Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Mussina

Allergies . . . oh yeah!

Recommended Posts

I am a physician and I thought only doctors had to deal with this degree of insanity. For example, a friend of mine's daughter has severe peanut allergy. She picked up a bagel and cream cheese for her daughter at a local bagel place and she almost died eating it. The bagel place put all of their spreaders into the same bucket of water after using them and wiped them clean, so the peanut butter was in with the cream cheese spreaders. This is something I would have never even considered, and I am so glad I wasnt the one who bought her that bagel.

I've always wondered why those with life threatening allergies put themselves at risk trusting those earning a couple of dollars an hour. Surely it is easier and safer to make things yourself?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've always wondered why those with life threatening allergies put themselves at risk trusting those earning a couple of dollars an hour. Surely it is easier and safer to make things yourself?

True, but I imagine it is also difficult to lead an active life and always anticipate all of your food needs when out and about, and carry everything with you. This particular place had a problem with the system they set up for food preparation.

My problem is latex allergy. Many places use latex gloves in the kitchen. This is a bad idea given the high risk of occupational allergy it poses for the kitchen staff (and subsequent potential for workers comp claims) and the incidence of allergy in the population at large. And there are good synthetic alternatives that are cheap if gloves must be used.

I want to put a word in about seafood allergy from comments previoulsy in this discussion. IV contrast dye allergy does not equal iodine allergy does not equal seafood allergy. This is not the current medical evidence. It is possible to be allergic to IV contrast and seafood, but allergy to one does not mean allergy to the other. Consultation with an allergist is a good idea in this situation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My food "issue" is minor compared to most: eating plants in the red (as opposed to black) pepper family gives me horrible diarrhea. Chili, cayenne, paprika, which are of course ingredients in curry powders, bbq sauces, etc. It is surprising where you will find cayenne - I was once fooled by a piece of chocolate cake. Delicious!

I love this stuff, but it has gotten to the point where even small amounts will leave me spending the night in the bathroom, and quite exhausted the next day. My lips peel. The stomach ache can last for days.

This means I have to be careful in restaurants, particularly because I spend part of the year in Santa Fe. But it isn't just Southwest/Mexican. Also Asian, and because most red sauces have some cayenne/paprika, Italian can be a problem too. I try to order something that will be obviously ok, but when in doubt I ask - sometimes a plate of food will be totally fine as long as they don't sprinkle red pepper flakes on as garnish, etc.

Nonetheless, I often find myself being handed a plate covered with chili. Discussing it with the waitstaff beforehand is really hit or miss, and seems to depend more on the restaurant than the server.

I am allergic to roasted peppers (my throat closes up), and I had to change my vacation plans because of it. I was going to go to New Mexico in September, until I learned that roasting peppers was the state passtime on nearly every street corner at harvest time. Went to Maine instead. I'm not allergic to lobsters or blueberries!


“"When you wake up in the morning, Pooh," said Piglet at last, "what's the first thing you say to yourself?"

"What's for breakfast?" said Pooh. "What do you say, Piglet?"

"I say, I wonder what's going to happen exciting today?" said Piglet.

Pooh nodded thoughtfully.

"It's the same thing," he said.”

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am allergic to roasted peppers (my throat closes up), and I had to change my vacation plans because of it. I was going to go to New Mexico in September, until I learned that roasting peppers was the state passtime on nearly every street corner at harvest time. Went to Maine instead. I'm not allergic to lobsters or blueberries!

lala, they don't roast them on every street corner in Santa Fe, but where they do roast them, the fumes are pretty potent! The Whole Foods on Cerrillos has a huge roaster out in the parking lot during Hatch chili harvest time, and even though I don't have the classic allergic reaction to peppers that you do, I am wary of walking through the fumes.

We have been living in Santa Fe part time for the last few years, and had been thinking of buying a second home there. But this business with the chilies has caused us to reconsider. Going out to eat in Santa Fe is like running a gauntlet for me. They put it on everything, and there is no way to know. The servers in many restaurants are of no help, at all. So sometimes I just end up ordering a couple of sopapillas. I sit there with the honey bear and drink tequila, and just watch everyone else enjoy their yummy food. Then I eat something when we get home.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That woman gives people with allergies and their families a bad name! My son has been allergic to milk since birth--hives and throat closing. Luckily, over the past 13 years, we have learned how to describe our needs to restaurant staff and chefs and to negotiate our way through menus to find things that he can eat without too much (I hope) stress and strain on the kitchen. Even when the kids were younger, we have tended to go to nicer restaurants that make all their food from scratch rather than from a giant SYSCO can-- though I did have to read a label on a giant can of chili in Yosemite, but our options were limited! But even with all our planning and discussions with staff, we are always on edge until Nick is about 5 minutes into his meal. If he feels okay, then I can relax. We put his life in the hands of the kitchen (of course we carry two epipens and benadryl just in case), and I am always appreciative of the special attention that the staff gives to preparing his food.

