Touching wood I’m pleased to say I have no allergies. I touch wood because I understand they can develop later in life. When my brothers and I were young and mentioned that so-and-so had an allergy our mother would tell us we couldn’t afford to have allergies. I must admit that in retrospect it did seem it was the kids from better-off families who had the allergies.
Growing up the classic peanut butter sandwich was a staple in school lunchrooms. Every second kid seemed to have some peanut butter based sarnie in his or her lunch box; perhaps with jelly, or mayonnaise, straight up, or the Elvis favourite peanut butter and banana.
Of course now, like nuclear waste, peanut butter, in fact peanuts in any form, are verboten within several miles of school buildings. What ever did this tasty little legume do to be ousted from its place of prominence?
They say that the US economy is controlled by the top 1%, the super rich. According to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases 0.6% of the population of the United States is allergic to peanuts. Just over a half of one percent, yet EpiPens are as plentiful in schools as are fire extinguishers. For the other 99.4 percent of the population to adapt to the peanut allergy is damn big of us.
Last May in a restaurant, Le Tapageur, in Sherbrooke, Québec, a small town east of Montreal, Simon-Pierre Canuel informed his waiter that he was severely allergic to seafood and salmon. He asked the waiter to make this very clear to the kitchen staff. He then ordered steak tartare, that ground beef served raw and seasoned concoction.
Well, the waiter either had a very mean streak, or made a human error because he brought Canuel salmon tartare. Maybe the waiter, who has not been named, was conducting a scientific experiment to see if Canuel was really going to react. If that was the case he sure got his money’s worth as Canuel went into anaphylactic shock, cardiac arrest and was in a coma for two days.
Evidently the restaurant was dimly lit and Canuel did not notice the salmon. I have to assume his sense of smell is also off as one would assume the two tartares have different aromas.
Canuel is now considering bringing legal charges against the waiter who has been arrested. It seems to me that if you have such a severe allergy it might be best to avoid all restaurants where the possibility of encountering the offending food is present. Humans being human mistakes are always possible. Why take the chance?