Back in 2014, there was an article on Huffington Post titled “Why Do Your Kid’s Allergies Mean My Kid Can’t Have a Birthday?” It was a pathetic display of journalism and I gave the author the beat down she deserved. Oddly enough, the Huff Post even published my rebuttal.
Well here we are in 2017 and the more things change, the more they stay the same. Yesterday we had an article in the Washington Post titled “How other people’s food allergies are changing what you eat”. Again, the main gist of the article was that food allergies are inconveniencing those who are lucky enough not to have food allergies. She writes it from a behind-the-scene look at a restaurant called Next Door that takes food allergies quite seriously (you know…because they ARE!) Here’s the article.
And here’s the Gluten Dude breakdown.
Starting with the title, it’s clear that she has no food allergies since it’s the OTHER PEOPLE who are causing the problems. Lack of empathy is not pretty.
She says: Instead of topping a salad with nuts, Next Door chefs sprinkle on sunflower seeds. Before frying calamari or pickles and pepperoncini, they dredge them in cornstarch or polenta, respectively, instead of the traditional wheat flour. For their veggie bowl, they use quinoa, because it’s a whole grain that doesn’t have gluten.
The chefs also use three separate fryers for dishes that are vegan, vegetarian or that contain gluten and/or seafood (for their twice-weekly beer-battered fish tacos). Nothing gets cooked in the wrong oil. For customers getting the gluten-free hamburger bun, chefs use a different toasting surface. On “the line,” little buckets of salad toppings are arranged to avoid cross-contamination — bacon and dairy toward the bottom row so as not to drop into the innocent ingredients.
Peanuts aren’t allowed on the premises. Period.
Dude says: Well THAT was condescending. Why. Does. It. Bother. You??
She says: Rather than jury-rigging dishes to respond to special needs, chefs have engineered many menus from the start to eschew everything from soy to gluten. And most customers don’t have a clue.
Dude says: We have a clue. Believe me we have a clue. We know which restaurants these are and we LOVE THEM for taking care of us; you know…the ones with “special needs”.
She says: The afflictions of the minority are starting to determine the options for the majority. And I can’t help but wonder: In response to the dramatic rise in ingredient intolerance — both real and perceived — among American consumers, are all of us bound to be eating less of the foods that, for generations, were the staples of civilization? What does this mean for the future of dining?
Dude says: For generations, our food has become a shit storm of processed garbage and our country is paying for it with its health. Hopefully, the people who see this and understand this will be the majority some day. Did you know that:
- More than 170 foods have been reported to cause allergic reactions; and
- The prevalence of food allergy in children increased by 50 percent between 1997 and 2011./li>
Do you think this has anything to do with the Western diet that you say has been a staple for generations?
She says: In case you haven’t noticed, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish and fish — five of the top eight food allergens — are nowhere to be found at Chipotle. The same is true of gluten at the Little Beet, a New York-based chain with locations in the District. And nearly 26 percent of U.S. restaurant menus now have a “gluten-free” call-out. That’s a 182 percent increase over four years.
Dude says: First of all, nobody puts Little Beet in the corner. One of the best completely gluten-free restaurants around. They actually care about OTHER people. More than I can say for you. And regarding the increase in gluten-free menus, I will ask you one more time. How. Does. This. Affect. You. In. Any. Way?
She says: About two years ago, the [Next Door restaurant] decided gluten-free was here to stay, citing customer demand — though I can’t imagine it was unrelated to one of its own executives’ decision to avoid gluten.
Dude says: What a snot. Perhaps the executive is “avoiding gluten” because he or she has celiac disease.
She says: Soy is also not allowed on the premises. No soy milk, no soy sauce. Soy sauce often contains wheat, so it’s a no-go for gluten dodgers too.
Dude says: “Gluten dodgers”?? Double snot.
She says: To me, gluten-free eating represents the latest phase in America’s long history of selling absence.
Dude says: That’s funny…to me it represents the only way my body won’t attack itself, damage my intestines and increase my risk of cancer. But hey…that’s just me.
There’s more ignorance in the article but I’m done here. My suggestion to the author is simple. Just stay home. If chefs listening to the NEEDS of their customers offends you, maybe you should just order take-out for the rest of your life. This way you can eat in the comfort of your own bubble.
Have some thoughts? Let the author know.