Allergies vs Thanksgiving

by , under food, Mom, personal

As you all should know by now, the Little Kidlet has a slew of allergies and I have a gluten issue. On a normal day, this means that LK and I have a lot of separate meals from the rest of the family.

But how does it affect holidays? Well, in the past, I’d roast a turkey for LK and make sure he had a couple of sides. Now that I’m on a restricted diet, we’re going for broke- I’m going to make a separate meal for her and I.

How to handle it? I bought separate tupperware containers for LK and I with different colored lids so that it’ll be obvious which leftovers are ours. I found matching serving spoons (all bright green) so that it’d be easy for family to look at an item and know that it’s the allergen-free ones, and not theirs.

And to minimize contamination, I’m making most of our food tomorrow. The only thing I won’t be making are the mashed potatoes- but I’ll be making those for the rest of the family, too. After I boil the potatoes, I’ll be setting aside some to make for the Little Kidlet, then use the rest for the big batch of mashed potatoes (then I’ll set aside some of those for me). Oh, and I’ll be labeling all the plastic containers just so we all know what is what.

The menu:
A roast turkey, unstuffed – I bought a fresh one from the store, and made the people at the store laugh because I was looking for the smallest bird while everyone was looking for the biggest ones.
Sage stuffing – I saw this recipe and thought it looked delicious. Instead of making it in the crock pot (next year: tiny crock pot), I’ll do it in the oven and just microwave it the day of.
Gluten free turkey gravy – this I’ll make the day before with the drippings from the turkey, reheat the day of and thin it out if I need to (I bought a LOT of a chicken broth that I know is gluten free).
Mashed potatoes – for LK, I’ll make a batch with almond milk and butter.
Roasted asparagus – a family favorite, I’m really making this one so that LK and I have a veggie on our plate. This will be made day of and at the last minute since it’s so fast (400 degrees for 10 minutes!)

And for me, a pumpkin cheesecake with a gluten free crust. While LK can’t have this (it isn’t dairy-free or egg-free), I can’t live without a dessert at Thanksgiving. He’ll have his favorite snickerdoodles. I didn’t think about experimenting with pies until now, so I’ll start a few trials to prepare for Christmas.

Now, this brings me to an observation I’ve made over the last week. When you start talking about cooking for someone with food allergies, people usually make some pretty crazy assumptions.

A woman I worked with at Disneyland has some similar allergies to LK and posted on Facebook that she was making blueberry muffins. In the comments were several people who said (and I assume they were joking) things like “you’re taking out the best part” or “are they even considered muffins anymore?” And I was suddenly very annoyed.

Why? 80% of the time when I say something about being on a gluten-free diet, the person I’m talking to will reply with “I couldn’t live without [insert gluten filled item here].” Which for someone still struggling with keeping to my diet, is pretty rough. Because yes, I do miss croissants and crusty french bread. But I’m still surviving. Which is the important thing.

When I mention my son’s allergies, everyone responds with “then what does he eat?” Well, there’s a lot he can still eat. Considering it’s been 3 1/2 years of a diet without those allergens, and he’s close to 75th percentile for height and 50th percentile for weight… I think he’s doing just fine. Plus, he doesn’t know how amazing a buttery croissant is. So he’s absolutely fine with his world as it is.

I suppose I’m saying, give people with allergies a break. It’s tough. You can’t go out to eat without asking a million questions- it’s even hard to eat at other people’s houses without interrogating them. It’s one thing to ask me how I handle it. It’s another to lead off with how much my life must suck.

Because honestly, even with all the label reading and a small (but growing) list of trusted restaurants- I still have a pretty great life.

Day 22 of NaBloPoMo