A Bite of Heaven

UNC Student Torie Christensen and her cookbook

UNC student Torie Christensen holds the cookbook she self-published. Photo by Barry LaPoint

When University of Northern Colorado Dietetics major Torie Christensen couldn’t find any cookbooks that included both traditional and allergen-free recipes, instead of getting frustrated she got busy and started working on her own.

That was over two years ago, and Christensen’s efforts were rewarded just before the end of spring semester when the first shipment of her self-published cookbook, "A Bite of Heaven," arrived from the printer.

The 142-page book contains 98 recipes, 83 of which are adaptable to one or more special diets for those sensitive to gluten, dairy, eggs or nuts. Christensen, who is sensitive to gluten, dairy, eggs and soy, collected the recipes from family and friends, figured out how to adapt them for food sensitivities and then tested each one before including it in the book.

She also designed the book, took the photographs for it and learned the software program required by the commercial printer to make it "press-ready."

"It was a huge learning process," said Christensen, who’s a member of UNC’s President’s Leadership Program. "I worked on the book whenever I needed a break from studying and spent most semester breaks working on it."

The book’s subtitle - "A Family Cookbook with a Mix of Traditional and Allergen Free Recipes for Pleasure and Health" – reflects Christensen’s philosophy on food, as does her inclusion of recipes for desserts and snacks, as well as breakfasts and dinners.

"I really enjoy eating good-tasting things," she said. "I wanted to share that passion with others with the goal of showing them that everyone can have the pleasure of enjoying healthful and delicious food together."

Christensen, from Steamboat Springs, grew up helping her mother and grandmother in the kitchen, and has attended several cooking schools, including a class in France on chocolate. After she graduates in December, she’ll serve the dietetics internship required to become a licensed dietitian and hopes to become a food nutrition counselor and teach cooking classes for those with food limitations.

She’s currently marketing the book herself, and plans on consulting with Dave Thomas, director of the Monfort College of Business’ Entrepreneurship Program, when classes resume in August.

Until then, she’ll continue promoting the book via her website – www.biteoheaven.com – which includes a secure order and payment system, trying to get it placed in local book and cooking stores, and hoping for more five-star reviews like the two already placed at Amazon.com. One of them reads in part:

"... finally a cookbook with a great collection of recipes the whole family can enjoy- those who can eat everything and also my son who is very restricted! I highly recommend this book! It’s so fun and colorful and the pictures are great!"

- Gary Dutmers