Today’s post is all about eating. Let me preface this post by saying that I completely understand that there are many, many people out there with legitimate food allergies, some of them pretty dang scary as the ultimate result could be death. I am in no way poking fun at anyone with food allergies. I have food allergies myself and do my best to steer clear of any dishes containing the offending foods.
But, sometimes it seems to me, that society today is experiencing a new “craze;” one where it is cool to have, not just a food allergy, but a whole litany of food allergies. I get the impression that these folks think of themselves as the ultimate health conscious consumers because they are allergic to – oh I don’t know – EVERYTHING!
Believe me, I get it – we’re all trying to eat cleaner and healthier. But, there are limits people. Taking the clean and healthy living to the extreme is fine, but, here’s how it sounds to me when I dine with one of these very special, and over-the-top sensitive, people: (I’ve color-coded the conversation for ease of reference – waiter is green, I’m purple, my hyper sensitive companion is black (not Negro, the font color).)
Can I start you off with something to drink?
Just water for me, thank you.
Okay, and how about you?
Is it tap water or bottled water?
We have both.
Is the bottled water, spring water or filtered water?
I’m not sure, spring water I think.
Do you know which spring it comes from?
I’m sorry I don’t.
Well, I’ll try it, but it may be contaminated if it comes from certain springs high in the mountains of (pick your poisoned place).
I’m pretty sure it’s American water. It’s bottled in the US.
Do you know what you’d like to eat?
Tell me about the catch of the day, is it farmed?
No, it’s from the ocean.
Do you know where approximately in the ocean? Was it from anywhere where there has been a previous oil spill or other toxic waste dump?
I really have no idea.
Well, I better not risk that. Mercury poisoning is more common than you think. I’ll have a migraine for sure. Our oceans are so poisonous with all of the waste dumped into them. How about the beef, is it grass fed?
It’s all organic.
Oh good. Do you know if the grass was in any way genetically modified?
I really don’t know. It’s organic, so probably not.
Well, I get horrible stomach cramps if the beef isn’t completely one hundred percent organic.
Well, we have some really good free range chicken.
Okay, how is that prepared?
It’s pan seared with a sea salt and a wine reduction sauce.
Pan seared? Do you know what kind of oil the chef uses for the searing?
I can find out, but I’m pretty sure it’s olive oil.
Extra virgin olive oil?
I’ll have to ask.
And the sea salt, do you know from which sea it was mined?
Hmmm. You know not all sea salt is healthy. Some of the sea salt now is being imported from the (pick the toxic sea of your choice) and it’s not properly processed so there’s a chance there’s bacteria floating around in it.
I wasn’t aware of that but I can ask the chef to keep it out if you’d like.
Yes, no salt please. And how about the wine, is it from a local winery?
I think so. We feature mostly local wines in the restaurant.
Well do you know if the bottle has an old-fashioned cork or was it one of those new styrofoam type corks?
I’m pretty sure it’s probably the old-fashioned cork.
Oh, well I better skip the chicken then. Those corks are not properly sanitized before bottling and bacteria can grow when the wine touches it. I’ll be sick all night if I have that. I’ll just have the chop salad.
Okay, what kind of dressing would you like?
I can’t have anything with eggs or dairy. I will swell up like a balloon if I eat eggs or dairy. Do you have a vinaigrette of some kind?
We have a balsamic.
Is the vinegar aged in a barrel?
Uh . . . probably.
Do you know what kind of a barrel? Was it American oak or French oak?
I’d have no way of knowing that.
Some barrels manufactured in America are made from a certain kind of oak that has a toxin in the tannins that leach into the vinegar as it ages. I’d better not risk getting a rash. How about just some fresh lemon juice then?
Okay, so chopped salad with lemon juice?
Fresh lemons. Not juice from a bottle.
I’ll bring you some lemon wedges and you can squeeze it yourself. And for you?
I’ll have the number four.
Okay. I’ll get that started for you and I’ll be right back with your water and some bread.
Oh no, no, no. No bread. I’m highly allergic to gluten. I don’t want any bread near my table. If I even touch bread I’ll get a horrible headache and my throat swells shut. Please – no bread.
Okay. I’ll be back with your water.
You see how ridiculous this all sounds? I know I’m going a bit over the top, but really, that’s how I feel when I dine with someone who is a health zealot. It’s embarrassing and takes forever. I want to say, “just bring her a stalk of celery.” People, if you are this crazy, wigged out about contaminating your body, stay inside your recycled plastic bubble where it’s safe.
I often get hives and a rash if I eat salmon. You know what I do? I don’t order salmon. I probably won’t even order anything with fish in it, just in case. You don’t need to make a big deal about your allergies and there’s no need to have an hour-long discussion about them. Ask for clarification – sure. Ask if the item contains dairy or nuts – fine. But, all of your outrageous madness is NOT cool. It’s annoying.
Please don’t misunderstand me dear readers, if you have a food allergy, I am so very sorry that you have to contend with always asking questions. I feel bad for all those moms to have to read every single line of fine print on food labels so their kid won’t go into Anaphylaxis shock if they accidentally ingest a nano-gram of peanut oil. I really do feel for you. And I am ever so thankful that I don’t have to worry about that.
What I’m talking about here are the extremists, the people who jump on the allergy band wagon because they coincidentally get a headache after eating some kind of food or maybe got stomach cramps after eating at a new restaurant. Here’s a thought, maybe it’s not a food allergy at all, maybe it’s just your crazy over-active hypochondriac imagination having some fun with you. Just saying.
So readers, do you have any food allergies? Does it bother you when your dining companions make a big deal about their food allergies? Inquiring minds want to know.
Word of the day: Macadam
Fun fact about me: I’m not always very tolerant. (Shame on me.)
Original post by Jansen Schmidt, May 2015. Photos courtesy Google Images.