This past week the gluten free and allergy friendly community was reeling about an article on Huffington Post Parents written by Carina Hoskisson. I’ve calmed down just bit since reading the article as all I was able to say right after I read it was F&&*** Shit! So now I can actually put my feelings into less expletive words to convey my point, but, yes, I’m still pretty much pissed about the whole thing so please forgive me for uncharacteristically harsh words (but hey, the woman is getting her own bitter medicine back). You can find this “masterpiece” here:
The article is called “Why Do Your Kid’s Allergies Mean My Kid Can’t Have A Birthday?”. You can stop right there and marvel at the ridiculousness of this sentence. Lady, you gave too much power to some allergy prone rugrats, something that is only governed by God – having a birthday is a biological fact stemming from another biological point of being born (yes, unfortunately into your family), therefore your kid will have a birthday every year whether you celebrate or even acknowledge it or not. Logic, Lady, you lack logic, along with heart, soul, compassion and care.
She writes: “Last week a friend of mine posted this question as a Facebook status: “What is gluten, nut, and egg-free AND also store-bought that I can serve at a kindergarten class party?” I don’t know, air?”. Way to go, jerk, let’s mock little children who have serious medical condition! And having an allergy IS a medical condition and also a disability, an invisible one, and the one that is completely unrecognized as such and therefore often discriminated against. Can you imagine her saying some derogatory words towards a child in a wheelchair or a visually impaired child?! I say even her stupid mind would remind her it’s politically incorrect. Yet she finds it completely acceptable to insult children with life threatening allergies.
She writes: “All over the country parents are being asked to accommodate the specialized needs of other people’s children thanks to the skyrocketing number of food allergies and food intolerances. We can’t bring in homemade cookies or snacks; we’re asked to buy commercially prepared goods. Even if you agree to bring in commercially prepared snacks, you’re asked to make sure they’re “gluten, nut, and egg-free” or some other combination of scary food exorcism. I am rapidly reaching the end of my rope as I try to accommodate what feels like every child in the universe”.
Has she ever stood by her child holding an Epipen in her hand ready waiting to see if Benadryl will work fast enough and praying that this anaphylactic reaction will not progress into a life emergency?! No? I sincerely hope not, for the sake of HER child! But this is exactly what happens to MY child, before he even stops chewing, if you give him melons, now apparently banana too, and some other foods that we are still trying to figure out. Granted, he is 16 and can figure out for himself what not to eat and exercise restrain when the allergens are in his sight, but I STILL need to remind him not to touch store cut fruit even without melons, watch out for fruit sauces, ice cream and other foods where those fruits could be hidden, and to chastise him for not bringing his Epipen. What do you expect from little 5-6 year olds? And even if they do understand not to eat the allergen food, do they understand that they may get a reaction when their friend who just had a peanut cookie touches their face, or when they all share crayons or even if the allergen is in the same room and is inhaled? So, Lady, why is your child’s “necessity” to have cake at school is more important than my child’s health or even life?! Forget about concern and understanding, do you not see the sheer ridiculousness of your complain? You just compared a human life to a selfish “I want it, and I want it here and now” request to have cake! As for myself, I won’t die if I ingest some gluten, but I will develop a number of serious symptoms that will make me wish I was actually dead.
She does say she has egg allergy herself (really, that didn’t teach you anything?) but she adds: “To a certain extent, I get it. When I was in high school, a girl in my town died from eating a few bites of a Twix bar that happened to contain traces of peanuts. Many allergies can be deadly, even in tiny increments. If a child in the same homeroom as my son could go into anaphylactic shock and die due to allergies, I think we have a communal responsibility to keep him or her safe. I would never endanger the life of a child over a peanut butter cookie; that would be ridiculous”. So you contradict yourself, Lady, or more so you’re a hypocrite! And to WHAT extent do you actually get it? A girl died from a life threatening allergy, you acknowledge it yourself. And how can there really be ANY extent to it, you either get it or you don’t, or rather say, care!
She adds:”I don’t demand egg-free items when I go to parties or to work events. I don’t always get to eat what people are serving, but I certainly don’t demand that my friend make me a separate cake for me on her birthday”. I agree about big parties or work events, but, your family and friends? They won’t accommodate you either? Maybe because you gathered similar careless and cold-hearted people around you like yourself. When I go to my family or close friends’ gathering, they ALWAYS make sure there are some foods I can eat, and they will change the restaurant venue at my request so I’ll have more choices, as it recently happened, and they will patiently wait till I’m finished quizzing the waiter about the safety of food choices, but then again, maybe I’m just “special”.
