Food allergies are an interesting thing.

I knew a guy once who claimed to be allergic to alcohol.  Turns out he broke out in drunkenness.  I guess I’m allergic to alcohol as well.

I first became suspicious of allergy claims when I would see chits coming into the kitchen claiming garlic  allergies.  Not onions, not leeks, not even garlic bread, just raw garlic.   Hmmmm…

Then there was the shrimp incident.  A lady (and I use the term loosely) claiming a “deathly” allergy to shrimp insisting on seeing an ingredient list of half of my menu was later spotted eating the shrimp off of her husband’s plate.  I guess I should take it as a compliment – as in “I’m allergic to shrimp…unless they’re REALLY delicious”.

Ditto for people sipping wine while speaking of their sulfite allergies.  Ditto for all of you allergic to nitrates (except when in the form of a B.L.T.).

If you don’t like it, don’t eat it.  If you don’t like it, don’t order it.  If you don’t like it, DON’T tell me you’re allergic to it.

Recent studies put the incidence of food allergies at about 3-5% of the population.  Reported “food allergies” however, are at closer to 30%.   I’d have to say – follow me here – that 90% of the 30% are ruining it for the 3-5%.  Food allergies are an incredibly serious thing, and they strike fear into the hearts of cooks everywhere.  The pressure of knowing that carelessness or error can lead to death is a lot to handle for $9.50 an hour.

The reason that this is all so fresh in my mind is that my three year old has joined the party.  Little Johnny likes his vitamins.  Mrs. Cheffer and I have already discussed that the next vitamins we buy are going to have to taste terrible so that we can discourage the constant requests (so that’s why I was never allowed Flintstone vitamins as a kid).

Anyway, back to topic.  I told Johnny that he doesn’t need a vitamin – that he should eat fruits and veggies because they have lots of vitamins.  Like broccoli – he should eat lots and lots of broccoli.  Johnny saw right through me.  He told me no way, he doesn’t like broccoli (Johnny has a L and an N reversal – so that sentence was pronounced “I don’t nike broccoli”).  Here’s where my mind blows.  Johnny, after a brief pause, amended his earlier claim.  He said “I’m annergic to broccoli”.  Really?  You’re annergic to broccoli?  The kid turned three three weeks ago, and he’s claiming allergy to avoid the consumption of broccoli.  I don’t know which is more impressive – the use of the word allergic, the understanding of the concept of allergies, or using the word and concept to avoid having to eat broccoli.  The kid is using the same tricks as the Housewives of Orange County for Pete’s sake.

The bottom line is, the next time someone claims to be allergic to steak cooked below medium, I’m going to be able to say “come on, stop acting like a three year old!”

The opinions expressed above are not necessarily those of The Good Earth Food and Wine Co. (Officially, but unofficially, yeah they are!)