Monday, November 22, 2010

Our Thanksgiving Plan

With 3 days left until thanksgiving I'm hoping we all have our "plan" ready. This will be our first Thanksgiving with food allergies. Surprisingly I'm not freaking out. I think it's because my mom is hosting. She has jumped right into our food allergy world, and is so amazing about it. Our other family members get it too. We do have it easier since Cormac only has the two allergies. For that I am thankful. I feel so lucky that there are no battles over this meal. I know that's not true for everyone.

What are we doing to make this a safe meal? Well first all appetizer will be safe. Anything he can get his grubby little hands on, has to be peanut and tree nut free. My mom likes to put out appetizers in the living room, perfect for him to get. So I'm in charge of two appetizers (the ones I would question if I didn't put out). She has asked about the other to make sure they are ok.

All but one dish will be free of his allergens (peanuts & tree nuts). My mom even contacted the company that makes the seasoning she uses for the stuffing. We couldn't get a 100% grantee that it was safe. Their facility is peanut and tree nut free, but they could not confirm if the plant were they get some of their ingredients from is. This was a tough decision. We said ok because the company explained their cleaning practices as well as their allergen testing policies. They seem pretty thorough, to my satisfaction anyway.

Our family has a love of sweet potato casserole. This is the one unsafe dish. Unfortunately our family recipe is topped with pecans. It is so delicious that I can't imagine not having it. The family offered not to have it, or to make it without the pecans, but Jim and I decided we were ok with it. My aunt will be making it at her house so we can avoid the possibility of loose nuts in the house, or the residue it may leave on the counters, cutting boards and such. What we will be doing is making up Cormac's plate and left over Tupperware before anyone even sites down. This way we reduce the risk of cross contamination of utensils and if he wants seconds (which I doubt), it will be all be on the side waiting for him.

As far as Jim and I eating the forbidden casserole, were not sure. We have the bad habit of sharing our food with him. We were thinking of having a separate plate and fork for it, but I don't know if I trust myself. We'll see.

We are lucky enough to have a peanut and tree nut free bakery in my parents town, Carmine's Village Bakery. To be safe she ordered all the rolls, pies and cakes from there. So he will have some options. I'm not sure if anyone is bringing anything else. If so, we will just have to watch him like at any other party.

With all that in place I'm feeling good and grateful to have such a wonderful family. However not all families are so cooperative. If you fall in this category (I'm sorry if you do), make sure you have a plan. He are some thing to think about.

1. When you sit down and think about it, does the meal have to be completely allergen free? For us not completely but the majority does. For some with multiple allergies it can be a must. If so, you may want to host. If your family refuse to make any concessions regarding the meal you may want to say, "We would love to join you but it really is too dangerous for so and so." I know this is not what most people want to do and it sucks, but it may be the only way for people to take you seriously or to keep you little one safe.

2. If you can handle a few unsafe dishes consider a seating arrangement and serving your allergic family member first. Even make up the left over Tupperware ahead of time.

3. Make your allergic family member one of their favorite dishes. In time this will become a part of your usual holiday dinner. Make enough for everyone. This way your little one won't feel like they are the only one eating it. As a kid I hated everything. Our parents use to include a pan of baked ziti at every holiday. It has become a must have over the years, even though it wasn't a holiday staple. Even as adults my cousins and I love having it.

4. Bring all you own food for your little one. Ask you host what they are serving and make as close to an identical meal as possible. Make extra too so they have left overs when they get home that you can all eat together. It's seems like a lot of work, but if it make your little one feel include, I say it's worth it.

Well since it's out first FA Thanksgiving I don't have much more advise. If you have more advise to add please do. Sharing ideas and ways to keep out kiddos safe is very important.

I hope you all have a safe, fun and wonderful Thanksgiving. Oh and check out tomorrows Take Over Tuesday, with Tricia who will share her nut free recipe for a sweet potato pie!


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