Monday, April 22, 2013

Food Allergies and Our Restaurant Experience

Last week I blogged about how we fear restaurants.  Well, consider this part 2 of that post.........

I had the chance to head out of town overnight for a homeschool convention with just Punkin.  So, I took it and we headed out on Friday morning.  My hubby was in charge of the 4 oldest kids while I was gone.  He took them to ice skating and violin, made all the meals, read to them, and even did some schooling.

On Saturday night he decided to take all the kids to a new restaurant that has many gluten free options.  Basically, this place has "weird food" and we thought Bee would be able to eat there.  He talked with them about the allergies and the restaurant staff felt that the Teriyaki chicken would be something they could alter to make for her.  My husband specified that it must be soy free.  They were going to prepare the chicken with the coconut aminos "soy" sauce and cook all the chicken in olive oil rather than soy oil.  It sounded perfect.

He called me while I was driving home, telling me about the restaurant and the Teriyaki chicken that they were preparing for Bee.  My first reaction was to completely panic.  I asked him how they were making Teriyaki chicken if it didn't have soy (I didn't know about the coconut aminos).  He couldn't remember at the moment and was going to ask the server again what was in Bee's chicken.

He called back a few minutes later and told me they had used the gluten free SOY SAUCE!  There had been a "mistake" in the kitchen and they used the wrong ingredient.  I told him to pack up the kids and leave the restaurant to take Bee home and be closer to a hospital.

I spent the next hour crying as I tried to drive home as fast as I could.  My hubby called me every few minutes to give me updates on Bee and how she was feeling.  He kept a close watch on her for the next 4 hours.  Bee never showed any sign of a reaction: she was never itchy, cranky, wheezing, or felt sick.  I made it home just in time to tuck her into bed and check on her.

So, on Saturday she ate soy sauce (the gluten free kind) with no reaction that we could see.  We never planned to do that food challenge (and I don't advocate doing food challenges at home), but it seems that she passed a food challenge.  We will be discussing this with our doctor when we go back!  Maybe she has outgrown her soy allergy (or never was truly allergic to soy in the first place).  Her numbers were always low on soy so I've always wondered how allergic she was.  Now I guess I know.

This little restaurant mix-up turned out ok for us in the end.  Bee had no major reaction and was fine.  However, this is what I fear about restaurants.  They can make a mistake.  They are either that disorganized and lack good communication between servers and chefs or they are just too cavalier to care about following strict protocols and double checking orders.

I did make a phone call to the restaurant because I was absolutely furious.  They had assured my husband that they would be able to accommodate Bee and her allergies and they let us down big time.  I very nicely but firmly told them about what had happened and about the seriousness of allergies.  They apologized but it was clear they still did not understand the severity of the situation.  We won't be going to that restaurant ever again.

There may be a few good things that came from this situation:  
  • We discovered that Bee's reaction to soy is minimal if she even reacts at all.  It doesn't look like this allergy is remotely an anaphylactic one.
  • I have more motivation than ever to cook at home.  Time to get back in the kitchen and create new recipes. 

1 comment:

Kim said...

Restaurant eating can be scary. With Celiac's, casein intolerance, and a severe soy allergy, as well as minor allergies to a few other things, I really don't eat out either.
We went to Disney world last year with our friends, and sent my allergy form in ahead of time with reservations set, and there were times at the table where I felt like I was going to have a panic attack when he chef came out to talk to me - so I definitely understand. Not to mention the explaining things over and over can get tiring.

Before we started dating, by boyfriend and another person I work with went to a restaurant after work. I figured i would just get a plain baked potato, but they didn't have any so I had a side of steamed broccoli instead. Ever cautious this was me "I need it plain, extra plain, like nothing on it, just plain." To this day my boyfriend will recite it...plain...EXTRA plain!

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