With an eye on the food allergy community as a unique group of consumers since 2008, we're on a quest to find and share ways to continue enjoying the good things in life.

04 November 2013

Food Allergy Memory: Then and Now

I have had this blog post growing in my brain for some time now, ever since I saw the article in Boston Globe Magazine about Friendly's. It's funny how life can sidetrack you from things. Food allergies seem so overwhelming. They are such a serious health problem, and then other stuff happens that is so much more overwhelming somehow, and you realize living with food allergies and managing food allergies has become just a part of life. The label checking, restricted list of products, foods, and restaurants...somehow it has all been incorporated into my routine. And I think that is a good thing. We're at peace with the food allergies. We have accepted them and thrive despite them. In the process, we have tried new foods and new recipes, learned so much, and made many new friends.  Isn't it strange, the journey life takes us on?

But getting back to Friendly's now. I can't ever think about Friendly's the same way. My old memories of Friendly's are joyful ice cream-filled memories--a happy place because when I thought of Friendly's, I thought of hot fudge sundaes, and what's not happy about chocolate fudge, and ice cream, and whipped cream?! That's how Friendly's was, until that day my then 3 and 1/2 year old son got this cute sundae, with the ice cream cone hat, and Reese's Pieces eyes and nose, that made his little throat close up. Then Friendly's wasn't a happy place. I look at the Friendly's sign and I remember. "Mama I can't talk. Mama I can't breathe." And the crying. And my fear, not knowing what was wrong with my son. Now the cute sundae seems like a creepy horror movie clown to me.

Don't get me wrong, I still have those happy old memories of Friendly's; and we're slowly accumulating new memories of reaction-free dining out experiences elsewhere, such as Burton's Grill in Hingham, MA. On that note, hats off to Burton's for consistent, worry-free, reaction-free dining out experiences. The staff at Burton's Grill truly "get" food allergies and should be commended for their excellent service and food allergy awareness. We can't wait to find another restaurant like Burton's!

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