The politics of eating

August 18, 2006 at 1:08 pm (social issues)

Well, we’re two days into the school year, and I’ve been keeping my lips zipped about my offer to send in sample language used by other teachers in addressing the “birthday celebrations at school” situation, and how that impacts kids with food allergies.  Suffice it to say I was politely told that any information would be helpful, and then an email was sent before I could send any.

I decided to count my blessings and just be glad something was sent. 

Now, Steve has called and told me that a mother has let the teacher know that the treats she is bringing in come from a “nut-free” bakery.

“Really?” I asked.  “Where is this place?  If it’s local, I’d like to go there!”

We’ve been trying for years to find a bakery that makes safe treats.  Only Heitzman’s, which was a client of mine (we parted on good terms when I became too busy this summer) went out of their way to make something nut-free for us.

Everyone else has told us myriad versions of “I can’t promise you this is safe,” and we’ve done our own assessment on-site, and been fortunate.

After hours spent in the grocery, I know no packaged cookies are safe.  Maybe one brand, one variety, but I can’t guarantee the label hasn’t changed since I last checked.

It’s not that I want to be distrusting of this classroom mother.  I would like to trust her, to take her at her word, to take whatever bakery this was at its word.

However, this falls outside what my experience has taught me these past four years.

I’m unable to take the word of a stranger thrice removed that the birthday cookies are safe.

It’s hard enough to trust family, who prove time and time again that they don’t get it.

He’s counting on us to not mess this up.

What would you do?

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