We are planning on going out to a fun holiday dinner with our girls Sara and Caroline in December. Normally going out to dinner for me is a study in steamed vegetables and broiled steak or chicken. I have even had restaurants proudly bring me a "plain grilled chicken breast" only to find out it had been sitting in butter as a marinade!!!! I also go to great lengths to explain "No I am not on a diet and cutting down on butter, No I am not lactose intolerant, No I can not have a little bit, No you can not just scrape the cheese or butter off". At this point, my husband usually raises his voice and says, "If she has any dairy she will have an anaphylatic reaction and have to adminster this epi-pen (which he is now waving in their face) and have to be taken out of here on a stretcher and may die!" Note: My husband is a straight to the point type of guy. I have a couple of hints to pass along that hopefully will make your life easier if you choose to go out to dinner:
1. Call ahead and explain your allergies and ask if they feel comfortable in keeping you safe. I would rather they tell me the truth even if the answer is no.
2. Make an earlier reservation time so they can attend to your needs.
3. I review the menu before I go (online or ask them to fax or email one to you).
4. I have cards printed with my name and allergies (the card also states that I carry an epi-pen and if I do have an allergic reaction I will need to have it administered and they will need to call 911 imediately). That is a real attention grabber. Sometimes I have been known to put out my epi-pen next to my knife as an added utensil to my place setting just to give a clear visual to the waiter. They say a picture is worth a thousand words.
5. Feel free to speak with the chef or manager directly to confirm your order and needs.
6. When your dinner does arrive confirm that is it free of the allergens you are allergic to.
7. After a good meal always thank the chef, waiter and manager.
8. Lastly, I always have treats in my frig and freezer and I can usually duplicate most dishes at home that are on the menu. I have had to readjust my thinking that when I go out it is usually extremely simple and at home I can make gourmet dishes and dessert. Setting up reasonable expectations like this has really helped me cope with the struggle of eating out.
I have to go and make dinner now.....hmmm what to make?