Sunday, July 11, 2010

Food allergies and festivals

It is hard to go to festivals when you have food allergies. When we go we usually get Nathan a plain hot dog, corn on the cob (no butter) and chips. Usually that is the easiest.
Today, we were at a local festival that had more food and more choices. They had burgers, chicken, fries, etc. I wanted to get Nathan something different then the usual. So, I asked the cashier if the burger meat had anything other then meat or if they cook it in anything like for example butter. She looked at me as if I am just being picky. Then I said I wanted one plain no bun or anything on it. Again the look. Then I asked about the fries (Nathan really wanted fries). So, I asked the cashier again, "are the fries cooked in peanut oil?" again the look then she asked someone else and answers to me "no". Then I ask "are they regular potatoes, no wheat seasoning or anything?" again the look and she asked someone else. The answer was "no, just plain fries." Then I said "I just want to make sure, my son has food allergies and I don't want him to end up at the hospital." She had a look of shock and said "no, of course not!!" in a friendly manner. He ate it and was fine.

In the photo: Nathan sitting in the firetruck at the festival.


Christina said...

I know all about those looks you were talking about. People think you’re just being picky but you’re trying to save your life or in your case, your son’s. I very rarely eat out at festivals unless it’s something simple like a hotdog. It’s a little easier at restaurants but even then I order the most basic of the basics off the menu.

Nancy Holte said...

I just found your blog and in my case, it's me with food sensitivities. I won't call them allergies because, to be honest, they won't kill me should I accidently ingest something. My sensitivities are to soy and dairy products. Soy is in pretty much EVERYTHING that we consume so it's a particularly challenging allergy. And, I would venture to guess that a nut allergy is the same way. Here's how I handle it when I'm out to eat. First off, I make the assumption that there really won't be much to choose from and I go through the menu to see what the viable options might be. Then, when the waiter comes I start right away saying something like "I'm so sorry, I know this is a pain, but I have some food allergies that I'll need to be careful with today." If they know that right up front they won't be so offended by all the questions. The dairy is fairly easy to avoid, but the soy is another matter all together because so many restaurants use soybean oil to cook with. The other thing I do is take a piece of paper, write the top three things I'd like to have for the meal, along with my sensitivities, and hand it to the waiter. He/she can then take it to the kitchen and figure it out. I also leave a generous tip. :-)_ As for the festivals, etc. I always pack some food in my purse for back up.

In general, I've found people to be very accomodating when they are aware of the situation. They may not "get it" sometimes; like the people who think I'm allergic to eggs because it's found in the dairy section, or have no idea that "vegetable oil" can very well mean soybean oil, but still, they try their best.

Hope this helps you for the future. I know it's hard, and frustrating. Somedays I feel like it's hardly worth the bother of eating (you wouldn't believe that if you saw me, of course.)