Aug 16 , 2019
This week I attended FABlogCon (Food Allergy Bloggers Conference), held this year on the beautiful southern coast of my home State of Maine. The Southern Maine Community College campus was a great place to have the event, quiet, picturesque, and with a well done array of meals accommodating those with food allergies.
I felt a little guilty being able to indulge in a lobster roll at Portland Head Light yesterday afternoon with cousin Terri, as shellfish is one of the Top 8 food allergens, and could not be served at the conference. Once you have become part of a community, whether from necessity, or from understanding and commitment to a cause, you become much more aware of the needs of those in the community. Having only moderate sensitivity to dairy, I feel privileged to enjoy as many foods as I do. While the offerings at FABlogCon were delicious and healthy, being with so many people with allergies really brings home the issue. Informal conversations the past couple days covered topics including moving beyond the Top 8, allergies that seem to be on the rise, and cooking for and traveling with family members with different allergies from each other.
There is no doubt that allergy research, diagnosis and treatment is more sophisticated than in the past. As my cousin noted, "When we were in 7th grade we used to put lilacs in the desk of a teacher we knew was allergic. We just thought that meant he would sneeze or itch a little. We just didn't know." With a growing body of medical knowledge and the technology to communicate widely, "I didn't know" is no longer an excuse. And further, a pet peeve of mine, comments like, "Gluten free? That's just a fad. Bring on the gluten!" - especially from professionals providing food and service to diners in restaurants, cafeterias and those sorts of settings, to be blunt, is unconscionable. We open doors for those with broken legs.
Let's not close doors, perhaps permanently, for those with food allergies.
Speaking of food, I have to check out of this hotel and head north to help my mom cook for a family reunion, so I'll leave you with some pretty pictures, and the hope to see many of you next year at FABlogCon.
With respect and dedication,
Educational sessions covered social media and allergy advocacy. Gina and Laura inform the group on advocacy and law in schools.
Spring Point Lighthouse
A traditional Maine lobster roll served up at the famous-on-TV Cousins Lobster food truck at Portland Head Light Park. (Contains shellfish, dairy and gluten.)
Blogger Even Curiouser and Gem City Fine Foods CEO Lisa show off "Cake on the Ocean" right outside the sponsor reception on the deck.