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?