Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sunday Afternoon and the Hot Dog Argument

Probably most people with celiac disease, wheat allergies, or any other food allergy live with someone else who doesn't have the same issue(s).  Some homes are allergy free, others coexist.  Hopefully if you live in a home that coexists, you have food rules that you follow.  Rules such as not double dipping into jars. Cleaning off countertops after preparing food. Not using stoneware, wood utensils, or cutting boards for allergens.  Keeping allergen containing foods in a separate cabinet below non-allergenic food. The list goes on. There are many ways in which you can arrange your kitchen to maintain safety.

In our home, my husband said "your disease is my disease" and we replaced all of my precious Pampered Chef stoneware that was blackened by age and perfect seasoning. We tossed all of the wooden utensils and called Pampered Chef again.  Out went to old cutting boards, wood or plastic and I bought new bamboo boards. I cleaned out cabinets and declared gluten free zones. I always try to clean as I cook, which makes after dinner clean up easier too. I also tossed the old plastic colanders and bought new stainless steel ones that can be scrubbed well.

But "my disease is your disease" does not, apparently, pertain to hotdog rolls.  My husband makes a valiant effort at looking at most labels to check for gluten ingredients or a gluten free label.  But he doesn't believe a hot dog can be served adequately on a plate and must be ensconced in bread. Wheat bread. The stuff that makes me break out in hives and destroys my intestines.  You know, the ENEMY.

So yesterday he wanted chili dogs. I bought grassfed, organic, uncured hotdogs and a can or organic vegetarian chili because it was the only gluten free soy free one available.  I didn't think about getting hot dog rolls until on the way home. I am programmed to not even think about buying bread so this was not on purpose.  I didn't make a second stop because I felt we could just put it on a plate. I was wrong.  My husband ate his hot dogs just fine but was decidedly disappointed. So disappointed that he stopped on his way home last night to buy Hormel chili (it's gluten free after all!), Bar S (yes, Bar S) hotdogs, Nathan's hotdogs (also labeled GF), and HOT DOG ROLLS (definitely NOT GF).  He said he had a "bachelor moment" and also bought a few cans of, God help me, Chef Boyardee ravioli.

It's not that I am even tempted by this stuff.  I get heartburn just thinking about eating it.  And the idea of sticking a Bar S hotdog in my mouth knowing what happens to those poor animals makes me gag.  It's the principle of it.  And the fact that "your disease is my disease" does not extend to something like a hotdog.  It rubbed me the wrong way. And then.

And then I came home from church this morning to the announcement that my husband had made chili dogs for everyone for breakfast. Ok. The kitchen was cleaned up and looked as good as I left it.  But when I went into the fridge to look for my own hot dog, I found the Bar S package in the same baggie as my beautiful grassfed, organic, uncured hotdogs. Pools of God-only-knows-what from the "other" hotdogs swirling about in the bottom of the bag, contaminating my potential meal. "Just wash it off."  Can you see the steam that came out of my ears??? If you are as vigilant about what you eat as I am, I'm sure you can. Especially if you can also imagine being hungry because you haven't eaten all morning and it's after noon.

If there is one thing I despise fighting about, it's food.  There are so many out there without access to ANY food, let alone healthy organic food, that it seems ridiculous to allow this to cause an argument.  But it did.  I suppose I could just give up eating hotdogs all together and then it wouldn't matter what is in the bag.  A hotdog is, after all, a hotdog.  No matter how it's raised, it's still mainly leftover bits. What doesn't become hotdogs becomes bologna.  I'd rather have a steak anyway.  But still.

Why share something like this? Because I figure if we go through this, other people must also.  I can't imagine there is anyone who has not fought some kind of food battle since being diagnosed with an allergy.  My husband has been able to embrace almost all of the changes in our diet since my diagnosis, especially because I do most of the cooking.  But we still argue over hotdogs. Some of your battles may be with the school snack policy, or in the workplace fridge, or, as in my case, in your home. But,  to me, the battles at home are the most personal because the people you live with, probably your family, should care the most. Right?  Or wrong?

What are your battles?

And no, I don't get any kick backs or any other kind of profit from mentioning any specific companies.  Names are used only to make my point! ( and hopefully I don't get sued...)

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