But the woman with the laundry list of allergens-- or anyone who claims to have a life threatening allergy--who then proceeds to eat off of everyone else's plate may really contribute to a crying wolf situation where restaurant staff don't take allergies seriously and perhaps just wipe off the smudge of peanut sauce from that satay plate that landed on an otherwise peanut free dish or don't bother to check the ingredients in all aspects of a person's meal including the salad dressing and marinade.

I'm sure there is a ton of stuff going on in a kitchen that I really don't want to know about, but when I take my son out to eat, I tend to assume that the restaurant staff don't really want to have a bunch of EMTs and a screaming mom in the house during dinner service. Luckily, we have encountered very attentive staff and chefs that have allowed my son to eat some fabulous dairy free food-- I always apologize for being so high-maintenance, especially if it involves repeated trips to the kitchen to ask questions-- and I tip well to show my appreciation. Any meal that doesn't end up with a trip to the ER is a great meal-- and so far, we've had nothing but great meals when we go out!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm sure there is a ton of stuff going on in a kitchen that I really don't want to know about, but when I take my son out to eat, I tend to assume that the restaurant staff don't really want to have a bunch of EMTs and a screaming mom in the house during dinner service. Luckily, we have encountered very attentive staff and chefs that have allowed my son to eat some fabulous dairy free food-- I always apologize for being so high-maintenance, especially if it involves repeated trips to the kitchen to ask questions-- and I tip well to show my appreciation. Any meal that doesn't end up with a trip to the ER is a great meal-- and so far, we've had nothing but great meals when we go out!

First off, welcome to eGullet!!

Working in restaurants for as long as I have, I can assure you that there's definitely stuff you're better off not knowing. And yes, NO ONE wants the EMTs in the dining room during service, no less the hysterical screaming mom. Your attitude is commendable. If approached that way, most restaurants will go quite far out of their way to be accommodating. You are most certainly welcome to visit my restaurant any time! I'll personally make sure that your son's meal is dairy free. Luckily, dairy and seafood (other than New England clam chowder) don't usually go together, so that would make it a bit easier.


Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Reading this story, I was wondering whether the lady had gone for a potential allergens test and had mistakenly thought the list of possible intolerances that she tested for were actual allergies.

Quite a few years back, my Dad went for one of these tests (can't remember why now) and came back with an enormous list of things to try and avoid. They weren't actual allergies, just things that apparently his body may be intolerant too. Supposedly it wasn't just a random list of well-known allergens either (though it read like one), because he had to do blood tests and all sorts and they printed out the list at the end. The funny thing is, it seemed like they had picked as many as his favourite foods as possible! After about a week of half-arsedly avoiding them, he decided that, even it was true that his body didn't like garlic, chillies, tomato, potato, dairy, wheat, gluten, etc. he certainly didn't like giving them up. He's still with us :biggrin:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This woman is begging you to set boundaries for her.


I like to bake nice things. And then I eat them. Then I can bake some more.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Our experience with milk allergy just got weird. At the doctor's office yesterday, my son was able to eat 2 entire corn muffins made with cow's milk without a reaction. So, theoretically, he can consume milk as long as it has been cooked because cooking breaks down the protein structure enough so that his body doesn't recognize it as an invader-- plain milk, ice cream, yogurt, butter, etc. are still out of bounds. That means he can now be one of those people who will request his port wine reduction not be finished with butter (as it wouldn't be cooked enough), but he will be able to sop up said sauce with a dinner roll that has a bit a milk in it.

Note to self--figure out way to explain to waitstaff why we're not quite as crazy as the lady with the list. Tip well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would simply ask her or a super allergic customer to give a few detailed recipes that she has decided on and as a kind gesture, you can then make them for her and serve them up nicely and fancy.

She obviously eats, so she knows what she can and what she likes.

Throw the ball into her court. SHe gives the recipe in detail and you do the rest.


Edited by Lior (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lior:

I think you might wish to go back and re-read what actually happened with the diner in question from the OP. Turns out she was as full of shit at a Christmas goose. Eating forbidden foods right off of her neighbor's plates, tipping poorly, etc. No good deed goes unpunished. Any decent restaurant is way too busy just making the dishes that really are on their menu to be taking the time to cook a customer's recipe for them, fancied up or not. If someone has a genuine allergy issue then they should either outline it completely to the kitchen (within reason), or seek advance permission to bring something in a container so they can join their dining companions that will be ordering off the regular menu. And if they're lying to seek attention they should stay home and seek the help of a good therapist and not waste everyone's precious time.


Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...