Monday, January 28, 2008

Celebrate That Can of Soup!

One of the women on our UFAN forum this week discovered a can of Progresso soup that contains no nuts, milk, egg, gluten, or seafood (Chicken and Wild Rice flavor). In short, her son can eat it! She posted her discovery on the email list to share her joy at finding a safe “convenience food” that her son can have. All over the state, parents were quietly cheering for her. We all related to her discovery.

Non-allergic people can’t possibly understand how exciting that find was. But the rest of us on that forum know the feeling. It seems ridiculous – a simple thing like canned soup makes you weak in the knees? Come on, get a life.

Well, guess what? This IS our life. And finding a new food that your kid can consume can be as exciting as winning a new car on a game show. Trust me. Discovering Sunbutter (sunflower butter) kept me thrilled for weeks because it brought my son’s list of things he can eat for school lunch up to 3. Finding a good “safe” recipe for chocolate cake has kept my circle of friends giddy through several years’ worth of birthday parties.

Even my non-allergic friends get into this cuisine treasure hunt now. One day a friend called me from a craft store, of all places. “Let me read you this ingredients label,” she said, with nervous excitement in her voice. She read it. Not only did the ingredients sound safe, but then she read a final notice that actually explained how it was made in a factory that did NOT process nuts, eggs, milk, or other allergens.

“That sounds wonderful,” I said. “What is it?”

“Circus peanuts!” she exclaimed. Remember those orange marshmallowy peanut-shaped candies from our childhood? Who knew there was a safe brand of those floating around? Her kids aren’t allergic to anything. But she’s known us long enough that it’s become second nature to her to check ingredients labels, so when she stumbled across them, she couldn’t wait to call and let us know.

Sure, maybe we’re a little kooky because the discovery of a milk-free and nut-free brand of chocolate chips (F.M.V. at Smith’s) is cause for celebration. Perhaps we’re a tad bonkers because we spend an afternoon calling everyone we know to tell them we’ve found a safe boxed cake mix (Cherrybrook Kitchen).

Then again, life is all about the little moments that make us happy. And these discoveries are precisely that.

So next time you’re in the grocery store and you discover something new that your kid can eat, don’t be shy. Let out a whoop. Do a little dance. We’ll cheer you on.

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