Living with Someone Living with Allergies
I love peanut butter. There I said it, the dreaded phrase that makes my significant other shudder. I knew before we started dating that he allergic to peanuts and tree nuts, but I didn't realize how much it would effect me until we started to live together. Suddenly my kitchen was a hazard, filled with many items that had the potential to kill my other half. The day before J before in I would on a peanut cleaning rampage, all of the peanut butter (three different types) and peanut candies were placed in a trash bag and given to my sister. Once he moved in I realized that wasn't enough, my kitchen was still the danger zone. Plain M&Ms...gone. Granola Bars...gone. Ben & Jerry Ice cream...mostly gone. Dog treats...gone. It turns out that many items I had assumed were peanut free, weren't. It wasn't enough to check the ingredient list for peanuts, I had to check the fine type regarding the facility where the products were made. Cookies and cakes from Farmers Markets became the enemies since most of the kitchens couldn't guarantee the non-peanut cookies didn't come in contact with the (delicious looking) Reeses Pieces Pie. Going out to eat became an adventure, impulses to try out new places had to be surpressed along with Thai food. Going out of town suddenly involved researching any restaurant we might want to go to, checking peanut safe practices as well as insuring that the oil in use was anything but peanut based. This made my college reunion all sorts of fun since South Western Virginia is a peanut happy region where peanut oil is the norm. Taking out dogs for a puppy date resulted in one of the dogs getting an impromptu bath after one of their kids decided to share their peanut butter sandwich. While the pup was thrilled with the treat, about half of the peanut butter wound up outside of her belly so to the bath it was.
I rejoiced when Chic-fil-a switched to using vegetable oil for their french fries. I almost cried with joy when I realized that ANY Wegman's brand item was clearly marked with allergens. While Cold Stone is a no go, Friendly's has a VERY intense peanut safe practice making ice cream nights possible. I learned how to cook things, like bread, from scratch in order to ensure the food was safe. I also learned to take advantage of J's out of town trips in order to get my peanut fixes in, for while I can still eat peanuts I am terrified of forgetting to brush my teeth or sterlize my hands and accidently touching him. When we go out I'm typically the one asking about possible peanut problems, or pointing out the fine print on a menu about peanut practices. Who knew that one person's allergy could turn into another person's fear?
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