Food Allergy Counseling

Food Allergy Counseling
Sloane Miller, Food Allergy Counselor (Picture © Noel Malcolm 2013)

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Lilacs





It’s that time. Spring allergies and this year they are raging.

It’s also that time for lilacs, they too are raging and only for a few weeks.

I had to have some, to remind me of the lilac bush at our old house on Long Island. And because they smell lovely and springy.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Florent, NYC

Florent: always a good time and yesterday was no exception.

I started going, in the 80s, late at night, me and the 7 foot tall drag queens and tranny ho messes . It was not nice in the meat packing district back in the day: meat scraps and beef blood in the street, fish stink from the river, all dark corners and prostitutes. And then the oasis of Florent. I was only a young teen, out way too late, but it was super tranny fun.

Then I didn’t return to Florent until the aughties—still a late hang, still a fun crowd.

Now it's closing.

So Shari of Bayer Public Relations, Francine, the new Editor in Chief of Food and Beverage Magazine, and I trouped down for a goodbye luncheon.

Only now did Chef Michael they tell me that they make fries in a dedicated fryer. We’re going back again for Denial.

Here are some pix on a rainy Monday on Ganesvoort Street before it all goes away.

Front entrance:


Menu:


Pate:


Chee-burger:


Chicken sandwich:


AG's Mushroom omelet:


Inside/out view:


Interior view:


Why the hood is changing:

Monday, April 28, 2008

Worry-Free Dinners™ Event -- Date Change

PLEASE NOTE NEW DATE

Our next Worry-Free Dinners event is 6pm, Sunday, June 8th -- just send an email to worryfreedinners@gmail.com for an application and join us!

**This WFD event will be sponsored by the online health news network, HealthCentral.com. Dinner guests will also receive an assortment of Certified asthma & allergy friendly™ environmental control and allergen reduction products from the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America worth $500. (Seriously!)**




We're going be cozily encamped in a booth at one of New York City's yummiest hotpsots, Craftbar on Broadway and 20th street.

Yes, we are doing it on a Sunday, early, so hopefully some of you out of towners can join us.

And yes, that is rabbit terrine you see on the menu.

And yes, it's ALL gluten-free. And peanut-free (all Crafts are peanut-free, go Tom). And tree-nut free. And shellfish free.

Craftbar rocks my world; let it rock yours, come join us!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Jason Shinder, 1955-2008

I don’t usually use this space for this kind of sad news but I’m compelled to let you all know of a truly beautiful person whom I was fortunate enough to call mentor and friend.

I met Jason in 1996 when I started my MFA at Bennington College.

We bonded over being Jewish, New Yorkers, and poets in the decidedly un-Jewish, un-NY yet very poetic state of Vermont.

He was my teacher in every sense: supportive, encouraging, a guide, an advisor. Add to that his great sense of joy, his ability to play, his gentility, as well as an incredible work ethic and life ethic and you had everything you could hope for in a creative writing professor.

Here’s a poem from the New Yorker from this past fall, about his mother’s death and his own illness and his unflagging sense of "it’ll be better around the bend".


***

Living by Jason Shinder
October 1, 2007


Just when it seemed my mother couldn’t bear

one more needle, one more insane orange pill,

my sister, in silence, stood at the end

of the bed and slowly rubbed her feet,

which were scratchy with hard, yellow skin,

and dirt cramped beneath the broken nails,

which changed nothing in time except

the way my mother was lost in it for a while

as if with a kind of relief that doesn’t relieve.

And then, with her eyes closed, my mother said

the one or two words the living have for gratefulness,

which is a kind of forgetting, with a sense

of what it means to be alive long enough

to love someone. Thank you, she said. As for me,

I didn’t care how her voice suddenly seemed low

and kind, or what failures and triumphs

of the body and spirit brought her to that point—

just that it sounded like hope, stupid hope.


***

His most recent book of poems Among Women is revelatory and painfully revealing. Seek it out. Get to know this gentle man. And be ready to be heartbroken.

