Posts Tagged ‘food allergy’

Smitten by My Food Allergy Chef Card

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

Oh, how I am smitten by the power of the food allergy chef card. This was our first trip to a foreign speaking country with our son and his food allergies, and believe me when I say I am very thankful that I took the time to prepare a detailed custom German food allergy chef card to be used in the Munich restaurants and surrounding towns. There were times when the waiters and waitresses spoke strong English, but there were also meals where they did not. In all cases, with some interaction between server and patron, and that small piece of paper with black, red and green ink, the food allergy message was effectively delivered to the chef. And I worried less whether or not the chef spoke English, because the paper with the food allergy message was delivered right along with the meal order slip. Each meal, it was delivered back to the table along with the plate of food, stained and crunched, looking quite used, making me quite happy. One time it was actually sitting on the plate in the food, but I didn’t mind because I know it had been in the kitchen to deliver the food allergy message.

Personally, on this trip the food allergy chef card provided an elegant yet powerful weapon in the arsenal of my most important food allergic diner. It delivered the food allergy message privately, loud, and clear. It minimized the stressful public banter between patron and server while improving the clarity of the food allergy message that actually reached the chef. Of course, we all know there is an inherent risk when dining out with food allergies, but why not use all of the weapons within our power to create a balance between keeping safe and leaving home? Will the food allergy chef card provide good results in the next restaurant? I don’t know yet. Will the food allergy chef card be as effective in other cities or other countries? I don’t know yet. Are all food allergy chef cards created equal? I don’t know that either. Will the food allergy chef card work for you? I can’t predict that.

Please keep in mind that I contacted the manager of each of these restaurants prior to dining there to see if they felt the restaurant was capable of handling my son’s food allergies. And they responded that they could handle the food allergies and that we needed to let our server know about the food allergies before placing the order. Also, the servers in these restaurants were NOT young inexperienced waiters and waitresses.

Click here to see the food allergy chef card I designed for my son to use in Germany. It’s English equivalent is also included. You are welcome to use the design for personal use only. This design is the property of Food Allergies To Go, LLC and is protected by the Terms snd Conditions at FoodAllergiesToGo.com. Please understand that you are agreeing that Food Allergies To Go is not responsible for the outcome of your use of this food allergy information.
I put many hours into this design after studying German, using www.translate.google.com, and the translate option within Microsoft Word. I printed the food allergy chef cards on paper, four per page, then cut them to fit in my son’s wallet. I considered laminating one to be reused but he preferred a disposable food allergy chef card in case it picked up any cross-contamination en route.

There are places online where you can buy food allergy chef cards, but I’m not sure what they look like since I have never seen one. Of course, I can’t know how effective they are. Please tell us your food allergy chef card experiences and let other readers know where you got your food allergy chef card.

Thanks,
Ann

Yeah for Lufthansa Airlines!

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

Happy May 1st, 2010. Just flew Lufthansa from Boston to Munich with my son who has food allergies to milk, egg, peanut and tree nuts and I am happy to say the flight was extremely uneventful. Yeah!!!

The flight was packed, on time, and they didn’t serve those scary little bags of peanuts that some airlines can’t seem to break free from. I was so pleasantly surprised when we were 35,000 feet in the air and the beverage/snack cart made its first appearance and my eye caught a glimpse of the shiny blue and silver packet draped in tiny pretzels. Is it for real? Is that a pretzel? I pinched myself to be sure it wasn’t just wishful thinking (sorry gluten free people). The bag wasn’t bursting with tiny peanuts just waiting to choke my sleeping son. It was full of pretzels. And to add happiness to joy, there was no sign of milk, egg or nuts on the label. I sat there and freely enjoyed that tiny bag of bliss with my plastic cup of water while my 23 year old fell deeper into his peanut free snooze.

Row 52 of the massive jet liner started to feel like Mr. Roger’s neighborhood by the time dinner was served at 9:30 p.m. Bud was awake and had just finished a snack from his back pack when the food carts reappeared. He seemed very happy to be on his way to Munich and I didn’t feel my usual food guilt when I picked at the beef something or other on my tray and hubby dug into his pasta whatever. I consumed my carrots, beans and cheesecake, while number one son sipped on a glass of white wine. I thought to myself, this is a mother’s dream beyond the 15 minute rides in the car when the two of us were buzzing towards a friend’s house and he was still young enough to depend on me for a ride. We had another six hours to go and he was pinned between me and the outside wall of the plane.

Back to the food on my tray. Yes, there were dairy items and probably egg ingredients that he was allergic to, but nothing dusty that was sure to be airborne and dangerous like the forever dreaded bag of nuts. For the next few hours we chatted through the night, while hubby snoozed from exhaustion.

Approximately 8:30 am Munich time, the sun was up from a gorgeous sunrise and it was time for breakfast. We had 90 minutes left on our flight. Dear son had just finished the turkey and avocado sandwich from his bag, when the Nature Valley Oat and Honey bars arrived to potentially dampen my bliss. I thought “pooey“, my nirvana was about to be broken. I knew from experience that these bars when sold in the U.S. were made with peanut flour. Dare I break out the reading glasses? Dare I read the ingredients? Could they possibly use a different recipe than the one that breaks my heart every time I read the box in my local grocery store.

I mustered up the courage, dug out the extra strength reading glasses and did a double take after reading the label. Is that real? Did I read that correctly? Did that just say oat flour? What? No peanut flour? Am I thaaaat over tired? Whoah. It really does say oat flour. How wonderful is that?! Ok. Don’t get carried away. Reality check. There is a “may contains” statement for peanuts, almonds, and something else. Yeah, but that pales in comparison to breaking open almost 500 peanut flour bars.

Good day Lufthansa, good day. I will certainly be happy to fly with you again next time we embark on an adventure. And I will be sure to tell all of my friends and acquaintances that you are not addicted to peanuts like some other airlines. To top it all off, we arrived on time and it wasn’t even raining as forecasted.

See you on the runway!
Ann