I didn’t do much for other food intolerances or preferences.

So!

Instead of continuing to work on the first expansion chapter of Raiding Party, I’m going to switch my focus to a small companion booklet centered on substitutions.

Here’s my imagined FAQ:

Q. When will it be ready?
A. Not really sure–I’ll keep you posted.

Q. How will I get it?
A. It will be available for download here on the site.

Q. Oh, so I can download the companion and get all the recipes and skip buying the book?
A. No. The companion booklet will list the necessary substitutions and notes but not the full recipes.

Q. What sorts of substitutions will be covered?
A. Gluten-free, vegan, and other major allergens. But, you know, if you have a shellfish allergy I don’t think I need to tell you not to make the Ginger Citrus Shrimp.

Q. Will these additions be added to future editions of What to Feed Your Raiding Party?
A. Probably not–the book as it stands is jam packed already. To add the substitutions, etc. in a meaningful way would mean resetting the entire books and, well, no. I don’t see that happening. That’s why we have this site, for updates and errata.

Speaking of errata! I found my first major error.

When we were getting ready for the Halloween party I made up a batch of Garlic White Bean Dip. Only, uh, there was no garlic listed in the recipe. Oops!

Now, there are two scenarios and it’s been so long since I created that recipe I don’t know which one is the right one. Either I never intended for this recipe to have garlic in it but I was thinking about the companion dip (Spicy Black Bean Dip, which is very garlicky) and mis-titled it, OR I just forgot to write down one of the title ingredients in my notes. The dip works without garlic okay, but I did add a teaspoon or so to the quart I made for the party.

See you locals in Jacksonville, this weekend, and more news when I’ve got it!

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