Surviving the Holidays with allergies
The holiday season is my favorite time of year because it combines my two favorite things: family and food! As you know, this blog is about baking because of my family’s and friends’ allergies and food restrictions. The holidays can make the joy of this time of year extremely challenging or isolating for those dealing with these.
Picky eaters aside, who doesn’t love a holiday meal with all the fixings? And the desserts following those meals?! You might as well just hang a bucket around my neck to catch all the drool. Most families have traditions and recipes that are passed down from family member to family member and are made every year but what if all of a sudden you can’t have the special rolls Auntie Jane makes or the special pastries Uncle John picks up from the tiny bakery near his house? It puts a damper on the holidays to say the least.
Even if you keep away from those items at the family table how can you ensure someone didn’t accidentally contaminate the select few foods you or your loved one with allergies or food restrictions can actually eat? It can become extremely nerve-racking! The good news is that there are multiple ways to keep everyone happy and safe.
We host most, if not all holidays and inform everyone who enters our home that we are a peanut and tree nut free zone. There have been times, after inspecting a dish, we have had family members turn right around and put whatever food they brought to be left in their vehicles since it was deemed unsafe. Yes some people can, and will, get offended but we request this in order to keep our daughter safe. I may seem demanding but I will put my foot down to keep our home free of her allergens.
Thankfully with our family and friends a gentle reminder is all that is needed. We are very lucky to have such caring and understanding people in our lives because we know it is not always the case when some people are stuck in their ways and think a little bit won’t hurt anybody or they think maybe we’re overreacting a bit (to them- a whole lot!) because they just don’t understand what can happen.
A few things we have learned when we are at other’s houses is to be honest with them regarding our daughter’s allergies. Most people just don’t understand because they do not have to live it everyday but are willing to learn about it and try to remember. We may bring our own food to maintain her safety or serve her first to keep the serving utensils from moving from their original dishes.
The holidays can be both food filled and safe for all when safety measures are put in place either by ourselves or all those who are included. They can still be joyful even if it is a little less carefree.
Hope everyone enjoys the holiday season!