Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Allergy Alert Cards

I have been working on making an Allergy Alert Card to help simplify, as well make safer and less stressful, each dining out experience. I envisioned something that could be useful for any dining occasion, whether you're out at a restaurant, at a friends or family members house, or even something that could be useful for school cafeterias. I have found similar products online, but none with the presentation I was looking for; simple, informative, and to the point.

This was brought on by my own dining experiences, and the confusion lack of awareness and lack of creativity my Dairy and Soy Allergies always seem to bring out in those who prepare my food. If it wasn't the "just a little butter is ok... right?", then it was "dairy allergy... so you can't have eggs?", or the dreaded "plain piece of chicken"; either way it often resulted in a dining disaster.

Last week I was able to try out my Allergy Alert Cards, and with great success I might add. The first time was at an Italian restaurant; this one was nothing special because the meal I ordered was basically soy and dairy free by selection, but the card definitely cleared up any doubts in the kitchen.

The second time however was at a wedding (cocktail hour and reception), which would normally prove to be very challenging due to the pre-selected menu, and this is where my allergy alert cards really shined. During the cocktail hour the only safe food on display was the vegetable crudites, which I of course enjoyed, but as most allergy sufferers can relate my food allergies left me feeling a bit short changed. I thought there was a glimmer of hope at the carving station, but it turns out the turkey was basted with vegetable oil (the soy allergy sufferers nemesis). So my wife handed the server my card, explained my allergy situation, and asked him if he could see what they could do for me in the kitchen. With no other help needed, I was presented with a plate of roasted veggies in a very tasty balsamic vinaigrette sauce. I thought this was very creative on the part of the kitchen to come up with something on the fly using just the information on the card as a guide.

I feel my allergy alert cards were/are a great success and I hope they will prove to be for others as well.

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