The temperature display on the car read 100 degrees. We had just spent a very fun morning at Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company in the middle of nowhere Missouri, but the peeps were tired and hot and ready to get home. They each had a little bit of cool water left to drink, but they wanted something even colder, and I couldn’t blame them. I told them we could stop at the McDonald’s in Seymour on the way home for a lemonade. They liked this idea and settled in for the ride, air conditioning blasting.
By the time we got to Seymour, Luke was asleep, using his blue dog Hungry as a pillow. Lydia and I decided to use the drive-thru for our lemonades. The line was long, so we waited and eventually got our turn at the speaker.
Girl Behind the Speaker (GBTS) : May I take your order?
Me: Yes, I would like three small lemonades please. Not the frozen lemonade, just the regular.
GBTS: We don’t have lemonade.
I was unprepared for this little hiccup. I did not want to give my kids soda, but I still wanted to get them something. (Later I realized McDonald’s probably had Hi-C, or something like it that would certainly be a treat for my kids. Too bad this thought didn’t come to me while taking into the speaker.) I looked at the sign for the frozen lemonade. I remember reading last year on the McDonald’s allergen-info webpage that the frozen lemonade contained milk. So, I’m not sure why I engaged in the following conversation other than a desire not to come away empty-handed.
Me: Does your frozen lemonade have milk in it?
Me: Are you looking at an actual list of allergens in the food?
GBTS: No, but someone told me it doesn’t have milk in it.
Me: I’m going to need to see that in writing. Does it come out of the same machine as the shakes?
GBTS: I don’t know.
At this point, my mind spoke this sentence: Really. You DON’T KNOW whether the frozen lemonade comes out of the same machine as the shakes?
But my mouth spoke this sentence: Thank you.
Then I drove away and let a real customer talk to the Girl Behind the Speaker.
I could blame McDonald’s for not training this girl about how to find allergen information, but it doesn’t matter. The truth is, Luke can’t get near cow’s milk, and it’s my job to make sure he doesn’t, not hers.
I told Lydia we would make chocolate chip cookies later today to make up for not getting a lemonade. This wasn’t really on my agenda for the day, but after supper we got to work. We have a recipe we love for dairy-free, egg-free chocolate chip cookies. I found it on the Silk website.
Just a couple of things to keep in mind:
1. Make sure you use dairy-free margarine. The brand that we use that works well in this recipe is bestlife buttery baking sticks
2. Make sure your chocolate chips are also dairy-free. We use Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips. Be careful; not all Ghirardelli products are dairy-free. I found out these were dairy-free simply by standing in the baking aisle at the grocery store reading ingredient lists on bags of chocolate chips.
The peeps love having a chance to do some baking, and I am thankful for an allergen-free recipe that tastes so yummy!
So, allergy moms, here’s what I’ve learned. Be assertive. Be polite. Find and read allergy info online before going to a restaurant. Find two or three people who truly understand the what your child can’t eat, and trust them to feed your child. Trust no one else. Find fun recipes your child can have. Be okay with eating at home most of the time. Take the job of feeding your child seriously, and don’t feel sorry for yourself. Most of all, be thankful you have such a sweet little person to love.