Summer travel and food allergies will be the topic of my next Worry-Free Dinners events THIS SUNDAY. There’s still room to join us, check out the WFD website.
Happy 4th of July everyone. I hope you had deliciously safe holiday BBQs, picnics, a super fun family trip or like me, an unplugged weekend away.
It was a friend’s husband’s birthday (a big one) this past weekend and she put together a lavish surprise weekend getaway for their nearest and dearest friends and family at their country home. The event was catered by a chef on Friday night and my friend gave the caterers a heads up about this Allergic Girl.
As you may have noticed, I am not shy. Sure, I’ll have moments when I feel intimidated but overall I can rise above them. (Sometime really not with hilarious results i.e. put me in a room with straight male models, because that happens all the time, and I’ll be staring at the floor). However, having food allergies is really not compatible with shyness. If I had any shy bones, talking with caterers and food service professionals would be tortuous. Or like Friday, walking into a room and having my food allergic reputation precede me might just crush an extremely private or shy person. For you shy food allergic people out there, I acknowledge you and how difficult it can be. But please remember, your safety is in your hands; it is vital you that you speak up, communicate your needs so they can be met and you can stay safe.
Back to this un-shy, Allergic Girl, when I walked into the house on Friday afternoon, the chef Paul and his assistant Sulan were prepping the dinner. I was able to talk with them straight away about what they were making for dinner (fish for apps and main) and what I would need. I was very clear about my needs, allergens and cross contamination concerns. I smiled lots and thanked them for their assistance profusely.
They told me they were using hazelnut oil with goat cheese on the beet salad app. I could see the beets already roasted sliced and prepped on the kitchen counter. They said, “We’ll make a separate one for you”. But in my mind that salad was already tagged as a no go. Too scary; too easy to mix up. And indeed the salad arrived and I couldn’t bring myself to eat it. I even asked another house guest sitting next to me to taste it for the offending and frightening oil. He said it was just olive oil and I still couldn’t eat it.
I was officially spooked.
Even if it was fine, and it probably was, I knew I wasn’t going to enjoy it. So, I skipped it; left it untouched on my plate. Yes, I felt badly, and a little embarrassed, actually a little more than embarrassed, but I knew I just couldn’t eat it. The second course came around and it was fine: plain grilled chicken, steamed veggies and asparagus risotto. Both guests on either side of me taste-tested it for me with clean forks, and then I dug in.
So, what’s the lesson here? Maybe it was that even though I knew I was being a little irrational, I had to go with my feelings about the beet salad. However, I didn’t let it stop me from enjoying the rest of the meal. And try not to be shy. And this food allergy stuff is always a work in progress.