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 firstname.lastname@example.org