This article is from the Children Allergies and Asthma FAQ, by Eileen Kupstas Soo firstname.lastname@example.org with numerous contributions by others.
If you are lactose intolerant or allergic to milk and choose
to stay on a no-dairy diet, there are cookbooks out there to
help you. The most readily available seems to be:
The Milk-Free Kitchen: Living Well without Dairy Products
by Beth Kidder (1991, ISBN: 0-8050-1836-0 )
Dairy-Free Cookbook by Jane Zukin
Raising Your Child Without Milk by Jane Zukin
While Ms. Kidder devotes some pages to discussion of allergy,
intolerance, and eating out, Ms. Zukin's commentary extends to
70 pages, and is very informative. Many of the recipes included
call for "milk substitute" -- but, to be fair, you're also told
where to find rice and soy milk, among other things. The two
cookbooks are complementary.
Vegan cookbooks can also be very useful, if you can find one. If you
have Usenet access (and it seems likely, if you're reading this!), you
might consider hanging out on rec.food.veg or rec.food.veg.cooking a
fair number of vegan recipes are posted. Also, vegetarians typically
have some good advice on coping with a non-standard diet. (See the
essays AARS essays and guides page , especially AARS cooking, food,
and nutrition page and The Recipes Folder on the Web.) There is now a
mailing list for people following a milk/casein/lactose-free diet.
Both Zukin and Kidder emphasize that eating out -- whether
at restaurants or at the homes of friends or relatives -- can
be difficult, and provide information and suggestions to
help you cope. They also emphasize the need to read the labels
on everything you buy or eat -- milk derivatives are found in
the most unexpected places (e.g. the batter on fried chicken),
masquerading under bizarre names (e.g. sodium caseinate).
While the lactose intolerant may be able to cope, the results
for the milk allergic can be severe.
So while you may not have any difficulty digesting milk,
if someone asks you whether a food item contains milk or milk
products and you are not certain, please, please, please answer
honestly. Some people react very strongly to very small exposures.
This is not a preference. When a person declines to eat a certain
dish on the grounds of allergy, don't waste your time or their
patience with arguments about how good it is, or how little
(insert allergen here) is contained within. They know their
problems best; it is no insult to you.