Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Making a Fuss
After a conversation last night about cross contamination/food allergies/making a fuss, I found myself both incredibly angry and puzzled as to how some people can be so uncaring about people who have really severe allergies/intolerances. The issue came up because we were talking about a burrito restaurant where it's not at all uncommon for cheese and other dairy products to fall into the tubs of ingredients like lettuce, salsa, and guacamole. For someone who is very lactose intolerant, this is a problem. I am one of those people. You know how some foods have a warning on the label, something like "made on shared equipment with dairy..." - those trace amounts are more than enough to make me very sick for days. Gut wrenchingly, disgustingly sick. We're not talking tummy ache, we're talking seriously sick.
So it always amazes me how careless people can be at restaurants when it comes to cross-contamination, especially when such a huge percentage of the world population cannot process things like lactose. The argument of "oh, it's so hard to make food fast, so cross-contamination is bound to happen" just doesn't cut it with me. I've seen people who are very good at their job, who clean off areas that have been contaminated with dairy, who are very careful about keeping their station clean. I've also had people making burritos offer to bring out a fresh tub of ingredients because of contamination. So it is indeed possible to be really good at your job and to do your best to not make people sick!
The other part of this issue is the idea that you shouldn't make a fuss, that you should just take what you're given because it would be horrible to inconvenience the person you're giving money to in exchange for food. God forbid you should send food back! I've sent back more meals than I can count because of carelessness - I've had noodle dishes that had ricotta dropped in it for example (and no, just picking it off is not an option). When you have insane allergies, food becomes complicated. I have to look through the entire dish when I get my food to make sure it doesn't have anything in it that it shouldn't have. And often, it does, and it goes back. Am I worried that the staff will talk about me, will think I'm being difficult? No. I could care less in general what people think about me, but especially when it comes to me protecting my health. The key, as always, is to be as nice as possible about it. It never pays to be unkind, and it's just, well, rude!
I think the point I'm trying to make (in my own rambling sort of way) is never ever be afraid to make a fuss, especially if you're trying to protect your health. Don't be afraid that you're "being a bother" at restaurants. You don't have to be demure and take what you're given if you're given something unacceptable. Make a fuss! But try to be nice about it :)
Do any of you guys have experiences with food allergies or other issues that require an occasional fuss?
Posted by VeganCraftastic at 7:48 AM