Food for thought…

I made some hot-cross buns today for the first time ever…  Hubby has assured me that they taste lovely.  As I am currently not able to taste anything due to a nasty cold virus, I couldn’t rely on my own tastebuds ( and I’ve never enjoyed hot cross buns before as I don’t like sultanas or raisins).  Sacriledge, I know (others have told me so!).   I added craisins instead.  They certainly turned out beautifully – they rose well, and they are light and fluffy on the inside….

Anyways, the thoughts around tastes, likes & dislikes – also got me thinking.   It’s sometimes hard to work around people’s tastes when it comes to cooking.  My hubby is pretty good with trying new things, but there are certain things he just will not eat!  Mushrooms are one…  And of course, I got to thinking about my childhood and commiserating with my poor mum – I was a terribly picky eater!  Potatoes and pumpkin (if mashed into the potato) were pretty much the only vegies I would eat, and beetroot and cheese was all my salad would consist of.  Needless to say, my parents found many innovative ways to incorporate vegies into our diets…  Luckily, as a child, there were no allergies or intolerances that mum had to work around.

These days, of course, intolerances and allergies seem to be much more prevalent.  I know a number of people who are Coeliacs and I myself have to work with a mild wheat intolerance (luckily, it comes and goes and the symptoms are mild).  I also know of people who have allergies that you rarely hear about.  I know of one lady with an allergy to lettuce.  She often comes across disbelief and ridicule.  Hardly her fault – but it continues to happen, even these days when we hear so much about it on the news etc.  I guess it still comes down to education and understanding, and unless someone you know is affected by it, you just don’t realise how much it can affect those who suffer from them…

For myself, I am lucky as my symptoms are mild and I have learnt how much I can tolerate.  I know that I can tolerate more bread when its toasted.  I am usually ok with pasta, but have learnt to moderate how much wheat I eat during the week.  I can have a couple of pieces of toast during the week, along with pasta and wraps without any side effects.  However, if I eat too much wheat on consecutive days, then I know about it!  For me, it’s just about keeping an eye on what I eat day after day.  When I first learnt about it, I was completely wheat free for about 3 months, then gradually reintroduced some things.  I live in a capital city though, and I have access to specialty shops for alternative flours etc.  In a small country town, it’s going to be a lot harder and possibly a lot more expensive.  I know a lot of these products are available online, but don’t forget, there are still a lot of people who do not have the internet or the skills to use it.  Don’t laugh – computer literacy levels in Australia are not what you think they are! (But I won’t go there just yet, its a topic I get quite passionate about!)

I guess, at the end of the day, when cooking for others (be it a backyard barbie or a dinner party) we need to be aware if our guests are affected by allergies and intolerances and be able to offer up a menu that suits all our guests….  Food is there to be enjoyed, even for those with allergies etc…


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