10 things we muggles forget when cooking for friends with allergies

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10 things we muggles forget when cooking for friends with allergies

Ever had your throat close up? Ever watched your child struggle to breath? Ever sat with them in an ambulance as it raced to the hospital? Most of us haven’t. But there’s millions who have and fear these moments. Every. Single. Day. No one asks for allergies, just like no one asks for cancer. Siitch just happens.


It’s hard

It’s hard for most (myself included) to comprehend the fear because we don’t live it. We don’t get the seriousness of cross-contact. We don’t understand the fear and list of potential screw-ups running through our food allergic (FA) friend’s minds as we proudly say, “I cooked this just for you!” as we hand them a plate we worked hard to make.


It’s all about communication

Everyone’s Siitch is different. For example; for those with egg allergy, cooked egg might be OK for Jim, but not for Jane. Everyone has their own food prep protocol. They have to. It’s kind of, you know, life or death, dude. Honoring that is huge. Cooking for your allergic friends is a lovely thought, but do yourself and them a favor. Talk to them first. They’ll love you for it.


Below are 10 things we lucky folk don’t know, or plain forget. This list kindly provided by Caroline Moassessi, the Grateful Foodie.


1. Chopping boards – allergens are like ninjas: they can hide out in cracks.
2. Microwave ovens – think of the last explosion: did you remember to wipe down the inside roof?
3. Toasters – those sesame seeds are jumpers! What else has been in there?
4. Knives and utensils – cutting an allergen and then wiping it off won’t cut the mustard.
5 . What was cooked in your oven the night before you cooked this? – allergens don’t ‘cook off.’ Cross-contact applies in the oven as well.
6. Your kitchen in general – countertops and kitchen towels not properly cleaned, and bulk ingredients like sugar or flour are often invisible but major cross contact hazards.
7. Who else was with you when making & baking? – did they just eat an allergen, and are now innocently cooking with hands covered in peanut dust?
8. Brands – some are top-8 allergen free. Most are not.
9. What’s on the label? – in the USA, only the top 8 allergens are required to be listed as an ingredient, but may not be labeled for cross-contact risk during manufacturing.
10. Who is the manufacturer, and did you call them? – Yup, you heard that right. Some companies have amazing allergens protocols, while others just don’t get it. Food allergy labeling laws in the US are incomplete. It’s a long, complicated story. You gotta call to learn more about cross-contact risk.


Diet choices when guests RSVP

For the above reasons and more

Siitch lets guests respond, “It’s complicated. I’ll bring my own food” when they RSVP. It’s not just to help guests feel safe. It’s to let hosts know that ‘hey, love that you might be providing food, but I’ll handle my (or my kid’s) Siitch.” It takes care of the conversation. Quietly. Respectfully.


Bottom line, if you are one of those awesome muggles who wants to try and prepare something for your FA friends, give them a buzz first. They’ll appreciate it more than you know. #compassion
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