Saturday, February 26, 2011

The F word

No, my young children are luckily still not at the stage where they are bringing home curse words from school. Kindergarten is pretty tame, even in public school. We have another four-letter F word in our house. Hopefully blogger won't sensor me, but the word is FISH. Yes, last summer our attempts to get Toby to try supper (namely Salmon) had disastrous results. Our picky eater (aka Toby) needs, how shall I say it, a little "encouragement" to try new foods. I will not force him to eat (I know that's a no-no), but unless he tries a bite of supper I will not serve him anything else. If hunger outweighs his need to not try what on his plate he'll usually take the teeniest of bites, promptly making a face and claiming "I don't like it" before his tastebuds have had a chance to engage. I do at times feel like a bully using such underhanded tactics, but if we left it up to him he'd eat nothing but Kraft Dinner, Buns and Cheese. So last summer after making some lovely salmon fillets the same deal applied, one bite of salmon in exchange for the fruit of his choice. He wrestled with the decision. He cried that he didn't like it, that 1 gram serving portion of pink fish. And then he relented. Shortly after the theatrics, after the teeny morsel perched atop the fork entered his mouth I looked to my husband and said "his face is all blotchy, do you think he's allergic?". The nurse in me must have known better, but the mom-in-denial-who-has-another-son-who-loves-fish-so-much-that-he-has-tantrums-in-the-store-about-fish in me chose to believe my husband when he said "no, it's just because he's been crying". Fast forward a few weeks, salmon again at the request of Luke. It was basically a replay of that earlier night (and many other nights for that matter) except that this time the blotchiness was so obvious even a mother-in-denial couldn't deny it, and accompanied by complaints of his mouth hurting. CRAP! So one doctor visit later we ended up with an epipen and a referral to see an allergist. We avoided cooking fish, but my hubby and Luke LOVE to go fishing, so fishing still took place when we were camping.
It was fine as long as we didn't catch anything, until Toby touched the catch to see what his skin felt like, and got all blotchy again. Fast forward to fall, allergy testing. They testing every type of fish they had and his arm got big and red in every spot they tested. Oh well, he doesn't like fish anyways right? Well we heard the spiel, no cooking fish (the proteins get in the air), no going to restaurants where they are cooking fish or where there might be contamination, meaning no Red Lobster or Joey's (not great but I can live with that), and no Asian restaurants (WHAT?!?!). CRAP! I took home the pamphlet and read about "no caesar salads" (fine the kid won't eat salads) no barbeque or steak sauces that contain worchestershire (like the kid eats sauces, HA!). No gelatin, no marshmallows, blah, blah, blah. I packed "emergency snacks" for preschool just in case whoever's turn it was to bring snack decided on salmon canapes and life was fine. Until one day I made jello with some fruit juice. The boys had that, followed by some new yogurt they had begged for where you crush the container instead of using a spoon, followed by Toby becoming blotchy and his mouth feeling "funny". CRAP! The little voice in the back of my head said "wasn't there something you forgot about? Didn't you read something about gelatin being off limits?" I remembered reading something maybe about marshmallows and gelatin, because I remember being floored at the thought of our little marshmallow lover having to be cut off from the steady supply when he visits his grandparents and them I remembered filing the pamphlet away and forgetting that part. I blocked it out completely. Bedtime snack contained gelatin in both the jello (duh) and the yogurt. As do gummi candies, starburst, some skittles, and other assorted candies, AND MARSHMALLOWS. We amended the allergy information at preschool and Sunday school, called my parents and in-laws, threatening them to hide all marshmallows, and searched for an alternative to his favorite treats.
I was puzzled when Toby brought home a small paper bag from Sunday school filled with a paper loaf of bread and nothing else. Until I read the accompanying colouring page which talked about how Jesus feed the 5000 with a boy's lunch of bread and fish. Then I almost peed myself laughing because Toby had refused to colour or bring home the paper fish, because he's allergic.
Fast forward to last month. Birthday season in our house. My time of year to pretend like I really am Supermom and can whip up whatever cake is requested. Last year I learned about the pleasures of fondant, my #6 reason for being happy, and my fondant recipe contains marshmallows. CRAP!
Luke's Transformer's Cake
We'd bought some vegan marshmallows, and I must say they were delicious, but in order to make them into fondant for two cakes, we'd have to re-mortgage the house. I looked at the boxes of store-bought fondant in Michael's , reading that they had no gelatin, but knowing that they also had no taste. I searched recipes, but depending on the country that posted the recipe, the word fondant can mean a number of things. I ended up calling Kraft's toll free number and to my pleasure, their marshmallows are made only with pork gelatin, not fish. YAY!

Toby's choice: Mr. Tickle cake for the joint family party.
Now don't get me wrong, I'm SO thankful that TOBY is allergic to fish instead of nuts, wheat, milk, eggs, and a number of other things that would make like pretty miserable, but I sure do miss pickerel.

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