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PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2007 7:18 pm 
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Location: Toronto
My sister and b-in-law put on Christmas this year and I know they tried really hard to avoid soy, shellfish and peanut traces for me. But I guess they still don't get my allergy or intolerance to alcohol. (Allergist says it's either to fermentation or one of about 40 chemicals.)

As we commented on my b-in-law's tasty sweet potato dish, he rhymed off the ingredients, noting that he'd added some bourbon to spark up the flavour. Uh-oh, I thought, and stopped eating that. But too late. By later that evening, the underside of my right eye puffed out and the other side of my face had a smattering of hives. Only needed to use Benadryl, but nasty to end up looking like that for the better part of two days.

I've been avoiding fessing up to the reaction (they hadn't noticed the early stages of it). I know they'll feel really lousy about it, especially since they tried hard with the label reading for my main food allergens. Label reading was something they've had difficulty getting in the past. Do I burst their bubble or let this one slide and give them even more precise directions on what I can have the next time? (I'd offered to cook, but my sister likes to do it as well.)

Sigh.

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Allergic to soy, peanut, shellfish, penicillin


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2007 9:53 pm 
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Joined: Fri Dec 22, 2006 12:52 am
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Sorry to hear about your reaction, Gwen. I had a holiday issue too, my dad invited me over for latkes and Hanukkah stuff (the day AFTER Hanukkah, he was too busy to see me during the actual holiday!) and I had called my step-mother the day before (as I always do) to double-check ingredients. So I walk in, and there is Dad, unwrapping a shiny new bottle of CORN oil to fry the latkes in...

I saw the picture on the bottle, immediately said 'oh, what kind of oil is that?' And my step-mother realized the mistake and explained to my father (again) that I can't have it. He said he didn't remember. Then my step-mother make a comment about how they actually tried to call me to ask me to pick something up, but my cell phone wasn't on. She did find a tiny bit of olive oil somewhere and said she would do mine in that. I had to remind them three times though when they kept reaching for the corn oil to do mine first so there wouldn't be residue in the pan.

The whole time, she is grumbling about how they tried to call me, like it is my fault that he doesn't remember about the allergy from the dozens of times I have told him...

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Asthma and eczema
Drug allergy (succinylcholine)
Food (corn, raw apples, green beans, tree nuts, flax)
Misc (pollen, grass, mold, dogs, cats)


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2007 8:54 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
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Location: Ottawa
Quote:
I've been avoiding fessing up to the reaction (they hadn't noticed the early stages of it). I know they'll feel really lousy about it, especially since they tried hard with the label reading for my main food allergens. Label reading was something they've had difficulty getting in the past. Do I burst their bubble or let this one slide and give them even more precise directions on what I can have the next time?


I understand how you feel, that you want to acknowledge all that they have done regarding the label reading and that you don't want to take away from that but...why do we feel guilty for having a reaction when someone mistakenly omits mentioning an allergen until after we have eaten it?

I think that we need to remember that it isn't just what's on the label. Any of our allergens can be added directly without a moments thought by those for whom this is not a fact of life. In the hustle and bustle of holiday affairs something you do by rote (such as putting oil into a pot to prevent boiling over or adding a dash of liquor to a favourite recipe) can be forgotten about.

It is no different than going to a restaurant expect thatthe head chef at a restaurant is probably better organized to prepare huge meals as this is what they do. They (one hopes) have had some allergy training. We still wouldn't show up at their busiest time for a meal.

Why don't you thank them for what they have done and chalk the rest up to experience? Next time you eat out you can quiz the chef on the ingredients and how it was prepared before eating the food.

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Daughter: asthma, allergies to egg, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, most legumes (not soy) & penicillin. Developing hayfever type allergies.
Husband: no allergies
Me: allergies to some tree that flowers in May
Cat: allergic to beef, pork and lamb


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2007 1:32 pm 
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Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2007 3:29 pm
Posts: 192
Location: Ohio
Send them card and thank them for all their effort and say next year its my turn to cook. Then the following year they will have to ask you again about allergies :)

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Karen in Ohio mom of 7
Allergic to tons and tons of food as well as perfumes, scented air sprays and cleaners. Hubby to Fish, ds #2 Shellfish, youngest to Eggplant, potato, Caesin, Raw Tomato & spinach.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2007 4:26 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:53 pm
Posts: 1454
Location: Canada
When eating at other peoples' houses, I generally spend time in the kitchen beforehand asking about the ingredients of every dish. I also ask to read any labels for myself (well, the label-reading part doesn't really apply to me anymore because if there are ingredients I'm not likely able to eat it). Even people who are good label readers don't always see the "may contains." Some people will think that request is odd (none of my good friends or *trusted* family members do), but I've found that others feel more comfortable (and relieved even) when I check things out myself because then if something is missed it is not their responsibility. It can be stressful preparing foods for guests with food allergies.

I don't know what to suggest about whether to tell your sister and brother in law---if you let it slide, would it be likely that they will remember that you had bourbon in the dish at their place before and then discount the allergy later because apparently it was fine that time?


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2007 5:32 pm 
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Location: Victoria, British Columbia
Ah... that is a difficult situation, especially as you are aware of all the efforts they put in to the meal prep. However, I do agree with Helen -- you need to tell them about the reaction to the allergy or at the very least it's going on the menu the next time, and at the very worst, they could doubt your alcohol allergy when you remind them next time.

I kind of need to do the same with my mum and a telling her about the package of asthma/headache-inducing potpourri she put in with the gifts she sent us. Despite being very very close to her, I just don't know how to tell her... but I know I have to. I might wait to talk to her in person because a phone call might seem too critical/ungrateful. It will also give me a chance to read her body language. So perhaps, then, my only advice would be to talk face to face with to the person you are closer to, and just let them know how much you appreciate their efforts but that this reaction occurred.

(HUGS)
Caroline

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2007 12:43 pm 
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Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2007 9:01 pm
Posts: 69
Location: Ontario, Canada
I would probably say something.

I cook the big dinners at my house so my son's allergens aren't an issue but my sister cannot have tap water. It is very hard to remember to use her distilled water for everything when you're not used to doing that. I know I would appreciate the reminder if I had messed up and used tap water.

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Jan, mom to 3 boys
DS#3 - eggs, cats, dust, eczema, avoiding nuts as a precaution
DS#2 - seasonal allergies
DS#1 - no allergies
Me & DH - seasonal allergies


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 31, 2007 2:25 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2005 6:39 pm
Posts: 2948
Location: Toronto
Thanks you guys for all the constructive advice.

I think I will mention, my concern is the very thing Helen raises:

Quote:
if you let it slide, would it be likely that they will remember that you had bourbon in the dish at their place before and then discount the allergy later because apparently it was fine that time?


Being in the kitchen ahead of time is usually part of my routine, except they were cooking/baking over 2 days. They wouldn't have wanted me to move in... :)

Ficbot, sorry to hear about your latke experience. But glad you were able to get them safely made in the end. Guess it's good some of these occasions only come up once a year.

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Allergic to soy, peanut, shellfish, penicillin


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