Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Fun with Food Math

1 chocolate-covered pretzel + 0 Lactaid pills = NO PROBLEMS!!!!!

Your Allergic Diner

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Allergic Mecca and New Year Food Test #1

That's right, I'm talking about none other than the Trader Joe's supermarket chain. A friend introduced me to this place a few years back in Chicago. It's small, it's kitschy, and definitely a hang-out of the suburbanite who wants to shop at the "in" store. I was determined to dislike it, just on principle. I walked in, and immediately started reading labels. Labels after labels in aisle after aisle, and in most cases, I could eat 75% of the food in an aisle. Ah, the options. I've found delicious rice snacks that are sweet and spicy and salty and are fat free (and oh so much better for you than Doritos). A multitude of lactose-free and soy options, and sodium-free dried fruit for my homemade trail mix. I'm not allergic to sodium, I simply hate store-bought trail mix. To me it always tastes like what I imagine a salt lick would. Allergic Diner rule: the only salt in trail mix belongs on the pretzels.

A TJ's opened near me this year, and the predictable crowd flocked to the store in the first few months. I waited out the rush, and went in and bought 8 bags of the rice snacks, a host of salt-free dried fruit (mmm), lactose-free swiss cheese, and something else that caught my eye: frozen, gluten-free, DAIRY-FREE, pancakes.

As an allergic child, pancakes were something I loved, but that hated me. I thought IHOP was the greatest place on the planet (much to my foodie parent's dismay), but was always sick to my stomach for hours afterwards. When I was diagnosed with lactose intolerance (not just diagnosed, I made the doc's Lactose Wall of Fame, mind you) one of the things they tell you never to eat is pancakes. Why? Buttermilk. That wonderful flavor-giving dairy was the source of all of my upset stomachs. I stopped going to IHOP, changed over to Eggos (could always stomach these), and never looked back. On the rare occasion I wanted pancakes, I would make them homemade (and though the edges crisped nicely in the dairy-free margarine, they were never as good). I had high hopes for the TJ pancakes.

This morning I figured it would be a nice start to an absolutely raw day. I opened the box, and saw that the portions were individually vacuum-sealed (portion control, a plus!). I made them and topped them with preserves. They were...well...pancake-ish? They weren't bad, by any means. It was more like eating flavorless warm mush. Not unappetizing, but not something I will voluntarily eat again. Here's the kick - this wasn't an unsuccessful food test. This is just something I tried and didn't love!

Hey, it's a new year, which means trying a multitude of new things, right?
My New Year's resolution is twofold: I will return to regular blogging, and I will continue food testing. Read all about my restaurant visits, products, trials and tribulations here, and Happy New Year!

Yours in 2010,
Allergic Diner