Author Topic: Merchants of shame: Never eating here again.  (Read 50878 times)

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VorFemme

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Re: Merchants of shame: Never eating here again.
« Reply #150 on: February 16, 2013, 02:03:53 PM »
The thing is, from the OP it sounds like the allergen is generally only a problem in large doses.  So it's generally easy to just avoid the obvious sources and expect a trace amount in one dish to not cause a reaction.  Instead, she unknowingly walked into an episode of Iron Chef America where the secret ingredient was artificial sweeteners. :(


Exactly.....everything had artificial sweeteners in it - except the glasses of water.  Which is why we were drinking water.....

How do I phrase this.  Another poster mentioned being allergic to mustard and going to a chicken dinner that her spouse bit into first and found that the glaze was honey & mustard....

You might expect the menu to mention Honey Mustard Glazed Chicken, but they might have called it "Grandma's Chicken" without thinking that not everyone knew Grandma owned a mustard tree of her very own.  Or possibly was Grandma French and owned stock in a popular mustard & condiment company.....but I digress.

Picking up a slab of apple pie and finding that it had mustard in it would be a bit of a shock to anyone's system....allergic to mustard or not. 

Cheese bread (where the cheese is a topping) isn't something where I would expect to find artificial sweetener.  Bread needs some sugar to feed the yeast (at least if it is yeast bread).  Artificial sweetener isn't going to help it rise and may make it too sweet in taste.....I have no idea if it would confuse the yeast while they starved to death or not.  Using baking powder or baking soda to get the bread to rise would change the taste.......

Miso sauce (dipping sauce for an appetizer), I understand, is supposed to be slightly sweet.  But wouldn't a little sugar or honey work better than artificial sweetener?  Or is it just the current "diet" craze where all real ingredients not needed to make the science behind the food work will have artificial substitutes added instead as long as it tastes and looks pretty much the same?

I'm just glad that I don't react to artificial sweeteners.

And don't have the same immune disorder (I have a different one - it's taking out my thyroid gland instead of my nerve sheathing). 

« Last Edit: February 16, 2013, 05:18:50 PM by VorFemme »
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DottyG

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Re: Merchants of shame: Never eating here again.
« Reply #151 on: February 16, 2013, 03:38:22 PM »
I wonder why it wouldn't be possible to have a seperate "menu" (or binder or something) with the ingredient lists in it? And if you're allergic you can ask to see the "big menu" and check what you want to order?

If a chain can afford to print kiddie menus, which last for one kid then are thrown out, I'm sure a binder wouldn't be too expensive.

I would imagine because a restaurant is not keen on providing the world and all their competitors with the recipes to the food that keeps them in business.

There's a restaurant that I go to that has a dressing that is out of this world. Ive wanted the recipe forever. I've asked many times. But, understandably, they're not all that anxious to give away the secret to something that keeps people flocking to their door to get this stuff. Once (in my pre-EHell days). I even tried "hey, I'm allergic to this dressing. What's in it?"  The waiter told me that, if I told him what I was allergic to, he'd tell me if the dressing was ok to eat. And that's how it should be. When you go out to eat, there is a certain responsibility on you to take care of your own health needs by proactively asking if the ingredient is present.

I'm unclear on why taking charge of your own health is difficult. If you have an allergy, ask if it's in your food. That's up to you to do. All you have to do is ask them. Could you get the wrong answer? I guess. But that's the risk you take when you eat out. What happens if that big book of ingredients IS present, you order from it, and someone in the kitchen accidentally put the one ingredient you can't eat in the left pot of stew instead of the right one one the stove? And you end up with the ingredient even having consulted The Book? Eating out has risks. If you don't want the risk, unfortunately, cooking it yourself is the only completely safe option.


magician5

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Re: Merchants of shame: Never eating here again.
« Reply #152 on: February 16, 2013, 04:26:23 PM »
A restaurant may also compose some dishes using bought composite ingredients (mayonnaise, for instance) that bring completely unaccounted-for allergens into the final dish. And you can't entirely depend on the server's or chef's accuracy in reporting ("No, there are no eggs in this dressing, it's just mayonnaise and [etc etc]")
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DottyG

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Re: Merchants of shame: Never eating here again.
« Reply #153 on: February 16, 2013, 04:32:05 PM »
Thought of this thread a minute ago. I'm at a restaurant right now and just placed my order.

Lettuce and I have a complicated relationship. It doesn't always like me. So I only eat it at home (dressing mentioned in my previous post, I use on other things - it's that good). I just placed my order for something that you wouldn't think would have lettuce - it's not that kind of dish. But, knowing my issue, I still specified several times that I can't have lettuce on the plate - even as a garnish.* I automatically do that when I eat out.

* Which brings up another point. Garnishes aren't, usually, thought of when talking about the food. I'm not sure they would be listed in The Book. (I do see your point about that book, by the way. I just don't think, in the long run, it's practical or something a restaurant would want to do because of competition.)


