Visiting Atlanta for the first time this past summer, I went out to eat three times. Two out of those three times, my allergies were put to the test. At diners such as OHOP, a.k.a. the Original House of Pancakes, I typically get pancakes, eggs, bacon, & juice. However this simple order wasn’t so simple. If my friend had not noticed that on PAGE 3 of the menu a small warning notice that mentioned the inclusion of peanut oil only in the pancakes, then I would’ve been a goner! Atlanta couldn’t stop me that time, buuuuut the next time it did.
El Taco is a lively, Mexican eatery where people have the potential to win menu items every hour. Before the meal even actually started, self-served chips and salsa were an option that my friends and I darted at immediately. There were only five or less ingredients in each salsa, and I read them all CLEARLY—so I thought. After about three minutes, I noticed maybe something wasn’t right, but I kept going. After a few more minutes I really was feeling sick. But with just chips and salsa in front of me, I could not put a finger on what was the cause of this awful feeling. After walking quickly to the bathroom, I asked a waiter if there were nuts in anything we could’ve been eating (thinking the chips were probably cooked in peanut oil). He mentioned there were peanuts in only one salsa. I’ve heard of peanut butter in chili to make it thicker and peanut oil in pancakes due to OHOP, but nuts in salsa was completely new! Thankfully Benadryl saved me again, but I’m curious why my allergy attack wasn’t more severe—I only felt like getting ill for 15min or less. Moral of the story: if you have allergies, READ THE INGREDIENTS at least three times. Just because food doesn’t seem like it has nuts doesn’t mean that’s true.
Starting the New Year out with a nutty situation seems to be a trend for me. This Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, I was reminded of the fact that you can never trust a drunk woman (or man) with telling you the actual ingredients of food she made earlier in the day, when she was not drunk. No matter how tempting apple pie may be, unless you have every ingredient typed out in front of your face, do NOT eat dessert without knowing its components. Reassured by a more-than-tipsy guest at my cousin’s feast for the New Year, I was told there were no nuts in her apple pie, but there were. Walnuts, to be exact. Needless to say, Benadryl once again came to my rescue that night, and after a few minutes of separating myself from the situation I was an okay-but-very-sleepy version of myself.
This Jewish New Year reminded me of New Year’s Eve a few years ago. Over-confident and potentially tipsy, I ate cookies made by caterers at a friend’s house party; I didn’t even think to ask the caterers what the cookies were made of. BAD CHOICE. To make a long story short: I ate one bite of a cookie, immediately realized it contained nuts (macadamia I think), ran upstairs to calm down, took two Benadryl, ran back downstairs to take a shot of vodka, suddenly felt like I was going to pass out, and then dove into a bed in my friend’s guest room at her party that I was about to ruin. Going in and out of consciousness, I couldn’t gain control of my body or the situation. I knew I needed my EpiPen, which would shoot epinephrine into a fatty body part of mine and ultimately control the allergy attack. One of my best friends decided to be the hero and stab me with the EpiPen. However, EpiPens are not that simple: you need to be aware of which side the shot will come out because until it hits your skin the shot is not visible! With a 50/50 chance of either giving my leg the shot or giving her thumb the shot, my best friend did the latter of the two. While practically unconscious, I remember her turning as pale as her yellow top, and unfortunately the ambulance was the only thing that could save me. I’m sure the other guests weren’t happy that the night ended less than one hour after the clock struck 12. With one New Years Eve party ruined and one friend with a thumb full of epinephrine, I was okay. But I will never forget that night and never eat cookies from “strangers” while tipsy ever again.