But let’s just go her route and suggest some kid and allergy friendly snacks she could’ve provided if she wasn’t such a narrow-minded as****e: mini gluten free pretzels and apple sauce cups to dip into, store-bought cut up fruit and yogurt or chocolate sauce dip (if dairy is not a problem), baby carrots and creamy gluten free dressing, baked potato chips and guacamole and salsa dips (if tomato is not a problem), allergy friendly store-bought cookies and gluten free made icing and sprinkles for kids to decorate their own cookies… I can go on… She didn’t even want to look that route as she was so set on complaining about her kid not having a cupcake on his birthday at school.
Now let’s concentrate on the last word I just wrote – school! It’s a school setting, where kids go to acquire knowledge, not a party place and definitely not your house! Be grateful that some teachers allow children to feel special on their birthday and permit any celebration at all, it’s not their job, their task is to teach, not to manage your kid’s gastronomical “necessities” of having some cake in a middle of a school day.
And let’s not forget to talk about the actual cake for your child. She writes: “I’m supposed to feed my kids processed, preservative-laden food because your kid has a wheat allergy? No. I don’t want to. I want my kid to have the made-from-scratch cupcakes, the ones made with fresh butter, sugar and yes, real flour with real gluten in it, and not a commercially prepared cupcake that has an ingredient list a mile long. How could that possibly be better? Not to mention that commercially prepared items are expensive”. Lady, is that the ONLY meal your kid will have that day, or even that week? F**** NO! Of course not! So he won’t die from one little processed snack but WILL have the joy of sharing his birthday celebration with ALL of his classmates and maybe even learn some compassion and understanding (something that you obviously missed in your upbringing).
And your complain “my kid shouldn’t have to forgo his birthday cake because yours can’t eat it” is ridiculous too. I’m pretty sure your kid will have his birthday celebration at home, and then most likely a bigger party at some kids place, and you will probably serve cake yet again to certain guests who were not able to make it to either family or kids party. I know how it goes, I have a kid myself! So it may actually be good for your kid to NOT have MORE cake and try doing something creative at his school birthday celebration, like maybe a party collage, or coloring project, or whatever else crafty thing he likes. So your phrase “let the rest of them eat cake” is utterly gluttonous and self obsessed.
At the end I sincerely hope that your kid will never develop any allergy or any other serious medical condition and lives a happy and undisturbed life. I do also hope that somehow somewhere, as it’s obviously not present at home, he learns compassion, tolerance, understanding and concern for others’ well being. And who knows, maybe he will even be brilliant and develops a vaccine or medicine to treat serious food allergies. Well, let’s just hope…
What’s Cooking This Week
Trying to accommodate a person with food allergies is not often easy, but there are still plenty of healthy and tasty choices once you get a bit creative. The recipe below is allergy friendly (omit tomatoes if they bother you) and definitely play around in the kitchen.
Chicken and Butternut Quinoa Stew
1-1 1/2 lbs of boneless skinless chicken pieces (I used thighs)
2 1/2 – 3 cups of butternut chunks
1 1/2 cups of quinoa, rinsed
2 cups of cut or cherry/grape/Campari tomatoes, sliced in half
3 vegan/chicken bouillon cubes diluted in water or 3 cups of stock
1 onion, chopped
1/2 tspoon each rosemary, marjoram, coriander
Olive oil, salt, pepper, fresh herbs for garnish
In a large pot heat up some olive oil and sauté chopped onions till slightly golden, add chicken pieces and continue sauté to brown the meat. Add bouillon cubes or stock, cover and slowly bring it all to a boil. Then add butternut chunks, salt, pepper, spices, cover again and let it cook on a low flame.
When the butternut is almost done, add cut tomatoes, cover and cook some more.
Stir in quinoa, add a bit more water if needed and bring it all again to boil. Cook on a low flame until quinoa is soft and butternut is cooked through, stirring frequently. Add chopped fresh herbs like dill or cilantro at the end.
The dish is hearty but definitely healthy and nutritious. And let’s not forget it’s delicious too!