Going Gluten-FreeApril 3, 2013

Best-Laid Plans

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Posted by Wendy Mondello

My mouth started watering as soon as I saw the whoopie pie on the cover of the April/May issue of Living Without magazine. It’s believed that the treat got its name in the 1920s when children exclaimed, "Whoopie!" upon finding the dessert in their lunch boxes. I was ready for my family to be delighted, as well, after I pulled these beauties from the oven. But you know what they say about the best-laid plans… 

I had planned to wow my family with dessert over the weekend. But as I got to work mixing ingredients, a call from my uncle changed my priorities. We were all saddened to learn that my aunt had suddenly died. Dessert took a backseat to my concern for my dad at losing his sister and preparation for travel to the funeral a few hours away in southwest Virginia.

I always keep safe baked goods and meals in the freezer for my son, Joseph, who is allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, milk, egg, soy, sesame and mustard. That way, if a tennis match runs later than expected or if I don't have time to make dinner before my daughter's dance class, I can count on those meals I had frozen to feed Joseph. But when I surveyed the freezer to see what I could bring for Joseph to eat during our two-day trip, I was concerned at the lack of options. Apparently, I had gone to the freezer more often than I thought during the past month. Yes, there were plenty of muffins to get us through breakfast and a few cake slices and cookies to cover dessert. But there was only one frozen meal from the last time I made chili mac.

Thankfully, I had one day to make more food to bring and both kids were well fed during our trip. But it made me realize that I need to do a better job of keeping track of my supply of safe meals and keeping the freezer stocked. I want to be better prepared for unexpected trips or other situations where I need meals ready to feed my food-allergic son.

The whoopie pies are on hold for another weekend. Right now, we’re sharing stories about my caring aunt and reminiscing about a life that taught me many things. Her very last lesson to me was a gentle reminder about the importance of being prepared.