Death at the Chinese Buffet

6 01 2010

I thought about checking into a food allergy support group. But I didn’t want to be in a group of over protective soccer moms and their snot nosed nut-allergic kids. Nut-free schools and safe snacks. That’s like having a playground without metal slides.  What’s the fun if no one gets hurt? No, I wanted an adult group. A group where we are allowed to make poor choices.  The allergist ordered strict avoidance, but shouldn’t that be open to interpretation? Strict avoidance—except for special occasions. Strict avoidance unless having intense cravings. Pre-medicating with Benadryl is acceptable when it’s something that you really want. I’ll die if I don’t get my rapunzels! It’s okay to evaluate the pros and cons before indulging. If I die eating crab rangoons at the Chinese Buffet, will I die happy?

Jacks always told me that she would give up cigarettes if I gave up chocolate. I told her it wasn’t the same thing. Chocolate wasn’t going to kill me.

 Jacks was mixing a batch of chocolate chip cookies. She dumped an entire bag of chocolate chips on top. She swatted at me with the spoon as I slipped a morsel into my mouth. After I swallowed that chocolate chip, breathing was like sucking air through a dirty straw. Jacks stopped stirring. I started to cough and wheeze.

“Are you okay?” she asked.

“I must have swallowed wrong,” I said.

“I thought I was going to have to call 911.”

 It happened again at a New Years buffet hundreds of miles from home. There was no chocolate on my plate. Oysters Rockefeller, Rainbow Trout, Bison. Nothing I hadn’t eaten before. I turned all red and blotchy and I could feel my heart pounding in my neck. I stopped eating, drank water and it went away.

 Finally, I got tested for food allergies.

 I used to laugh at people with food allergies—not the serious ones. You know the ones I’m talking about. People who claim to be allergic to pepper because they sneeze or brussel sprouts because they develop intense flatulence. Or those rich people in East Grand Rapids that give chefs a hard time by claiming pseudo-gluten allergies. Low-carb has fallen out of fashion, so gluten-free is the new black. Only they don’t know what that really means, so they get mad when the chef substitutes potato for the couscous. Okay, I still laugh at those people. 

 I’m a pain in the ass. This past New Years dinner, Jacks made me a special pork roulade without pistachios. Just yesterday she made stir-fry minus the red pepper chili sauce. I read about how some people with food allergies carry a Chef Card, a business card with a list of allergies to give the waitress when dining out.  If I gave any waitress my Chef Card, they would escort me out the door. Corn. Tree Nuts. Shellfish. Fish. Chocolate.  Black peppercorns and hot peppers seem to becoming more of an issue.

In the past, I have enjoyed Thai, Chinese and Indian Cuisine. I love Sushi. Jacks still makes this for me in the safety of our own home. Untried restaurants were the next frontier. Now, I have to be careful what I order. Everything invariably contains corn in some form or another. And pre-medicating with Benadryl, means I need a designated driver, because I’m comatose before the meal ends. This must be foodie hell.

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One response

6 01 2010
Maureen

Foodie or not, sounds like hell.

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