Food is such an integral part of our lives…..and around the holidays, it seems to take on an even greater importance. Holiday traditions often revolve around food–Christmas cookies, the Yule log (our Christmas Eve dessert), latkes on Hannukah, turkey and stuffing on Thanksgiving, pies, sweets, cranberry sauce….the list goes on and on. And if one of your children has a food allergy, well, then these fun holiday traditions are full of potential issues, tantrums or epipen moments.
We have been lucky, so far, to have kids who are allergy free except for an issue with amoxicillian. However, we have close family members with Celiac’s and a constellation of other allegies, including eggs, nuts, peanuts, peas and chickpeas. Seriously, who knew people were allergic to chickpeas? But I digress. Now, our Thanksgiving dinners have gluten (wheat) free stuffing (not as good, but the sausage is a nice touch). We can’t add chestnuts either due to the nut issue. And pies are out for the Celiac. I once ate a gluten free, egg free, nut free, dairy free cake at a toddler’s birthday. It wasn’t the tastiest cake I’ve ever had (ok, not even on the top ten) but it had a pile of frosting and candles and the birthday boy in question didn’t seem to notice a difference. Meatloaf gets made with rice as a binder, instead of egg & breadcrumbs (not bad at all). And, did you know you can buy dairy free, egg free cookie mixes? Or dairy free margarine?
I’ve learned a lot about allergies in the past six years or so. For those of you dealing with food allergies, what are your tricks to getting through the holidays? What recipe can you not live without? What food substitution works well for you? How do you make tasty holidays meals for everyone in your family?