Thursday, August 22, 2019

Email your Food Allergy Frustrations!

So, last month, I finally got fed up-- pun intended!-- with the NYTimes Food section which never acknowledges food allergies, much less publishes anything about them.
  Actually, that's not true-- last year there was an excellent article on food labels and how crazy-making they are, with "may contain"and "processed not he same line as" and "made in the same facility as"-- you know what I'm talking about.

 THAT article was really good, but in general no mention is made of allergens or reactions or substitutions for even common ingredients like nuts of dairy.

So, I sat down and composed an email to the writer Melissa Clark--whose recipes I always like. But, more importantly, I have always liked the upbeat "voice" in her writing and the acceptance of real world constraints, like time, affordability, accessibility of items as well as how difficult the dish is to make.  In general, I always like Melissa Clark's columns.
  So I wrote to her, noting that I was not a nutcase--but acknowledging that nutcases often say they are not crazy.  And, I laid out my beef [yes, pun intended]: Why didn't the NYTimes ever acknowledge food allergies or food allergic people when 15 million of the eating public deals with food allergies every day.

I wrote one morning, never expecting an answer-- but I got one a day later-- and, her response was lovely. She noted that food allergies must be hard to live with, understood my frustrations, and vowed to tell her editor that food allergies matter.

Of course, over the next couple of weeks Clark published [unintentionally of course] two recipes that were safe for my family to eat! I immediately wrote to tell her; and again received a lovely email back, hoping we would enjoy the meals she had published the recipes for. 
[We did.] --and a note here: my family is dealing with the Big 8 plus sesame--so the recipe jungle is a little more complicated to navigate than if we had only a couple to cook around.  [Not that even a couple is easy--especially when milk, wheat and nuts seem to be the extra added deliciousness in every dish conceived!]

So, while there have been no more allergen-acknowledged recipes, I do feel that people listen, people are concerned and can be educated--if we persist and push the conversation forward--always with a smile.