In my last article, we spoke about how scary Purim can be when trying to accommodate the diet of a food-allergic child. In particular, those with airborne allergies have the most to be afraid of – even if everything at the table is ‘safe’, something ‘unsafe’ can be carried in by a guest.
Pesach, on the other hand, is the most difficult Yom Tov from an ingredient perspective (unless, of course, you’re allergic to wheat or have celiac, in which case Pesach is most likely your favourite week of the year!). Ingredients that tend to be used year-round are most often chometz (forbidden to all) or kitniyos (forbidden to everyone but Sefardim) and the options for baking become almost impossible.
If your child is allergic to eggs, you might assume that baking is fairly difficult, leaving you with lace cookies and not much else. But potato starch (instead of flour or matzo meal) that uses flaxseed meal* as an egg replacer opens up your possibilities tremendously.
In addition, baking options are far less limited if you eat gebrokts and can use matzo meal as the base for your recipe; if eliminating nuts for an allergy, wheat for chometz and soy/rice/etc for kitniyos, matzo meal can do the trick.
The KFA has a wonderful 24 page resource (just Google ‘KFA Passover’) for all parents of food allergies or anyone who might be hosting them. There are things that simply didn’t occur to me as being an issue before I read it, and so I highly recommend it as an important read for anyone who interacts closely with a food-allergic person.
*You can find a variety of egg replacers by doing a simple Google search for them. The most common replacer is flaxseed. To replace one egg with a flaxseed ‘egg’, combine 1 TBSP of ground flaxseed (also known as flaxseed meal) with 3 TBSP of water or another liquid. Allow to set for 10 minutes (until it thickens slightly) before adding to the rest of the ingredients in your recipe.