In my experience and story-finding, children with food allergies, sensitivities or intolerances develop a sense very early on of what they can or cannot have. My first cousin with celiac, for one, realized a while before any of the adults around her did that she really didn’t feel well if she ate certain things and eliminated them from her diet all by herself. Another distant cousin who outgrew a milk-intolerance still refuses to drink regular milk. And though we were cleared of Idy’s allergy, we had to fight with Idy just to eat things with baked eggs in them because, while she didn’t vomit, she still developed minor eczema.
This past Succot marked the first time in nearly two years that Idy ate egg salad at a Shabbat meal. Though she was diagnosed ‘outgrown’ of her egg allergy before her second birthday, she absolutely refused to eat a plain egg – scrambled, hard boiled or in egg salad. No matter how I begged or bribed, she just would not open her mouth. But at the Shabbat lunch meal, with the entire table eating them, she decided to try them and also decided she liked them! And just recently, Idy has scrambled eggs for breakfast for the first time in over two years.
If you’ve been following the blog since the beginning, you know our diagnoses story already. The short of it is that when we began feeding Idy mushy soft foods as a baby, I didn’t know any of these things. Though our pediatrician had told us to start with single ingredient foods to eliminate food allergies, once we finished all the varieties of baby jars that there were, I must have thought we were safe to start feeding her anything we wanted (eliminating, of course, foods that were a choking hazard or required real chewing). I genuinely did not imagine that she had an egg allergy – despite vomiting every single Friday night following matzo balls and every Shabbat afternoon following potato kugel.
Food allergies were precisely that far removed from my mind.
But the typical Shabbat meal is filled with possible allergens. In just the first course, you have at least three of the top eight allergens: eggs and wheat (in challah) and fish. Forget whether or not a child has allergies that are slightly more uncommon, to things like onions and garlic or even chicken! So, for a long time, to avoid the risk of cross-contamination, my husband and I just completely eliminated things from our meal. We stopped making matzo balls. We stopped making egg salad and I started making an egg-free potato kugel.
These are two different challah recipes that I’ve used since Idy’s original diagnoses and I hope they prove helpful to you, too. If you have any recipes that are your go-to for Shabbat or Yom Tov meals, share them below!