***

Jay-Bird, you are loved. And you are missed already dearheart.

Gluten-Free Recipes

No not from me, dear ones.

But from Epicurious. The below is from their press office.

"Epicurious.com has advice on baking without gluten, essential gluten-free ingredients for your pantry, and more tips and resources for living without gluten, including how to avoid wheat at restaurants and what to look for on product labels. Thanks to increased awareness of the gluten-free lifestyle and a dramatic improvement in gluten-free flour blends and other products, it's now possible to avoid gluten and still eat deliciously. Enjoy!"


Thanks Epicurious for getting on the gluten-free train of love!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

US Mills, Erewhon Cereal

I haven’t been in the cereal aisle in an age. The last time I tried an organic brand, it tasted like cardboard frankly. And that was before I went GF. So three years ago now. So much has happened.

I was wandering the aisles of the Union Square Whole Foods with Danielle who is also GF. Her quest was a decent tasting amaranth cereal. I drifted into the aisle with her and happened upon Erewhon cereals at my eye level. (On a tall day, I’m 5’2”. I can just hear K. making a snide height joke right here about eye level, so feel free to insert your own right now). Crispy rice. GF? Not a nutty facility? Organic? I was sold. (The 365 brand according to their label is produced in a contaminated facility so I passed on all of their lovely seeming product).

I had a bowl when I got home later that day and guess what I heard? Yes! Snap, crackle, and pop. Really, my friends were back and the cereal was delicious—tasted seriously close to rice krispies to me. Add some Suzanne’s Specialties ricemellow crème and I may have an organic rice-stravagaza of goodness on my hands: partially organic, rice sweetner based, GF rice krispie treats...oh my waistline, stop me now...

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Triumph Dining, The Essential Gluten-Free Restaurant Guide, 2008-2009

Publishers "Triumph Dining" kindly sent me a copy of the 2008-2009 edition of their “The Essential Gluten-Free Restaurant Guide” for a review.

The comprehensive US, city-by-city, state-by-state guide is well laid out and clear, indicating a GF menu, if GF specialty products are made or if (happy shock?!) a restaurant is 100% GF; prices for entrées, addresses, and websites if available are listed.

If that weren’t enough (if you’ve ever read or used a Zagat you know it would have been), these authors have written a brilliantly supportive introductory section about how to get a great gluten-free meal when dining out.

“How?” is a question that comes up again and again in emails from readers of this Allergic Girl site: how do I manage to have such happy allergen-friendly meals so often? How do I create those relationships with General Managers, with Chefs, with restaurant owners? What are the steps? What is the right stance when ordering?

I've laid out the process in several posts on this Allergic Girl site but the savvy Triumph Dining authors have placed all of that kind of information in 16 easy to read, clearly worded pages. The advice they give for the most part is very sound and not unlike my own, which is probably why I like it and agree with it so wholeheartedly.

They open the section with their core attitudes for successful GF dining:

“1. The first fundamental building block of successful gluten-free dining is the ability to share information in a clear, efficient manner.

2. The second is the development of rewarding short and long-term relationships with restaurant staff.”

The next few pages are filled with superb dining-out strategies: everything from the importance of becoming educated about the ingredients in different cuisines to how powerful a thank you is after a successful free-of meal.

If you couldn’t tell I really think the introduction is worth the price of the guide alone, especially if you are just starting the journey of how to eat out with special needs like celiac disease or food allergies.

Great work Triumph Guides!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Mets vs Reds, courtesy of AAFA

(information provided courtesy of AAFA.com)

Sunday May 11th, 2008 at 1:10pm
Mets vs Reds

During the National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month, join the New York Mets, supporters, patients, friends and the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, as we raise awareness for asthma and allergic diseases.

Each member of the group will receive a Commemorative Shea Stadium Lapel Pin (with advance purchase through this link; redeemable at the Fan Assistance Booth located behind home plate in the Upper Level with your game ticket).

