You're not allergic, you idiot

As a total foodie, I find that challenging your tastebuds and trying new flavours regularly is one of the joys of life. I always feel a bit sorry for people afflicted with allergies, pregnant women (who can’t eat soft cheese or sushi!) and diabetics.

While we all need to watch what we eat to avoid ballooning in weight or croaking too young from clogged up arteries, the people above need to be doubly careful since there are serious immediate implications to giving in to food they shouldn’t have – I should know, lovely Lynsey at work nearly sneezes her brains out if she eats anything containing gluten!

When I cook for friends, I love to introduce them to new food, without serving anything TOO weird… But when someone mentions allergies, it stops me right in my tracks. Uh oh, must really watch what I put in this dish! I would feel awful to cause a friend the kind of physical discomfort that comes from a bad reaction to nuts, for example.

However, there is a nuance. There’s real allergies, and then there’s what food sissies call “allergies”. When I hear “Oh, I’m allergic to red peppers, I once had a bad experience with red peppers”, whereby they mean they don’t particularly like the taste of them, or they ate a dish which contained bad prawns which gave them the runs, and to which they associate red peppers.

That. Is. Not. An. Allergy.

Comprendes? That’s a food dislike. It’s no more serious than my sister Julie disliking mashed potatoes and spending many childhood evenings alone at the table after dinner, left there to finish her potatoes if she wanted dessert. The only thing that could have killed her there was boredom.

A one-off bad experience with fish shouldn’t be a reason to stop eating seafood altogether. It makes my blood boil that people cover their picky taste with a medical condition such as food allergies.

If you’re one of these people, do yourself a favour. Next time you go out to a good restaurant, somewhere that serves quality food, try something out of your comfort zone. Maybe give salmon a go again? I’m not saying jump straight into the raw oysters, but don’t cut out an entire range of food from your life simply because you’re too weenie to try it again.

Now, how about a chilli fried scorpion to top off that burrito?

16 responses to “You're not allergic, you idiot

  1. pa

    Véroooo, tu vas me faire passer pour une mère marâtre! Et toi, il me semble que tu étais “allergique” à la sauce aux tomates sur ton spaghetti, hein??

  2. It’s more common than you’d believe these days. It must make the people with real gluten or lactose intolerance go crazy listening to these medically backed excuses.

    Many times I have confronted people and asked what symptoms they get and for the stuff I know about like gluten and lactose and often they pick the wrong thing. There are even people who are so fussy they have half a dozen of these conditions. It’s getting to the point that it is almost anti-social.

    Thanks for your post. I am glad to hear someone else is thinking the same way.

  3. Amen! Sing it, sister!

    That said, there are weird conditions out there that make people experience certain flavours differently. Like my dear friend Anne, whose “topographic tongue” causes her to shun aubergines (they hurt) and coriander leaf (tastes soapy).

    Then again, she hates chocolate, so is a weirdo, and can safely be ignored.

  4. Adam, you always come up with fascinating info, you know. Either you’re really clever, or you’re making it up! 😉

    Chocolate-haters are definitely not normal… I would keep a close eye on that friend.

  5. “Clever or making it up…”
    Yes. And I want you to continue wondering that. :p

  6. pa

    where is the Cheez Whiz for my speghetti?
    Often it is a time of the child’s life ..being difficult, or feeling sick with certain foods. Adults should experiment and eat more fruits and vegees, and cut most of the red meat and processed foods. That will train the taste buds and save medical bills (and the environment?)

  7. ‘she once had a bad experience with red peppers’ sounds like they chased her down the road or something. I agree that it is difficult to spot the real allergic people from those that are fussy. I’m not allergic but vegetarian and that can be a pain to some people!

  8. Caliss… A Canadian girl who hails good food and not only Poutine, which is maybe what you are refering to when you mention that you enjoy sharing new culinary experiences with your friends! I had a read through your blog and loved it. Hope to meet up with you soon in one of those blogger meet up. Might be the opportunity to tuck into some decent food;) A bientot.

