Wednesday, October 22, 2008

foodstuff and food stuff

Tonight's dinner, which the girls either outright loved (Bean) or at least ate without too much complaining or actual tears (Peanut), was tasty for the grown-ups as well, and very, very quick and easy to make.

Chicken Thighs with Honey-Ginger Glaze

4 chicken thighs, boneless & skinless
1/4 c. honey
1 T lemon juice
1 T soy sauce
1 t Worcestershire sauce
1 T bottled ground fresh ginger (not the dry spice)

Cook the chicken in a bit of canola oil about 5 minutes/side.

Mix the other ingredients with a whisk. I adore my little whisk. Here it is:
Ah, the perfect whisk.

Anyhow whisk all that stuff together. Add it to the skillet when the chicken's browned. Simmer 10 minutes.

In that 10 minutes, microwave some baby carrots and cook some egg noodles.

Voila, dinner.

In other food news, we have determined that the Peanut has a shellfish allergy. With a toddler or preschooler, it can be hard to tell if occasional throwing up is due to a virus or something they ate. When Peanut was 2 and 3, I had the vague sense that a couple of her stomach bugs followed our having had shrimp for dinner, but the association wasn't crystal clear. Then we had scallops one evening this summer, and although the doctors at both hospitals (!) later said it was probably a bad virus, I had a sneaking suspicion that what had the Peanut purging her digestive system to such a frightening extent all that night was the shellfish. Mr. S. and I agreed it wasn't worth testing the case - no more shellfish for her.

Two weeks later (!!) he forgot, and gave her a tiny piece of a clam cake, which arguably didn't even contain any actual clams. And: she threw up in the middle of the night. So really now, NO SHELLFISH for that Peanut. I'm typing it out loud, because I'm so used to writing "none known" on official forms that ask if the girls have any allergies, that it's easy to forget this one. It's odd - she doesn't break out in hives or have trouble breathing - but she distinctly rejects anything of that kind, and it appears that her reaction is becoming more pronounced with even less of the offending food. She only had a bite of that clam cake. Scary.

I really feel for parents whose kids have peanut allergies. Holy crap! Peanut butter is everywhere. Let alone dairy, eggs, wheat, even! If I got a letter home from school saying a child in one of the girls' classes had a peanut allergy, I'd be up a creek for what to make them for lunch, but I'd damn sure think of something. Who wants to be responsible for a kid having a true medical scare... that is, if they're lucky it'd be just a scare and nothing worse? I just can't imagine being unwilling to help try to avoid that. Disappointed, yeah, but to refuse to cooperate? To be the jackass parent who says it isn't my problem, you can't tell me what not to give my kid for lunch, blah blah blah? That takes selfish to new heights, no?


  1. I wouldn't send the PB sandwiches if asked to not do so, but I was quite relieved to learn that Boy's new school in S.C. doesn't ban PB. His school in Michigan banned PB and his prior school (5 years!) banned PB as well as perfumes, scented lotions, hairspray, and more. A staff member had an allergy to scented products, so nothing could be scented. I still used fabric softener on Boy's clothes and it didn't seem to bother her, thank goodness.

    Boy is on a dairy-free diet and it is tough sometimes. Since it isn't a true allergy, I don't have to worry about him dropping dead because he got a bite of cheese at school, but it does affect him. He has gastro-intestinal effects from milk products; more importantly, however, is how it seems to affect his autism. His autistic symptoms seem to get worse, he is more obstinate, and his "fantasy life" seems to become more real to him. There are those who believe that dairy products affect some autistic children like hallucinogens and there does seem to be some of that with Boy. So it's just better if we eliminate dairy from his diet as much as possible. We tried going gluten-free as well, but gluten doesn't seem to affect Boy like casein (the protein in milk products). I'm glad because living without gluten is MUCH more difficult than living without dairy. Fortunately for me, Boy LOVES soy milk and So Delicious soy ice cream (as do Girl and Spousehole; I'm the only soy-avoider).

    Your recipe sounds FABULOUS and I just may give it a try very soon!

  2. Whoa. Hallucinogenic milk definitely sounds like something to avoid.

    There's so much we don't understand about these chemical interactions.

  3. I have a similar sort of shellfish allergy: crustaceans make me huck. I talked to a nurse about it once, when she was taking my medical history. She said that allergies can present that way at first. Continued exposure will make the symptoms worse (as you're already seeing). She also said that with continued exposure, the allergy could progress to the anaphylactic shock (i.e. swell up and stop breathing) sort of allergy. Not good news, I know, but better that you're aware of the possibility?

    It's also worth considering that the Peanut may have additional allergies. When I had allergy testing for nasal allergies, the one thing that I reacted to the most strongly was insect proteins. I've since read that there's a pretty strong correlation between being allergic to crustaceans and insects.

    I've just done some googling, and have learned some things that seem worth sharing. The compound that seems to cause allergic reactions for most people with crustacean allergies seems to be called tropomyosin. From what I'm reading, it's present in shrimp, crab, and lobster AND in cockroaches and dust mites. I just did a Google search with the terms:

    tropomyosin allergy insect

    and found some things you might want to read. For what it's worth, what I'm seeing suggests that the allergen in crustacean allergies and in bee sting allergies does NOT seem to be the same thing. I'm no allergy specialist, though, so please take my google search results with a grain of salt. (If you find out differently, can you let us know?)

    Best of luck!

  4. anonymous: Wow. Thanks. Who are you? :)

    It's funny, when I blogged a while back about the 17-year cicadas, one of the things I had found out about them was that if you are allergic to shrimp, you should not eat a cicada. We were in no danger of finding that out the hard way, but it did make me think about exactly what you've commented on here.

    I am really in trouble if she's allergic to dust mites. Dusting is not my strong suit.

    Fortunately she has no breathing/nasal difficulties at all, though we will be watching her carefully.

  5. Though I'm sure that dust mites do live in general household dust, they mostly tend to be a problem in bed clothes. Things like pillows, blankets and comforters.

    I (anonymous) went to school with both you and Mr. S. Saw you last Saturday night, too! (I try to keep a low profile out on the interweb....)

  6. is shellfish is a problem, then watch out for iodine too. not sure why, but when i donate blood, they ask if i can eat shellfish before they put iodine my arm to sterilize. at least, i think its iodine - im just looking for the shrimp cocktail at that point.

  7. btw, exactly who should eat cicadas?

  8. Iodine... good to know.

    If I thought they served shrimp cocktail at blood drives, I might overcome my wooziness at being drained.

    As to who should eat cicadas, I can't fathom. I was amused to see someone thought it necessary to advise against it.

  9. Hi - I'm a mom of a boy with peanut allergies who surfed in via google alerts. First of all -thank you very much for your supportive words! It's very nice to hear.

    Second, with the seafood allergy, I just wanted to make sure you realize that even without hives/breathing difficulties it still CAN be dangerous - if you haven't asked an allergist about whether to get an epipen, I would strongly encourage doing so.

    Here's a thread on one of my favorite food allergy message board on the subject.

    Best wishes!

  10. Hello Tracy, and thank you.

    These comments have made me realize this is worth further investigation, as well as the simple immediate step of eliminating shellfish from her diet (and not forgetting that we've eliminated shellfish from her diet).