Good Food Blog
Living with allergiesPosted at 5:30PM, 15 April 2010 by Sarah Sysum - Assistant editor, Easy Cook magazine
To be honest, I never used to give food allergies much thought. Lucky enough not to suffer from them, I had no need to - and then I met my partner. He's seriously allergic to both eggs and nuts, so much so he carries an epi-pen.
I was sent into a state of "What can I cook him?" panic, compounded by people around me. "Rather you than me", was one comment, "He can't eat eggs? What on earth are you going to feed him?" another.
Everyone focused on what he couldn't eat rather than what he could
What became very clear was that everyone focused on what he couldn't eat rather than what he could. Ready meals were out, but plenty of home-cooked food in. If you're a keen cook, it simply makes you more creative at problem-solving, not to mention scrupulous about hygiene and cross-contamination.
You can even have your cake and eat it; coconut cake is a staple in our house. Nuts can be replaced with toasted sunflower seeds and the garlicky French pistou gives pesto a run for its money any day.
My advice to anyone new to this is: don't be scared and experiment lots. My first attempt at eggless pancakes was a disaster, now I actually prefer them to the eggy version. A mixture of ground sunflower seeds and a drop of brandy can be used instead of marzipan - it doesn't taste the same but it works brilliantly.
The seriousness of allergies should never be underestimated, but surely those living with them shouldn't be penalised with dull, predictable food?