I belong to a community experiencing a shockingly rapid increase in membership. In fact, millions of people belong to this community.
And I’m not just talking about food bloggers.
I belong to a group of people who, for a variety of reasons, identify with a particular food allergy, intolerance, or restriction.
Beginning with my first toothless bite of a peanut butter-topped morsel of toast (and the hives that quickly erupted all over my chubby baby face), I have lived with a severe peanut allergy. In recent months, I’ve discovered a major intolerance to all legumes (especially soybeans), and an inexplicable intolerance of corn, making savoring fresh summer corn-on-the-cob or truffle-flavored popcorn a thing of the past for me.
For most of my life, I have been unique amongst my peers; I alone was forced to politely ask the mothers at the birthday party whether there were peanuts in the chocolate cake (a horrible notion), or inform the waiter that if they used peanut oil for their fries, I would have to take the mashed potatoes instead. I have experienced the great disappointment of refusing food, and the intense embarrassment of asking friends to choose a restaurant that could accommodate my particular needs. However, even though living with a severe allergy has been difficult, my heightened awareness has led me to become extremely interested in food, food preparation, and restaurant and food service culture.
That’s where this blog comes in. Every time I step into a restaurant, I am forced to “make a fuss” about the food that I am about to order. Although I have met with positive and understanding restaurant staff occasionally, my dining experiences have much more often been defined by miscommunication, confusion, flippancy or ignorance. Food service providers should be working to create an environment that holds customer needs above all else. But they are coming up short. They’re forcing too many people to play Russian Roulette with their lives. On this blog, I will be sharing my dining experiences and thoughts about food safety to encourage business owners to incorporate responsive and flexible practices regarding dietary restrictions.
In the end, I love food. I love making it and eating it, sharing it with friends and family, and ideally, enjoying it safely. If you feel the same, I encourage you to read, comment and share your own stories. I’d love to hear from you!
Feel free to contact me at email@example.com
Pingback: Welcome! | persnickety
Love your blog! Great idea! Your Peanut Devil comrade is ingenious! Wherever did you find it? Good luck in your venture. It sounds like it will be of real assistance to others in your same predicament — of which there are many. Manfred’s Mom
Pingback: El Uh-Oh | persnickety
Bummer about the legumes and corn Jillian! Even more fuss-making, to be sure! We’ll have to trade tips on the best allergy-friendly restaurants in Mt. P now that we’ll be neighbors.
Pingback: July 2012 Living With Food Allergies Blog Carnival « Oh Mah Deehness!
Restaurant servers don’t use their heads. If they screw up your meal for you, you won’t go back, you’ll tell your friends, they’ll get less customers, and eventually will be out of a job. I don’t understand how people can be so dense sometimes. It’s just common sense!
Thanks for your comment, Marcella! I agree, if we follow the chain of logic a bit, it’s pretty obvious that acknowledging and working around dietary restrictions just makes good business sense!
Oh, how I can relate to this. My peanut allergy was discovered at a very young age as well and yep, fuss-making ensued. Constantly. And it progressively got worse! I’m glad to find your blog!
ack! Love your blog Jillian! 🙂 so lovely to meet you yesterday!
Thank you so much! I’ll try to push out at least a few more posts before American takes over my life! See you soon, I hope!
I’m coming to DC in August with my 2 nieces who have peanut and tree nut allergies. With the help of your blog and a couple of other websites I have a several potential restaurants lined up that are knowledgeable and careful and good. The one thing I’m having trouble with is sushi – Japanese. I think Murasaki is the best one in terms of its menu fitting what we like to eat but I can’t find any comments good or bad about how they do with allergies. Do you know anything about it?
I’m so glad you’re feeling confident about your upcoming trip to DC! Unfortunately, sushi isn’t a favorite of mine, so I don’t have any experience with Murasaki. A quick look at the menu makes me think you’d be pretty safe, but I would suggest that you contact them beforehand, and perhaps talk to a manager or chef. I would stay away from all fried food, and stick to simple sushi dishes. I think Japanese food can be a great option for people with food allergies, since the preparation is often so meticulous, but you’ll want to make sure that you feel comfortable and confident in your communication with the chef and your waiter. Have a great time in DC!