Tickets can easily be purchased through the Mets online group ticket window
at this mets.com/groups link.

Upper Level Reserved seats (purchased through the Mets online group ticket
window) are $10 per ticket with a percentage of the proceeds going to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

The first 25,000 female fans in attendance will receive a pink Mother’s Day
cap sponsored by Toyota.

TO PURCHASE TICKETS:

Please visit www.mets.com/groups

Sign-In ID: ASTHMA
Password: METS
(both words ALL CAPS)
All payment and shipping details will be available online at the time of purchase.

Tagged: 7 Random Things About Allergic Girl

From Ruth at Allergizer, thanks for including me Ruth!

Here are the rules:
1. Link to the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog.
2. Share seven random and/or weird things about yourself.
3. Tag seven people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.
4. Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

***

Here are my totally random things:
1. I try to fit in a nap every day. Even when I worked at a desk job, 3-4 was my sleep-working hour—I was at work but not really.

2. The smell of the ocean makes me supremely happy and makes me want to nap, immediately. Hmm I’m sensing a theme here.

3. I think Brooklyn is the real NYC—brownstones, community, mom and pop stores. Love it.

4. I had a major allergy attack during a snowstorm in February. Odd.

5. I enjoy washing dishes; I find it soothing. Yes even when I've worked in restaurants as a bus girl and dishwasher (but then they have the machines).

6. I really loooove my new iMac. It’s 24 inches, bigger than my television.

7. I’m excited for the new Star Trek movie directed by J.J. Abrams. But this weekend I saw Jackie Chan and Jet Li kicking ancient butt.

Here's who I'm tagging:
Lady Brett G
Gabs at Peanut Free
Hilary at Gluten-Free Guidebook
Karen at Herself Gluten-Free

Go to it ladies!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Worry-Free Dinners at Craftbar

NOTE DATE CHANGE:

Our next Worry-Free Dinners event is 6pm, Sunday, June 8th -- just send an email to worryfreedinners@gmail.com for an application and join us!

We're going be cozily encamped in a booth at one of New York City's yummiest: Craftbar on Broadway and 20th street.

Yes, we are doing it on a Sunday, early, so hopefully some of you out of towners can join us.

And yes, that is rabbit terrine you see on the menu.

And yes, it's ALL gluten-free.

Allergic Girl and the Hudson Valley Celiac Support Group

Dear friend and fellow Bennington College MFA alum Linda Freeman invited me to come talk with her celiac support group in the Hudson Valley Tuesday April 15th. (That’s upstate New York to those of you not in the tristate area or unfamiliar with the Hudson River School, but I know you knew that).

Linda is a true go-getter. As soon as she was diagnosed, she jumped right into the swing of getting informed, building a community, and founding the Hudson Valley Celiac Support Group. (Speaking of swing: did I mention she and her husband Chester teach swing dancing?)

If you're upstate NY, come, join us--it would be great to see any fellow bloggers, swing dancers, food allergic or those that love them!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Noodle Kugel

Did you get all excited thinking I had a recipe? Sorry, my lovelies, I don't.

It's another year another noodle-free, matzoh-free Passover for me.

I won’t lie.

It sucks.

Matzoh ball soup is one of my all time favorites. Matzoh brei? I could live on the stuff.

Noodle kugel? Well, perhaps there is some light there. Maybe there is a possibility that I could make this into a GF/DF version? Have you? I could slip in some rice noodles with Lactaid milk but how to replace the sour cream? Oy, oy, oy, that is going to be quite a trick.

Every year I make this kugel [glutinous and dairy-ful recipe below]. They kvell in the aisles. Seriously, there’s fighting over leftovers.

But how to make an Allergic Girl friendly one, as well as the crowd-pleaser?

Here is the recipe for the traditional one, courtesy of Epicurious.com--go, play, make substitutions and tell me the results, I'm going try a few versions myself...

