[Sca-cooks] Minor rant - allergies and following directions

Saint Phlip phlip at 99main.com
Tue May 8 07:40:02 PDT 2012

Seems to me that you need to get people's attention, starting with the
event steward.

One thing that has worked well in another venue has been an excess of
gory details. For example, if you have fighters who refuse to properly
hydrate, a group of Chirurgeons chitchatting nearby, discussing
methods of cooling over heated people down, have seldom had problems
getting people to drink after the mention of the ice cube enemas ;-)

Now, if a friendly Chirurgeon who happens to cook, might possible be
having a chit chat with others of that ilk, involving horror stories
about projectile vomiting and EMTs in the middle of the feast hall,
possibly THAT might get someone's attention.

The thing is, people are not deliberately obtuse, but for many of
them, the word allergy conjures up an image of someone sneezing and
sniffling because of an excess of pollen- and face it- who is going to
get motivated by a runny nose? So, my suggestion is to make the
situation a bit more real to them, beyond the sniffles.

On Tue, May 8, 2012 at 1:25 AM, Tre <trekatz at yahoo.com> wrote:
> I copied this from my blog, because the final question is relevant here, and something I'm interested in some input on. When do I finally say "it's not my problem"?
> -------------------------------------------------------------
> I'm the head cook for the upcoming Insulae Draconis Coronet
> Tournament this weekend. For those of you who may not know, at most SCA
> events in the UK (and generally mainland Europe as well, from what I can tell), food for the weekend is included in your site fee.
> I am very concerned with making sure everyone gets enough to eat, and
> that the balance of nutrition available for each person is appropriate
> (i.e. making sure there is a reasonable protein option for vegetarians,
> not just a bunch of side dishes.) In order to accommodate this, I need
> to know ahead of time what allergies and other dietary restrictions I'm
> dealing with.
> In the past, I've cooked for events where someone came up to me on the day and said, for example, "I'm allergic
> to onions; what's safe to eat?" Ack! Onions go in almost EVERYTHING! I
> then scramble to make an extra dish or two without onions (or try to
> find something that the onions haven't gone into yet to pull a portion
> out that is then safe for the allergy). This was someone who apparently
> had told the reservation steward for the event, and the information got
> lost along the way so I never received it.
> Likewise,
> I've gotten vague information from the reservation steward such as "Lady Gretel says she's allergic to Fructose". Fructose? What exactly does
> that entail? I know it's in fruit...so anything with any fruit, fruit
> juice, dried fruit...is it used as an additive...Ack! When I then go
> back to the reservation steward who then goes back to Lady Gretel and
> asks about it, I get an answer such as "I'm not really sure what all I'm allergic to, and it's not that bad anyway, so don't worry about it."
> Really? REALLY? So even if I "don't worry about it" and don't do
> anything different, I still worry a bit that something she eats will
> make her sick.
> So in order to avoid some of this
> confusion and frustration, I've come up with a new method for getting
> the information I need all consolidated into one spot. I made a form
> through Google Docs, have it posted on the website (or e-mailed out on
> the group list or individually to people who have made reservations)
> with a plea to PLEASE fill out the form - because the cool thing about
> the Google Docs Form is that it consolidates all the answers for me onto ONE spreadsheet. I don't have to worry that I've forgotten to put
> someone's information in, or that the reservation steward missed
> someone. ALL the information for the specific event is on one sheet.
> Since I write the questions for the form, I can even make sure that they are
> worded in a (hopefully) fool-proof manner to get the information I
> actually need. For example, one of the questions I have on the form is
> "Do you have any plant-based allergies?" With the explanation that "I
> sometimes cook with items which are not always thought of when listing
> food allergies, such as nettles and hedgerow berries." This means that I find out ahead of time if I have people allergic to nettles before
> mixing them into the cooked greens or making a nettle soup. (Honestly -
> if it's not listed in the name of the dish, how many people are going to look at an ingredient list for Nettles if they don't have any food
> allergies?) I can also ask, on the form, for the person's name and
> e-mail in case I have further questions regarding their dietary needs.
> I don't know if people realize that this form is as much for my peace of
> mind as it is for their health and safety. Now, the reason for this rant is that - even after having a link to the form on the event website,
> and sending several e-mails to the group e-mail list and posting it on
> the Principality's facebook group, when I got the list of event
> reservations from the reservation steward, there are STILL people listed on there, with allergies listed that they sent on their reservation NOT on a form, who have not filled out the form so I have the information
> Granted, this is only the second
> event I've done the form for, but I don't think I could have been any
> more clear. I have people even in my local group who have said "you know my allergies, right?" and even though I've asked them to please fill
> out the form anyway, so it's on the combined information list, here we
> are four days before the event, and they still haven't done it.
> I do have to say, though, that there is one lovely lady who has several
> allergies that I have gotten used to working with. She asked if she
> needed to fill out the form even though I have her information, and was
> quite understanding when I explained that yes, I did need it separately
> for each event, but that a "short list" instead of full explanations
> would be fine now. So basically now she can just write "no alcohol"
> instead of having to list "no alcohol, including wine vinegars, but
> cider vinegar is fine". We've worked out the specifics of her allergies, I just need the note so I remember that yes, she'll be there and if I'm making things ahead of time I know which vinegars went into which
> dishes, or I remember to cook the stew with broth instead of beer as a
> base.
> So, with it being four days before the event, and people still not filling out the form as requested...when do I just say "It's not my problem", even though they gave the information someplace
> else?
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Saint Phlip

So, you think your data is safe?

Heat it up
Hit it hard
Repent as necessary.


It's the smith who makes the tools, not the tools which make the smith.

.I never wanted to see anybody die, but there are a few obituary
notices I have read with pleasure. -Clarence Darrow

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