Waiting ... for Patience
Nine years ago, my family and I embarked on life with special dietary needs when my son was diagnosed with allergies to peanut, tree nuts, wheat, milk, egg, soy, sesame and mustard. Plunging into the world of allergy-friendly cooking, I needed patience to figure out substitution ingredients, to make recipes work with replacements and to find products that were safe and tasted great.
Looking back, we are eating so much better now than we ever did before we started this journey. It’s clear that it was worth the effort and the wait.
This month, we’re gearing up for an event to help support my 9-year-old son. The FAAN (Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network) Walk for Food Allergy, which is held throughout the United States, raises money for education, advocacy, awareness and research for food allergies. We look forward to the food allergy walk each year. It’s always a wonderful day of fun and support.
Sometimes it tests my patience to have to wait for more people to understand what it's like for my son to live with the knowledge that one bite of food could kill him, or for research to progress to the point of a cure. But each year, when we walk with hundreds of others who do understand and who are at an event to support the nearly 6 million children with food allergies, it makes it that much easier to wait for change.
For the past week, I’ve been reading “Betty Bunny Loves Chocolate Cake," a children’s book by Michael B. Kaplan, to my 4-year-old daughter every night. It’s the story about a precocious young bunny who has a tough time waiting to indulge in her slice of chocolate cake. Since we are chocolate lovers just like Betty Bunny, we decided it was time to make a chocolate cake for ourselves.
I had told my daughter the night before that we would make the cake, so she had to demonstrate some of the patience of Betty Bunny, waiting for her cake. The dessert followed homemade chicken noodle soup—another favorite. That meal also required patience as I made the broth by simmering a chicken carcass, onion, parsley, celery and carrots one day and then made the broth, chicken and vegetables into soup with Tinkyada gluten-free rice pasta the next day.
(I know I’m not the only person who’s impatient for more research, better accommodation, increased public awareness of food allergies and sensitivities. I’m not the only mother who’s looking forward to the day there’s a cure for celiac disease and a cure for food allergies. But until then….)
As we sat at the dinner table, everyone in the family agreed that our allergen-free meal of chicken noodle soup with homemade bread followed by chocolate cake, was delicious … and well worth the wait.