EASIEST NOODLE KUGEL

8 ounces wide egg noodles
1 cup dark raisins
5 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, cooled
1/3 cup sugar
4 cups whole milk
3 cups cornflakes, coarsely crushed
, 1/4 cup (packed) dark brown sugar 

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 13 x 9 x 2-inch glass baking dish. Spread uncooked noodles over bottom of prepared dish and sprinkle with raisins. Whisk eggs, sour cream, butter and sugar in large bowl until smooth. Whisk in milk and pour mixture over noodles. Let kugel stand 5 minutes.

Mix cornflakes and brown sugar in bowl; sprinkle evenly over kugel.

Bake kugel until set in center, about 1 hour. Cut kugel into squares. Serve warm or at room temperature. 

Serves 8 to 10.



Bon Appétit

Too Busy To Cook
November 1998

Anita Hacker, Los Angeles CA
Epicurious.com ©
CondéNet, Inc. All rights reserved.


PS I totally mixed up holidays. Kugel is for the New Year NOT passover. OY. However, in Fairway I discovered some GF Passover egg nodles from Israel: Gefen. So I'm going to make it anyway. The downside is that although Gefen IS GF, they use "Walnut Oil" in most of the GF noodle products. Go figure.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Wholebody Podcast from Whole Foods

Looking for some suggestions for alternative therapies and relief from seasonal allergies? My buddy Brent let me know about Whole Foods'podcasts on just these topics. Have a listen here and enjoy!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Egg Whites in Cocktails

Recently, I met a date at a favorite watering hole: Flatiron Lounge. I asked the bartender to make me a mocktail that I made-up: fresh ginger, lemon and honey. I’ve requested this many times at Flatiron Lounge, from different waistaff when I’ve brought date there or even way back when I brought authors there [not for a date silly, just to talk about their projects].

This last time was no different. Except it was a Sunday. And the joint was empty. So the bartender, maybe having some extra time on his hands, gave my drink something special: a head. Yes, my tall glass of ginger lemonade came with at least an inch of foam atop. I hadn’t’ seen that foamy business on my mocktail before but didn’t give much thought to it.

I sipped. Tasted OK. Not too sweet, a hint of fresh ginger and mint and a background sourness from the fresh lemon.

Then thought the better of my taste: what if he slipped me some Amaretto, just to be “nice”.

I find bartenders are often “nice”. It’s their job to be personable and friendly, and often, if you’re a regular, or a girl, they may give you twice the amount of alcohol requested or slip something flavorful into your drink without you knowing exactly what. I’ve had bartenders put lychee nut [a fruit] into ginger ale and make soft drinks hard just in an effort to please the customer, namely, me. They don’t mean ill; in fact, quite the opposite. Most people who come into a bar, appreciate the extra booze or the extra fruit, the extra effort really.

And I love extra effort and extra care: it's wonderful. However. I, like any allergic person, prefer to get exactly what I asked for, no additions please.

My date noticing that I wasn’t drinking my special drink asked if it was all right. I said it seemed to be but I needed to make certain. We called over the bartender who came out from behind the bar to talk with us. (I told you it was dead in there.)

I asked, “Can you tell me what exactly is in this?”

He said, “Sure. Fresh ginger, lemon, honey, water and egg whites.”

“Egg whites?”

“Yeah, they make it nice and foamy. Is that OK?”

“Yes,” I stammered.

I turned to my date who was as surprised as I.

Concerned, he asked, “Are you allergic to eggs?”

“No,” I replied,“Luckily, I’m not but what if I were? This drink would be a potential killer.”

Raw eggs in cocktails are nothing new but there are having a revival. As the New York Times reported last week: “Suddenly, eggs are everywhere. Just a year ago, a bartender in the meatpacking district lamented that while she longed to add a flip to her cocktail list, she feared it would be impossible to sell a drink that listed eggs as an ingredient. (‘I can’t leave it off, though,’ she said. ‘What if someone’s allergic to eggs?’)”

Smart woman!

