There is no A for effort in food allergies

FAILIt does not matter how much love you put into it.

It does not matter how long you spent preparing it.

It does not matter how pretty it looks, or how much money you spent on it.

It does not matter whether it’s delicious.

It doesn’t matter how hard you feel you tried to make the food safe, or how much you wanted the food to be safe.

If a food is not safe for a person with a food allergy to eat, it’s just not. And you should not expect a person with a food allergy to eat it.

So you tracked down that peanut-free cupcake mix– the expensive one, that says “nut-free facility” in  bold print, right on the box. You scrubbed out your pans, and you made sure that you used clean bowls and spoons. You made the frosting from scratch– just butter and sugar and vanilla, you swear! And you checked the ingredients on that vanilla, too? Great job.


Then you forgot, and put those sprinkles on top. The ones that say, on the back of the package, MAY CONTAIN PEANUTS.


Now you’re not sure it’s safe.

You went to all this trouble. You really, really wanted to make a safe cake. The sprinkles were an accident. And now you’re so disappointed, to think that all of your earnest effort might go to waste. I get that. Really, I do.

But . . .

If you focus on your feelings now, instead of the health and safety of the person you meant to make a cake for, and try to hide your mistake, or pressure that person into eating food you’re not sure is safe,  you will be risking making a small mistake into a very, very, very big mistake.

A call-the-ambulance mistake.

That’s not really what you want to do, is it?

I certainly hope not.

So, take a deep breath. Own up. Tell the truth.

When it comes to cooking for a person with a food allergy, there is no A for effort. Food, no matter how lovingly prepared, if not safe, IS NOT SAFE, and should not be eaten. The most delicious food in the world is not worth risking a life over. And you need to learn not to take that personally.