Happy Holidays to ALL! Here is a picture of my sons, Lennon (AKA Dash Incredible) and Monte (Spiderman) on Christmas morning, post presents.
Lennon is my food allergic child. He was the inspiration for my cookbook. He's still allergic to Dairy, and can't eat Peanuts, Tree-Nuts and Shellfish. This year has been my first year of really experiencing the challenges of having food allergies in the outside world. Up until this year, everything Lennon ate was made or approved by me. But now Lennon is in pre-K. He has lunch in the school cafeteria. All the other kids eat cheese sandwiches, while Lennon eats a turkey sandwich. Well, this has become a bit of a problem, because Lennon doesn't really like turkey sandwiches. Last week I tried making him a sunflower butter and jam sandwich. This upset his teacher, because Lennon had something "different", and she asked me to feed him at home from now on. This too is a problem, because then Lennon will feel like an outsider as all the other kids sit eating lunch, and he sits there eating nothing. Additionally, the teacher organized a party for the last day at school. I bought allergen free candy for the party, but when I arrived to drop Lennon off, I was informed that there would be cupcakes with dairy, and was asked "did I have one without dairy for Lennon?" Of course I didn't, nobody had forewarned me. In fact, I'd been told they'd be making a dairy-free baked good with oil to substitute for the butter.
I have come to suspect a bit of hostility on the part of his teacher. I believe it is because she resents having to alter any of her choices for the food allergic child. The little girl with the apple allergy in their classroom doesn't really disrupt things, but a dairy allergy... well, dairy is a staple in the American diet, and particularly in processed and packaged goods. So I see a parent/teacher conference looming in my near future....
This may seem obvious to some, but in case it's been overlooked, DARK CHOCOLATE IS OFTEN DAIRY FREE. If you or your child has a dairy allergy, go for the DARK!!!!! I have spent this holiday running around replacing milk chocolates with dark.
And in answer to KATE who asked about whether a person with a chocolate allergy could eat soy chocolate -- NO, tho it's made with soy instead of butter, it still contains cocoa which I'm pretty sure is the ingredient that a person with a chocolate allergy is allergic to. White chocolate, however, is not really chocolate, and you might want to look into that (tho not if you have a dairy allergy!)
Can I take one last moment to sing the praises of WYLDE PRETZELS made by Ener G? These are Wheat Free, Gluten Free pretzels (also, free of all top 8 allergens) which are slowly but surely becoming an addiction in my house. They are so... dare i say it... "BUTTERY". Buy them, eat them, you will not be disappointed!
Wishing everyone a happy and healthy new year!