The New York Times continues: “Why all the eggs? They blend the drink, and add body to it...A hard-shaken egg white adds foamy texture to a cocktail.”

The New York Times added one sentence about the pubic health issue, side stepping egg allergies completely. “As for salmonella, New York City’s Department of Health doesn’t seem too fearful — so long as customers are informed, a spokesman said, adding that raw eggs are legal.”

I wish my bartender at Flatiron Lounge felt so inclined to let me know there was egg in my drink. The fact that I was not informed is nicht gut. But again I didn’t have an issue.

For those of you with an egg allergy, who go out to drink at upscale restaurants or trendy bars in large cities, beware my friends: raw eggs in drinks are coming back.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Allergic to Wine

Allergies to wine this came up at our first Worry-Free Dinner™ last week.

A dairy-allergic diner said she had heard that wine is sometimes made with casein (a dairy by-product). I know egg products are used in making wine but I wanted to get some clarification on the process. So, this Allergic Girl got on the case. Have a read over at the Worry-Free Dinners site.

S’Mac is Gluten-Free!

S'MAC review as of September 2009

***

I received this lovely note this morning that S'Mac, the all mac-n-cheese, all the time spot here in NYC has now developed a GF version of anything on their menu.

Hi Everyone,

Gluten Free mac & cheese is now on the menu at S'MAC!!!

Details are available at http://www.smacnyc.com/glutenfree.html.

Thanks for waiting and we hope that you stop by in the coming weeks and try it out.

Best,
Sarita


My two concerns: cross contamination, always, but also the corn flakes they use instead of breadcrumbs.

I emailed Sarita, the owner, for further clarification on the GF status of the cornflakes and this was her reply:

Hi - it did take some work to find genuine GF cornflake crumbs (in bulk quantities) but here is the brand we will be using. I.M. Healthy Corn Flake Crumbs. Hope that helps, Sarita


For those of who you can tolerate dairy, your GF mac-n-cheese dreams might just have been answered.

Run don't walk to S'MAC...

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Jo-sef's Gluten-Free Cookies

Bloatilla The Tum, yup that’s me.

Let me go back in time a few days. Nosing around the gluten-free shelves upstairs at Fairway a few weeks ago, I spotted some of the Josef's line of cookies. A local GF company, right from Brooklyn. I was very excited, creme filled GF delights! I opted to try something simple to start, vanilla cookies, no crème.

I noted that they were made in a GF, nut-free facility, RAH!

I also noticed that part of their GF flour mix included soy. Hmmm.

My history with soy these last few years has been complicated. I cut it out entirely by 2005-2006 due to some tummy issues. But that was now over two years ago. I had a soy mishap recently (and I mean GF soy sauce) and my tummy was upset for about 12 hours but not majorly and mostly ignorable. So I was thinking that my stomach is so much better these days that I could try a product with soy flour.

I was clearly wrong.

This is not a reflection on Jo-sef’s fine product; it is clearly my error for trying something with soy flour as a main ingredient. The result: three days of Bloatilla The Tum. Yup. I will spare you the intimate details but lets say the past three days my body told me: no soy.

Such a shame because the cookies were delightful.

Has anyone else who is GF and NOT soy-free tried their product?

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Success!

When: Tuesday night, April 1st, 2008.

Where: upstairs at Lilli and Loo.

Who: guests of the first Worry-free Dinners™ event.

What: Fellowship and being together and not worrying about being judged or shamed but eating a safe meal with people who really get it, from the servers, to the managers to the chefs to the person sitting next to you and the vendors who supplied goodies for the bags.

Woo Hoo!

(more details and pictures at the Worry-free Dinners site).

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Worry-Free Dinners™ Launches Tonight

The invitations were sent and the applications were accepted.

The gluten-free menu was discussed, labored over, decided upon and they are now printed.

The goodie bags are bulging with allergen-free goodies, waiting to be oohed and aahed over.

So, let the Worry-Free Dinner party begin!