The furor over peanut butter bans
When at restaurants, my husband doesn’t understand why I frequently won’t inquire about ingredients of one dish or another, to see if it’s safe for me to eat. (I’m on a gluten-free diet due to celiac disease.) He gladly pulls the server aside, or asks to talk to the chef or manager. I only rarely do. I hate the feeling of putting somebody out, and I hate the deprecating, skeptical atttudes that we frequently encouner.
I often read the greatly informative blog by Terri Mauro on about.com on Parenting Special Needs children. There’s a conversation going on there about peanut butter bans in schools. Some of the views expressed there are exactly why I just don’t ask those servers about gluten.
My 5yo son Wesley has both celiac disease, and is anaphylaxic to peanuts. The first is 99% controllable by us; we just don’t eat foods containing gluten. The second is only partially controllable by us: Obviously, he doesn’t eat any peanut-containing product. But, peanut oil is really volatile, and easily dispersed into the air, and, basically, this means that the “scent” of peanuts can be toxic to him. Now, granted, his allergy to peanuts isn’t as bad as some others, but it’s getting worse. We increasingly have to avoid any place where we know peanuts are going to be present, including the ballpark, which we have, as a family, previously loved to go.
No matter how many personally-controllable precautions we take, we are still dependent, somewhat, on the consideration of others willingly foregoing peanuts in his presence. I will never again travel Southwest airlines, nor any airline that is not peanut-free. The angst I felt, rigidly holding the EpiPen, carefully watching and listening to my son as the scent and sound of the foil packs of peanuts being opened made its way back to us… well, it’s just not worth the $20/ticket I saved by flying Southwest. We didn’t have to use the EpiPen, but I will never willingly go through that again.
Rather than hazard the dirty looks, the thinly-veiled skepticism, and the incredulity of those to whose mercy I’d have to submit in order to fly (or whatever) peanut-free, I think I’ll just avoid those places altogether. Bummer. Good thing we homeschool, or I’d certainly come into regular contact with the attitudes expressed in the 50+ comments on Terri’s post. Some of them are in favor of peanut butter bans, but many of the comments are snidely and vociferously against them, faulting both parent and child. 😦