What Apocalypse?

A food allergy diagnosis as an adult feels like the end of times.

Going forward, the landscape you thought you knew well — your kitchen, your favorite restaurants, road snacks, the very thought of lunch — becomes something foreign and uninviting.  The world shifts.  It kind of sucks. No, it really sucks.

If you can cook, you have to throw out half, maybe all your favorite recipes.  If you can’t cook, you will be learning. Even if you like to cook, this can be onerous.

Having been through this, we are here to help.  Here’s your post-apocalyptic guide to eating with food allergies.

This blog started as an idea for a cookbook, sparked by a plan for a dinner party.  Between the two of us, Denise and Mary Kate can eat, oh, about none of your average (US) American food playbook without alterations.  97% of fun foods that you would order at a restaurant are now verboten  — in fact, eating out is stressful, at best, and for some food allergy sufferers, impossible.  The allergy cookbooks we found were a mixed bag — some were good, some really weren’t, but many of them didn’t have the type of recipes we wanted.  We wanted bar food, snacks, tapas, quick dishes that could be made when you get home at 7 pm ravenous because there’s nowhere you can get a snack when all food is suspect.

We wanted food that wasn’t just safe, but was fun.  Food that you could make for friends and family that wouldn’t make them feel sorry for you.  Food that adults want to eat, not geared towards children.  So we made a list.  Okay. We made a spreadsheet, with many many pages. We’ve grown beyond the spreadsheet, but it still contains things we’ve not found substitutes for.

With the ever-shifting landscape, some of our older recipes are no longer safe for us. We’ve gone from looking for “allergen-free” recipes to “allergy-friendly” recipes. Denise has added new allergens to her list since we started, and we’ve realized that nothing is truly allergen-free for everyone.

We intend this blog to be a place to find food that nourishes the body but also sparks the pleasure centers of the brain.  Food that can be served and shared and enjoyed socially, letting food sensitive and allergic people re-engage with the part of food that brings people together.  A place to start over, re-build, and find something good — and quick — for dinner.

For information on our personal lists of allergens and sensitivities, you can read our individual bios, Denise and Mary Kate.

We share in common a need to avoid dairy, eggs, gluten/wheat, and hazelnuts.  These ingredients will not be found anywhere on the blog.*  Recipes containing the other common allergens will be identified with a “WARNING” tag.

(*Some early recipes do contain gluten, as Denise was not initially allergic to it. They are marked appropriately.)

Denise is also allergic to corn. Corn is everywhere. This is why there is no “corn-free” tag on the blog.

As is always the case, you need to be careful sourcing your own ingredients in accordance with your allergy needs. Be aware of issues with cross-contamination.

These recipes are our experiments.  We have noted where measurements matter, and where your own personal tastes can dictate the final amount of an ingredient.  If a recipe works well for you — tell us!  If a recipe looks good, but contains one of your allergens, and you try it with substitutions — tell us, whether it worked or not, we would love to know.  Let us know what recipes you’re looking for that you can’t find, and we can let you know what we’re working on.

Most of all, we hope you move through the fear and learn to love food again.

(If you’re new to the blog, consider also checking out our First Post.)

  1. I’m so glad I found this blog!! I’m a “99%-diagnosis-Celiac”… in that my doctor and dietician are 99% sure I have Celiac Disease even though my blood test came back negative. I have a variety of other sensitivities and thankfully my gluten issues are, at this point, not so reactive that I can still kiss my husband without grilling him about what he’s eaten that day. I look forward to reading your recipes!

    1. I think that’s about where I am, too — celiac test is negative, but the only thing I don’t have to worry about is cross-contamination. If you cut bread in my kitchen, I’m okay. I am still working on gluten-free baking, but making most non-baked foods gluten-free is now almost second nature. Welcome!

      1. Exactly! My husband can have “delicious, forbidden gluten”. I didn’t go out and buy another toaster, special cutting boards or anything else. As long as I don’t have a slice of bread – I’m fine. I’m sure like most things, it’s a tolerance level… some can tolerate more than others.

        I do, however, have wonderful friends who try to make things without gluten (or dairy) so I can enjoy them.

  2. I am 61 years old and in the past 18 months have become intolerant of gluten, dairy, corn and artificial sweeteners. It has been a difficult, painful (literally) journey.

    I am so happy to find your site!! 🙂

  3. Hey Ladies, I’m really glad I found this blog. I’m 27 and have been on the “road to discovery” with allergies this last year. After many misdiagnoses, I’m currently severely allergic to gluten and have to elimination diet test my tolerances to soy, dairy, all nuts, seafood and eggs. It’s tough to find something to eat when you’re starving but afraid of eating. The recipes I’ve browsed here look great and hopefully I can start to love food again!

    1. I’m sorry you’ve needed to find us, Alexandria, but I’m glad you’re here. It does get easier after the elimination diet, but at least for me, the fear lasted a while. I hope we can help a bit.

    2. Ditto to what Mary Kate said. I’m sorry you’re in this boat, but glad you’re checking out our stuff. Let us know if there are recipes you’d be interested in having a safe version made, we’re always looking for new ideas.

  4. I like the theme behind your blog. One of my best friends is someone with a long list of food allergens. For a birthday gift, someone actually had business cards printed with what she can’t eat for her to hand to the waiter when attempting to eat out. Thanks for linking up today!
    xoxo K

    1. That’s a lovely gift, though not a fun one to need to use. Every time someone who has food allergies — or anyone who tries to cook for someone with food allergies — finds us, it’s nice to know that we can maybe help a little.

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