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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Label Your Super Bowl Food

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When serving food buffet style, guests always appreciate it when the food is labeled. No one likes biting into something and discovering it is not what they thought it was. My father once swapped escargot for mushrooms to see if I would notice the difference. I noticed and 25 years later it still activates my gag reflexes when I think about it—yuck. Shelley, I don’t know how you escaped that one.

I have put together these fun Super Bowl Food Labels. Click here to download the file. To make them, laminate the paper and cut out the labels. Use wet erase markers to write the name of the dish on the label. Then, hot glue the label to a craft stick. After the party, peal the hot-glued craft sticks off the labels and throw them away. Save the labels for next year.

You could also make a disposable version. Print and cut out the labels (unlaminated). Use a glue stick to attach them to craft sticks.

A note (diatribe) about food allergies:
This is always a controversial subject and here is my opinion (not that you care, but it is my blog so I can say what I want). My family is impossible to feed. My oldest child is on a gluten-free-casein-free diet (he has something similar to celiac disease). My second and third children were born allergic to all protein (both Shelley’s boys have the same allergy). Over the years they have outgrown most of it, but still cannot eat most cow/dairy products. Just as I had adjusted to life as the house with the “funny milk” (soy), child number three was also born allergic to soy, an allergy he shares with his father. To further complicate things, child number four is allergic to strawberries and red food coloring.

When I say allergic, I mean so allergic that even an invisible amount will make my children very sick. Sometimes it feels like God said, “If you can’t make healthy food choices on your own, I will make them for you.” I have developed a new relationship with food. I never really spent much time noticing food ingredients. If it tasted good, it was good enough for me. I spent the first 3 years after my son’s diagnosis reading the ingredient list on the back of packaged food and translating things like Calcium Stearoyl Lactylate and Magnesium Caseinate. I came up with a list of acceptable products, only to discover that occasionally the ingredients change or they are made in a factory with other products and can be cross-contaminated. I eventually gave up. Now we only eat fresh fruits and vegetables, poultry, eggs, nuts. . . Much to my horror I am discovering that that the genetic engineering of our food supply is placing some of these items in the danger zone for our family (but that is a topic for another day).

I do not ever expect others to be able to feed my family. I do not expect others to make special accommodations for my family. I travel with my own supply of food wherever I go—if there is ever a national emergency we will not starve. I even give my children’s teachers an annual supply of allergy free treats, snacks, and small trinkets (I don’t get why our society always chooses to reward children with food, then wonders why we all grow up with food issues).

I do, however, expect full disclosure and basic courtesy. I need to know what I am feeding my family. Not telling me about that “secret ingredient” is very dangerous. Being hurt or offended that we brought our own food is selfish-- yes, a sip, a bite, a nibble, a taste, or a morsel IS harmful. Thinking that we are over exaggerating the seriousness of this issue is judgmental and, frankly, none of your business. Treating tiny children like they have literally ruined the party because they can’t have ice-cream is mean—“Normally, we have an ice cream social as our end-of-the-year party, but this year we can’t. Why do some people have to ruin it for everyone?” Please, please, please, all I am asking for is some compassion. . . . and if you feel like going the extra mile, labeling your food at a party REALLY helps.

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