Thursday, January 8, 2009

Dear God, please say it's not the bacon...

"It could be you have food allergies. I want you to see an allergist." My doctor's diagnosis was delivered with an efficient, directly to the point manner of someone with an incredibly busy family practice, two teenage children, and a dedication to diving. I mean, it wasn't like she had just given me three weeks to live. Yet my foodie heart skipped a beat. Food allergies? Surely something else was causing the hives; the eye so swollen it looked like I'd been punched by an angry vegan and the runny nose...Not my beloved FOOD?? "I want you to avoid processed foods and cook at home until you get tested." Marching orders and multiple scrips in hand I went forth to make the pharmaceutical companies just a little richer.

The first thing I did? Google for info. According to many online sources, 8 common foods account for 90% of food allergies. My palms started to sweat in anticipation of all I could be losing. Could the culinary creature that I am survive avoiding 8 types of food? It wasn't like I was unfamiliar with allergies. Long ago an allergist gave me a scratch test to determine what I was allergic to in the plant world. When all the little scratch sites gathered together into one united hive front, it was safe to say that the known North American trees, grass, weeds and probably the dirt they grow in are out to kick my respiratory system's ass.How bad is it going to be? Let's check the tape. First up?Maybe it won't be so bad. A tall cold glass of milk only held an appeal to me if accompanied by a huge stack of Oreos. My cereal cravings have diminished as I've grown older. I think I can handle a milk allergy.Soy? OK, I could handle a soy allergy. I love Edamame but it's not like I'm constantly mowing them down like potato chips. But wait, that means the fried tofu with crabmeat sauce at my favorite Chinese restaurant is out. So is Agedashi-dofu. I reached for my new eye drops to disguise my tears.Wheat. While I might be living in the midst of America's breadbasket, I've never been a carbo queen. My mother thinks that I would enjoy a bread machine but I just don't eat that much bread. I do, however, enjoy good crusty loaf on which to slather soft and stinky cheese...And there is that lovely fruit and nut packed rustic bread I get at the farmer's market.Despite my sudden epiphany that cheese was in the dread milk group, I found myself craving a grilled cheese sandwich. Maybe the hives weren't that bad after all...Peanuts? No great loss. I usually get nachos at the baseball game (I calmed myself by thinking of gooey nacho cheese made of oil and food coloring). The peanut butter in my house is mostly reserved for persuading dogs to consume their pills. Still peanut allergies seem to be one of the most serious. My instincts said this wasn't the culprit.Tree nuts. While I might not be a peanut fan, the rest of the nut families did hold a certain appeal. I can only eat brownies stuffed with walnuts. Pecan pie is a joy. Pine nuts often wiggle their way into my pasta and salads. My brother just sent me a healthy supply of sugared cashews. Suddenly I found myself reaching for the bag. No way I was going to let these go to waste. A yearning for spinach sauteed in a little olive oil with raisins and pine nuts, finished with a little balsamic vinegar was planned for the upcoming weekend menu.Danger Will Robinson!!!!! Danger!!! Houston, we have a problem!!!! Were my watery eyes deceiving me, or were the last three foods on the list eggs, fish and shellfish??? It couldn't be! What would my breakfast loving, sushi pounding, bay crab worshiping soul do??? Give up my crab? Omit the ovum? No longer swim with the fishes? Inconceivable. Thank goodness the sushi joints I frequent don't stay open late or I would have been sympathy sucking down some serious salmon, tuna and eel. I peeked at online crab shipping sights. What would I eat with my bacon. (OK stupid question since there's not much I DON'T eat with bacon.) Steamed shrimp with Old Bay would be off limits. And I could never be a judge on Top Chef since the abundance of scallop dishes would send me into a hive infested itch spiral.

I pondered all these things as I slugged down the small pills that would give me some relief from my symptoms. Maybe I was worrying for nothing. Maybe my skin suddenly developed a hatred for the laundry detergent I've used for years. I took some comfort in that but I also practiced my speech to certain restaurant owners that I could no longer patronize their lovely establishments. And maybe, just maybe those same restaurant owners would take up a little collections to keep me stocked in pills. Certainly a small price to pay to keep me coming through their front doors.

18 comments:

frogponder said...

You don't want the soy allergy! I have that and soy is in EVERYTHING! And it hides as things like Texturized Vegetable Protein and Vegetable Flavoring. All my cooking, including bread, is from scratch. Can still find pasta, one kind of chicken broth and ONE BRAND OF CHOCOLATE.
You can tell what is most important in my world...

Big Shamu said...

Oh crud. That's not good news. (Please let it be the laundry detergent!!!!)

TROLL said...

Good luck. Hope it's something like the detergent. Food allergies aren't fun. Especially for foodies.

Gnomeself Be True said...

I feel the same way about stinky cheese and sushi. Hard to imagine life without...

Good luck.

moi said...

Well, the only good thing I can say about allergies is that they often go as quickly as they come. May whatever this is, GO quickly. And not be stinky cheese because I simply cannot be left all alone in my wuv of Limburger. Or can I? Anyone?

NYD said...

Click your heels together and repeat after me; There's no place like home, There's no place like home,There's no place like home.

Big Shamu said...

NYD, I'm already in Kansas and I've been clicking my heels so long to get out of here that I've worn out a pair of shoes.

Big Shamu said...

That is a truly stinky cheese. Enough must eat it for most grocery stores to carry it. Secret Limburger Lovers.

K9 said...

funny post! i mean, not that you have a food allergy. i woke up with hives once - i was up in the woods and i assumed some terrible bug had gotten in bed with me and bit all over my stomach. no! it turned out to be a certain kind of downy fabric softener.

hey! thats where my currency cows went. grrrrrrherhahahaha!!

i get stuffy when i eat shrimp. not enough to stop. i dont like sushi but Big Dog does so i have to do tempuras and fried rices and such.

i hope the allergy is something you are happy to live with out.

very enjoyable post!!

i was worried i read a top chef post im behind by two weeks.

Aunty Belle said...

FUNNY!!

Hope it is only peanuts--that is a biggie fer some folks, though OMIT THE OVUM was a recent piece of advice the doc gave me too--huh?

Well, the yolk is ok, avoid whites.

Mebbe it is nuthin much--does ya have new carpet? Some of the backing used in carpet makes some folks allergic.

Very funny post.

The Java Junkie said...

This is a long shot, but did any of your blood tests come back positive for V-8???

Big Shamu said...

Maybe. But the overwhelming presence of fish sauce messed with the results.

Big Shamu said...

Actually Aunty, I have very little in the way of carpet and rugs. My Sarah Dog saw to that.

Aunty Belle said...

did I say how beautiful all those eggs is--the photo in the post? Lovely.

The Phosgene Kid said...

Take the pills and eat what you like. As long as you aren't sprouting a second evil head you'll live. If I developed an allergy to Dairy I'd have to give up my WI citizenship - not eating cheese is a mortal sin back there.

Big Shamu said...

Those eggs are beautiful aren't they Aunty.

Phos, I'd take shots for eggs, fish and shellfish. Pills, shots, whatever.

The Phosgene Kid said...

I'm with you. I'm still trying to figure out the whole allergy thing - dogs for instance, my grandpuppy has allergies. How can an animal designed to eat stuff it finds lying on the ground have allergies? Just doesn't make sense.

Miss XaXa said...

Outstanding post Shamu! I hope all is well...Personally, bacon lives at the top of my food pyramid! Take anything, but not the bacon! Or the sushi, or the eggs, or the... ;)