Saturday, January 5, 2008

Dear Restaurateurs,

A humble request from a loyal patron and typically patient and understanding consumer.

When your wait staff offers a selection of items by title and includes the word nut(s) in some titles but not others, if gives the consuming individual the impression that those titles containing the word nut(s) indicate that the items referenced contain nuts and that the items referenced by titles that do not contain the word nut(s) do in fact NOT contain nuts.

Were this in fact the case, there would be no problem and no need for this letter. However, when one selects an item from a menu, for example a muffin called Buttermilk Spice, assuming that the lack of the work nut(s) as present in another choice, Carrot Nut, indicates that there are no nuts present in the Buttermilk Spice muffin but there are nuts present in the Carrot Nut muffin only to discover via instant pain, swelling and difficulty breathing that there are in fact numerous nuts present in the Buttermilk Spice muffin, well then you have a bit of an issue.

Honestly, I appreciate that we, the nut-phobic due to allergies populace, are a rather irritating and high maintenance group. I appreciate the difficulty of catering to us. When I join a group of friends for lunch or dinner, sharing an entree proves an impossible task due to the rampant food allergies that haunt my every waking bite.

However, as I assume that you do not want to regularly terminate your patrons, you might consider a more formulaic process when titling your menu options. If one item from a group bares a title indicating the presence of nuts, may I suggest that ALL items from that group which include nuts bare a title indicating so? Or else just leave the word nuts out of the titles altogether. Those of us afflicted with this allergy tend to question the ingredient list prior to consuming anything that we are unsure about. Just a suggestion.

Truly, I realize that it is ultimately the responsibility of the food allergic consumer to make sure they consume products that are safe. I do, however, ask you to consider that your consumers might just be trying to order whilst wrangling 3 hungry, cranky kids, one of whom is dancing in the aisle with one shoe on and one shoe off, another who is trying to crawl under the table in an effort to join the performing sibling and yet another who is moaning in agony over the fact that the evil, nut allergic parent in question will not allow them to order soda and has therefore made up their mind that they will not order anything despite the fact that they are starving and stated so at a decibel loud enough to break glass mere seconds ago. The consumer in question, in an effort to locate the now missing shoe of the afore mentioned child and ensure that the other two are at the very least dressed for weather that is no more than 30 degrees warmer than the actual temperature, likely did not eat anything on their way out the door and is, as a result, also starving. A consumer in this condition will likely order the first item mentioned by a wait staff whose name they are vaguely familiar with and that does not sound as if it will kill them mere seconds after the first bite.

I really am sorry to be so difficult. You will be happy to know that thus far none of the three children mentioned above has demonstrated any of their high maintenance parent's food allergies. Score one point for that!


Jesse said...

We might as well bend over backwards for all you 'misfits' of society - you know, left-handed folks, people that actually like raggae, and red-heads. It's funny... despite being so painfully allergic to nuts, she managed to marry one!! HE HE HE!!

Mary said... a leftie, I say you are in the right Cheri (although I do love "Fifi's" muffins.) They need to learn about the power of the asterisk!

If it makes you feel better, yesterday while doing a MASSIVE grocery shopping trip, I realized the only reason Sam was being quiet was because he had helped himself to a bag of chocolate chips, ripped it open, and was quietly eating them (he was also starving after refusing to eat dinner.) Sorry about the nuts! Break out the benedryl!

Buzz2of11 said...

I do not have any food allergies-thank God. If I could not eat nuts, bread and ice cream I do not know what I would do! I have a niece and a nephew both of whom have nut allergies. Their mom has to be very careful with them. You are right about the menu not being careful enough. They need to specify that kind of info. Can you imagine how fast they would get sued if someone had a really serious problem eating such a muffin. I guess the bottom line is that the person with the allergies has to ask every time about ingredients and hope and pray the server knows the right answer!