Saturday, May 17, 2008

Peanut Allergies Away From Home

I've had some intensive "food allergies away from home" training these past several days since my family moved into an extended stay hotel while we wait for our new house to be vacated. Due to closing date mishaps, we sold our house but have a 2-1/2 week gap until we can move into our house. (Hey, but at least we sold! :))

We decided to stay in a suite with a kitchen and wow, that makes a difference. For sanity's sake, as well as space, we're still eating out a lot more than usual and so far, so good. I'll admit that eating out is something I've tried to minimize but I'm getting more confident and so is my daughter. She's 8, so we're trying to have her communicate her needs to waitstaff (under our supervision and with our help, of course) and that has really given her a boost.

I'm not enjoying my "extended stay" exactly, (and anyone who has ever had to do this, you know what I'm talking about) but it has been a good experience in terms of proving that food allergies can be managed away from home.

A reader on this blog asked for advice about dealing with restaurants. My doctor recommends that we always get the chef informed and also calling ahead is a good idea if you're not familiar with the establishment . Also, if possible, I check the restaurant's web site for the menu. And, we tell the staff about our allergy concerns immediately upon arrival. Avoiding desserts is also a good idea--you just never know with those.

One more tip: have some simple menu items in mind when asking about safety. It helps to be specific, since foods are cooked in all different areas of the kitchen.

After this, I think I will have a whole new attitude about staying away from home. Today, Chicago's suburbs, tomorrow the world! Paris would be nice. Maybe when the U.S. $ is stronger. :)

How have you coped with extended times away from home?? I'd love to hear your tips and experiences.

1 comment:

Allergy Mom said...

The only extended time we have been away from home is on vacation. Most restaurants have been very accomodating to us when we tell them about our 2 year old with food allergies. Our experience is that chains are little less likely though. I haven't figured out why.

I'll be thinking of you doing this time. Especially for sanity.