I wonder what answer you anticipate—that this will be the big reveal of my diet of air, of spun gold, of broiled unicorn. Cooking must be so hard for you. Perhaps you picture one big bowl of bland slurry. Perhaps my plate, in your mind, is a forlorn jigsaw puzzle: a hole where the biscuit should be.
Sandra Beasley is the author of three collections of poetry and a memoir, Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales from an Allergic Life (Crown). Poem excerpted from “Allergy Girl” from Theories of Falling (© 2008) by Sandra Beasley.
There are a thousand things that hurry us from one place to another, especially during the holidays. But when you see a small business owner putting himself or herself out there, stop if you can. We benefit from their persistence, particularly as part of a dietary community that was long ignored by the mass market.
Every day, I packed my lunch bag with an apple, tuna, soda and so on. Every day, I was awestruck to meet dozens of students—hundreds, total—learning about food allergies, celiac disease and other dietary restrictions.
Sandra Beasley is the author of three collections of poetry and Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales from an Allergic Life (Crown). She lives in Washington, DC.
Sandra Beasley is the author of three collections of poetry and Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales from an Allergic Life (Crown). She lives in Washington, DC. Below is one of her poems, "Dear Skin"
Not everyone loves to cook, yet I do, although my refrigerator lacks ingredients—butter, milk, beef, shrimp, mustard—that others take for granted. I’m a better cook for becoming one when I did, outgrown of grease and salt’s easy pleasures, in an era that champions olive oil over Crisco. Is it easy to raise a child with special dietary needs? No. Will dietary restrictions limit your child’s relationship to food? No. You just have to trust the one ingredient common to every recipe: Time.
There comes a time in every couple’s life when you ask that important question: “Chocolate Mocha or Red Velvet?” Mulling what to serve 130 guests at my wedding, I’d picked up cupcakes from the local vegan bakery. Although egg- and dairy-free batter was a given at Sticky Fingers Bakery, their sugar artist was still working on a recipe for soy-free frosting that wouldn’t upset my stomach. I beheaded another cupcake, before taking a bite from the bottom.
For years, the newspaper recipe for apple-spice cake has been taped by the oven in my mother’s kitchen. It’s now a copy of a copy, made when the original clipping began disintegrating from use. I must have been 14 when she first served the cake. This came after years of dry rice flour blends. Cooking in the ’90s without dairy, eggs or soy produced something barely cake-like, something that no one else wanted to eat.
There is no greater treasure hunter than the child with food allergies on Halloween.
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