Sunday, August 9, 2009

Julie, Julia and Food Allergies

Yesterday I got to see the film Julie & Julia, you know the one where Meryl Streep plays Julia Child and Amy Adams portrays the blogger who cooked her way through "Mastering the Art of French Cooking."

The film draws both on blogger/writer Julie Powell's memoir "Julie & Julia" as well as Julia Child's memoir "My Life in France." (Both books are fascinating--I think.)

What does this have to do with food allergies? Well, on the surface, nothing. But the movie shows how much an attitude towards food can influence our lives.

While I watched the film I couldn't help but think that it glorified cooking as a means of expressing love and enjoying life. These are not new concepts but for those of us dealing with food allergies,  this is an important message.

Being aware of cross-contact or checking labels constantly, not to mention ever-present restaurant dangers can really take the fun out of eating. But we really shouldn't let that happen. As parents or caregivers of allergic kids (or as allergic adults ourselves) we are forced to become familiar with ingredients and we are also called upon to be home cooks and bakers.

This can feel like a burden or like too much work, but as the film Julie & Julia shows, you can view this another, more positive, way. When you feed your body well and embrace food as a means of showing love, you embrace life. Just think of the cakes you've baked for your kids or the allergy-free but delicious meals you've created for your families or yourselves. Even if you aren't the best cook or baker in the world, creating food for your family shows them you care.

Having food allergies doesn't mean you don't love food. In fact, having severe food allergies makes you more conscious of food than you may have been otherwise. And in our fast-moving culture, this is not necessarily a bad thing. Making our own food forces us to slow down and savor.

Watch Julie & Julia and you'll realize that this is a gift. Each meal you prepare can be a present you give to your family or to yourself.


kelly said... well put! i couldn't agree with you more!

Anonymous said...

I agree. this is but one of the "gifts" that have come our way since the food allergy diagnosis. we have become a much more mindful family in many ways. no more racing around in a fog; going wherever, eating whatever, on to the next thing... we stop and plan each meal. we make it ourselves. we stop and consider where we are going and why we are going. we now make choices based on what is best for US, not anybody else. The food allergy has given us the reason and the strength to do this, where we wouldn't have before.

SnoWhite said...

well said.

having a nut allergy myself, I've been learning how to enjoy cooking. as I have, I've fallen in love with cooking - it brings me so much joy! It's so nice to enjoy food again :)

Jane Anne said...

Such a great perspective! I haven't seen the movie but I still appreciate your words. As an allergy parent, I think my attitude has a huge affect on my allergic child.

Rhonda Lewis said...

Great posting. I am looking forward to seeing the movie and will appreciate it from a different light now. Thanks!

reluctantveggie said...

what a great takeaway from the movie. it definitely inspired me to want to cook more. :)

Courtney L. said...

So true. What a wonderful view to take on it, that every time you (the parent) prepare a safe and enjoyable meal you're showing your love and loyalty to your child. That each meal is to be enjoyed and appreciated because it is carefully planned out and crafted (it is special) instead of seeing the limitations food allergy can place on mealtime. It's that old 'gratitude = happiness' again. And it's very true for food allergies as it is for other aspects of life.