As my daughter popped a cheese and cracker sample into her mouth at the gourmet food store in our quaint seaside village, my emotions went from fear to panic to relief in less time than it takes to say praline mustard glaze. “WHAT are you doing?!?” I asked as she confidently approached the sample offerings and started to feast as if she does this on the regular. Turns out she does. College kids love free food samples, am I right? I ask her “how do you know these crackers are safe?” Eye roll. Mom I have these every time I’m come here.
I want to believe her but have never seen her just eat something without carefully checking ingredients. It’s not ok till I say it’s ok. I scan the cracker ingredients and sure enough they are fine. OK ... so crackers, whipped cream cheese and praline mustard glaze ... and that’s when fear turns to panic.
“WAIT does that say PRALINE? THERE ARE PECANS IN PRALINES!!!” I said, my heart started to beat faster. She looked at me with the stone cold glare of a teenager who knows unequivocally that she is right and mom is wrong. Then I guess I’m not allergic to pecans,. And then she shrugged and went to look at the sandwich specials.
Wait, what? In 2005 when my now college age daughter was in kindergarten and just diagnosed, her allergy screening indicated a slight allergy to pecans. So she has avoided them for 14 years (or so I thought!) This meant never having pecan pie at Thanksgiving dinner, for anyone. No cinnamon buns from the bakery. Conflict with grandma who always has pecan walnut ice cream in the freezer. And just like that, with no food challenges, no OIT treatment, no dr visits, she is now cleared to eat pecans. Wow. Grandma will be thrilled! I’m thrilled.
We all know this could have ended differently. A mistake like that could easily have led to anaphylaxis or an itchy throat and hives at minimum. It was a good opportunity to remind her to always always always read labels. Even if she’s had the food before. Especially if there is an unfamiliar word on the label. Prior to today she had no clue that pralines are synonymous with pecans. Now she knows.
I think about what could have hppened, but push it out of my brain with a new thought. One less ingredient to worry about, one less nut to avoid at holiday celebrations and to ask others to ban from their menus. One less food that is going to cause an allergic reaction.
I should be ecstatic but I’m still a little freaked out. Nothing like a little scare to keep us on our toes. But I will end with this - if you and your kids can tolerate pecans, this really was a delicious treat.