Category Archives: Cooking

Dedicated or Shared? Cross contamination is a VERY real thing.

18700551_856490394526634_3787279801794236211_o

If you must know, my children LOVE Oreo cookies.

I mean, I have read the studies that refer to them as #addictive as cocaine (by the way, unsubstantiated).  And I have even blocked a “former” Facebook friend when I posted the first picture of my youngest, Josephine, enjoying with great delight her first Oreo at about a year old.  This said “friend” went on to share my post of my daughter, attached with said articles mentioned above, and then wrote how HORRIBLE I was to feed my daughter these delights.

Needless to say, I wrote this lady a letter that shared my opinion of her exploitation of my daughter and immediately blocked her.

Some people!

But, regardless of this lady’s opinion on my parenting, I love Oreos, my husband loves them, and my children love them.

Best of all, they are “supposedly” allergy-friendly for our Max.

That’s a miracle.  To find a cookie that does not include any sort of nut or milk product?  It’s like finding an oasis in the desert.

When we go to birthday parties?  I always make sure Max has his Oreos to eat while the other kids gorge on cake.  Because of the creamy goodness, Max has never yet complained!  And, thankfully, that has allowed me to not make my kid his own cake for every birthday party he attends.

I mean, I am not a baker, folks!

But there is a big thing about processing, and Oreo just recently had to answer to the calls of it.  It is called “Dedicated” or “Shared” processing lines.

Basically, it means that there are processing lines dedicated to be free of any allergen product to touch it.  Or there are shared lines that mean that allergens touch the processing line.

This may sound like a lot, but, believe me, I have the child that IS the one to respond to cross-contamination from “Shared” lines.

Just the other day, I returned from Torun.  Torun is my favorite city in Poland, and it is where the Polish people claim to be the “home” of gingerbread.  Many parts of Europe claim this.

But it is DEFINITELY the home of Nicolaus Copernicus, the Polish astronomer that discovered that the earth revolves around the sun (heliocentric theory).

In any case, it’s a wonderland of science, beauty, history, and GINGERBREAD!

Most gingerbread, my son has been able to eat.

Therefore, when I checked and double checked the ingredients of the cookie I was going to bring him from Torun, I bought it confident of the fact that it contained no allergens.

Max was so excited.

He had his cookie!  It was a bear!  He couldn’t wait!

And then he took his first bite.

“My tongue is burning, Momma!”

An then welting began on his forehead.

Needless to say,  my heart sank.

It was IMPOSSIBLE to give my son ANYTHING!  My heart broke, tears filled my eyes, and I began our allergy routine to care for my son.

I told Max how sorry I was that he had owies, and I was so sorry that I couldn’t buy him a special souvenir.

As is with most allergy kids, my son, used to his fate and greatly disliking pain that comes with eating something “owie”, said in utter graciousness, “That’s okay, Momma.  Next time just bring me some gum or Oreos.”

Most likely, the gingerbread I brought Max was baked on a cookie tray that apparently must have been shared with something that makes Max hurt.

Dedicated or Shared?

This wasn’t the first time Max has reacted to something that was made with allergy-free ingredients.  But it was the most recent time.  And it just reiterates for me the fact that ingredients are NOT enough.

Dedicated or Shared?

Either word carries with it joy or pain.

My son is proof of that.

***

Here is a recent article sharing the “safety” of the plain varieties of Oreo Cookies for those of us living in the allergen-world:

Regarding the Manufacture of Oreos with Respect to Peanuts and Tree Nuts

No bake dairy and nut free S’mores!

Unfortunately for me, these s’mores aren’t so easy to make—it has taken the collaboration of 3 countries:  Holland, The United States, and Poland.  But since I’ve gathered all the products together under one Polish roof, my allergy kid has had a blast making and especially eating his no-bake smores.  If you don’t have the exact products where you are, have fun trying to find substitutions !  

We used:  marshmallow fluff, graham crackers, and non-dairy chocolate sprinkles.


Let me tell you, after compiling such a fun snack, there is only one thing left to say, “Smacznego!”

Max looking through my wedding pictures stumbles upon our cake…

“Mommy!  Look what Daddy is feeding you?”

“Yes, Maxie…Cake.”

“Owie cake, Mommy?”

You see, in the allergy-world of life-threatening allergies, every food item becomes a life-or-death situation to our Max.  Because that is how life is.  Life or Death depending on what he puts in his mouth.

And you should have seen his reaction when I answered him, “No, Maxie…That was not owie cake.  Maxie could eat that cake.”

His hands went up in the air and he yelled, “Wahoo!  Cake for Me!”

I know Max will never take a bite of my wedding cake—we’re 15 years past that.  But what I saw was joy in my son’s eyes that for once, one delicious moment, my son could eat something special that the rest of us were eating, too.

It brought me the normal Max-conundrum of joy and sorrow.

But mostly joy.

Like his smile!