Ok, I am going to be honest - being gluten-free is an absolute pain. Life was so much easier when we didn't have to be careful of ingredients. Our culture almost revolves around food, especially in the holiday season.
So I was so excited that the 4-H Food Challenge entry form had a spot where they asked about allergies. Finally something that my daughter could participate in without fear.
The food challenge is inspired (I think) by Iron Chef - or very loosely at least. Teams of 3-5 kids are given a recipe card with ingredients but no directions and they are supposed to figure out what to make with it. For a practice challenge the ingredients were 1 can chicken, 2 hard boiled eggs, 1/4 cup grapes, 1/2 cup mayo, 12 crackers (I am guessing on the amounts, I didn't see the cards). The kids figured out that it was chicken salad and so they made it and then were supposed to tell the nutritional benefits (the chicken has protein and that helps build muscles) and a cost per serving analysis. I am not sure quite what the response would have been if the kids guessed it was chicken soup and tried to make it soupy.
The dishes the kids make could be a salad, a dip, a salsa, a wrap or a (cold)soup. Mainly there are no electrical tools (the contest actually calls for a hot plate but the venue is afraid the kids will burn the building down) and blenders turned out to not be an incredible safe option.
So anyway, I was excited for Daisy that she would have a contest that she could completely participate in without fear.
The local 4-H extension agent called to ask how severe her allergy was - could she touch it and not get sick? Well, yes. Since she didn't have a contact allergy then it wasn't going to be a problem.
So after the call ended, I felt a little stunned. No, a lot stunned. In a contest where they asked about food allergies, it didn't matter that I put something down. I pictured her once again making something and not being able to eat it.
It isn't often that my inner Mama bear wakes up but it did today.
I called back and left a voicemail saying how upset I was that after asking about allergies, they were going to ignore the information. She misses participating fully in things because of this and once again she is going to be left out.
Their response? The kids aren't "supposed" to eat their dishes so any allergy that requires ingesting isn't a big deal.
Ok, the food at the Food and Nutrition contest isn't supposed to be eaten either but everybody snacks on that - including the extension agents. And seriously do you never sneak a taste while cooking? It is a habit with me - I taste to see if I need more seasoning or if it needs something to perk it up or whatever.
Oh, and the allergy thing was only for the district level. Of course this is a district contest but so what.
And again, they aren't supposed to eat it.
Upset, I sent an email to the person in charge of the whole state food challenge asking why the question was included if the allergy would be ignored. I also called our club manager and since she is also gluten intolerant and suspects Celiac she is not happy either.
Then tonight I a reading the info that Daisy is supposed to learn for this and getting aggravated all over again.
It had information that was out of date Doctors recommend a lot fat diet for health (not anymore) or just plain wrong the only health problems strongly linked to sugar is cavities (honestly I am not even going to provide a link for this one because I don't think you live under a rock).
If you have done any gluten free baking, here are some funny ones: corn flour can substitute cup for cup with all purpose flour. Or you can use 1/2 rye flour plus 1/2 of potato flour (not potato starch) to make a cup of flour. I don't know that I have ever had anything with rye (other than a rye bread which only has some rye) but I have worked with potato flour and there is no way I would use that much potato flour with anything else. This is for a "wheat allergy" in all fairness, not a gluten intolerance.
Sadly, this was revised in 2008.
Ironically enough, the article is supposed to teach kids how to do substitutions for better health yet very little is said about allergies. In fact the only mention of allergies was a chart showing non-wheat flour substitutions for a wheat allergy. I guess that explains the reluctance on our extension agents part to allow for a food allergy.