  9. By the way if you have the chance to come to London and to be able to afford it (or to have it offered) I strongly recommend you this place: http://mountaindwellerviews.blogspot.com/2008/02/cuisine-like-no-other.html

    Otherwise, you may already know TrustedPlace, but if not, have a go, it is worth browsing through: http://trustedplaces.com/

    Cheers,

    cedric

  10. mandy

    When I eat peppers – red, green, spicy, sweet – so far all of them, I not only have to run for the toilet, but I go into an asthma attack. Even if I smell them cooking, I will have an asthma attack, and sometimes it occurs hours later. I appreciate people who feed me, but I fear people who think I am being a sissy and call me an idiot. I am so allergic to peppers that I it has made me “sensitive” to oranges and band-aids. That means if I each one orange, I might break out into hives all over my body for a week – I might not. Oranges aren’t worth it.

  11. I have food allergies. What really annoys me is when people “claim” to have food allergies and then after discussing it with them a bit, I discover they’ve never even been to an allergist! That really bugs me. People like that make my life more difficult because when I’m in a public eating situation sometimes my food allergies don’t get treated seriously because there are too many fakers out there. I have seen an allergist and been tested. I’m not guessing that I’m allergic to certain things. I know I am because it has been confirmed in testing. So many foods contain things that I’m allergic to that I accidentally come across things that give me reactions now and again. In fact, I’m sitting her now with a topographic tongue reaction (haven’t had one of those in about 15 years, not fun) and still trying to figure out what i ate that did it. Food allergies are very serious and if anyone seems to have sensitivities to certain foods they should run, not walk, to an allergist and get tested. Since our meals typically contain multiple types of foods and ingredients, it can be really difficult to pinpoint the foods you’re allergic to on your own. I’m allergic to all beans (including soy and green beans), oats, fish (but not shell fish), apples, bananas, and pork.

  12. karin campbell

    When I eat red pepper, first my tongue swells up and then my face. It takes at least 5 days with antihistamine to go down again. How do you explain that please?

    • @karin: At no point did I say that all allergies across the board are fake! My dad (posting as “pa” above) is allergic to cats and he spontaneously turns red, itchy and teary when kitties appear. I know what real allergies are. No doubt peppers are particularly bad for a number of people.

      My criticism is towards those who make gagging noises or say they won’t eat something, but if they were fed them, would *not* have a physical reaction. They’re being childish, babyish and using what is otherwise a VERY serious issue (like you and the risks involved should your throat swell up) to cover up what’s just a food dislike.

      Big difference…

  13. Michelle

    ”Oh, I’m allergic to red peppers, I once had a bad experience with red peppers”, whereby they mean they don’t particularly like the taste of them, or they ate a dish which contained bad prawns which gave them the runs, and to which they associate red peppers”. To this I say give me peppers to eat and I will throw up at your table get anaphylactic shock and pass out. What an ignoramus you are.

  14. Andy

    Michelle, you are being silly. Take a deep breath and re-read the article

  15. binkydinky

    I am actually allergic to peppers, as I have to carry an Epi-pen when dining out or ordering food. It’s most definitely NOT an ‘I hate them so will say am allergic thing’, as the first time I ever had food with them in it, my lips, tongue and throat immediately swelled up and had to have an ambulance called as was starting to pass out as was going into anaphylaxis. I had never had them before and I was only 10, I have had a few other severe reations since as people don’t believe me when I say am allergic to them, so will cook using the same oil or put chillis into a sauce.

    I had a skin patch test done just to make sure I was allergic and came out in hives all over my arm as soon as they pricked me! lol that was fun! I can even handle them as they bring my hands out in a rash, its a shame as it does greatly reduce my dining out options! I do love to cook as well 🙂 and have found other ways to introduce flavour without the need for peppers 🙂

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Oh hello there!

I'm Véro - a crafty, knitty, spinny gal who enjoys making (and drinking) a cocktail or three. If you've stumbled here, you might enjoy browsing some of my older posts with the tags over to the right or finding out more about me.

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