DottyG

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Re: Merchants of shame: Never eating here again.
« Reply #154 on: February 16, 2013, 04:45:00 PM »
Food came. Success. No lettuce. But definitely yummy food!


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Re: Merchants of shame: Never eating here again.
« Reply #155 on: February 16, 2013, 07:50:37 PM »
A restaurant may also compose some dishes using bought composite ingredients (mayonnaise, for instance) that bring completely unaccounted-for allergens into the final dish. And you can't entirely depend on the server's or chef's accuracy in reporting ("No, there are no eggs in this dressing, it's just mayonnaise and [etc etc]")

That's why you can't completely trust the waiter's opinion or even the chef's. A very tiny amount of an unusual allergen may not be noticed by anyone until you take a bite (I've accidentally half-poisoned myself a few times with items I thought were perfectly safe :( ).
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kherbert05

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Re: Merchants of shame: Never eating here again.
« Reply #156 on: February 16, 2013, 10:06:14 PM »
:o What is so hard about not putting common allergens as food garnish?  Why can't restaurants understand "No nuts" and refrain from putting nuts on food that doesn't need it or normally contain it?  Yes, pecan pie with no nuts is impossible, but a gourmet salad with no nuts is completely within the realm of achievability.




In chain restaurants because the salads are sometimes shipped by corporate with the nuts already mixed in. 
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Re: Merchants of shame: Never eating here again.
« Reply #157 on: February 17, 2013, 12:28:56 AM »
The thing is, from the OP it sounds like the allergen is generally only a problem in large doses.  So it's generally easy to just avoid the obvious sources and expect a trace amount in one dish to not cause a reaction.  Instead, she unknowingly walked into an episode of Iron Chef America where the secret ingredient was artificial sweeteners. :(


Exactly.....everything had artificial sweeteners in it - except the glasses of water.  Which is why we were drinking water.....

How do I phrase this.  Another poster mentioned being allergic to mustard and going to a chicken dinner that her spouse bit into first and found that the glaze was honey & mustard....

You might expect the menu to mention Honey Mustard Glazed Chicken, but they might have called it "Grandma's Chicken" without thinking that not everyone knew Grandma owned a mustard tree of her very own.  Or possibly was Grandma French and owned stock in a popular mustard & condiment company.....but I digress.

Picking up a slab of apple pie and finding that it had mustard in it would be a bit of a shock to anyone's system....allergic to mustard or not. 

Cheese bread (where the cheese is a topping) isn't something where I would expect to find artificial sweetener.  Bread needs some sugar to feed the yeast (at least if it is yeast bread).  Artificial sweetener isn't going to help it rise and may make it too sweet in taste.....I have no idea if it would confuse the yeast while they starved to death or not.  Using baking powder or baking soda to get the bread to rise would change the taste.......

Miso sauce (dipping sauce for an appetizer), I understand, is supposed to be slightly sweet.  But wouldn't a little sugar or honey work better than artificial sweetener?  Or is it just the current "diet" craze where all real ingredients not needed to make the science behind the food work will have artificial substitutes added instead as long as it tastes and looks pretty much the same?

I'm just glad that I don't react to artificial sweeteners.

And don't have the same immune disorder (I have a different one - it's taking out my thyroid gland instead of my nerve sheathing).

I think you're still completely misunderstanding us.  We're not saying it isn't unfortunate that your sister had a bad reaction.  We're also not saying that we would expect artificial sweetener to be in cheese.

What we re saying is that your sister took a chance in eating out.  She could have asked about the sweetener but didn't because she didn't think  it would be in that dish; that's not unusual.  The waiter could have said "no" and could have been wrong.  What it comes down to, though, is that your sister didn't ask, the waiter had no way of knowing your sister should have, and thus your sister fell ill.  This is in absolutely no way the restaurant's fault and thus they shouldn't in any way be held responsible.  If your sister wants to continue to eat out, she needs to ask about absolutely every dish whether she thinks it will contain the sweetener or not.  She needs to be responsible for her own health.
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VorFemme

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Re: Merchants of shame: Never eating here again.
« Reply #158 on: February 17, 2013, 11:24:27 AM »
The thing is, from the OP it sounds like the allergen is generally only a problem in large doses.  So it's generally easy to just avoid the obvious sources and expect a trace amount in one dish to not cause a reaction.  Instead, she unknowingly walked into an episode of Iron Chef America where the secret ingredient was artificial sweeteners. :(


Exactly.....everything had artificial sweeteners in it - except the glasses of water.  Which is why we were drinking water.....

How do I phrase this.  Another poster mentioned being allergic to mustard and going to a chicken dinner that her spouse bit into first and found that the glaze was honey & mustard....

You might expect the menu to mention Honey Mustard Glazed Chicken, but they might have called it "Grandma's Chicken" without thinking that not everyone knew Grandma owned a mustard tree of her very own.  Or possibly was Grandma French and owned stock in a popular mustard & condiment company.....but I digress.

Picking up a slab of apple pie and finding that it had mustard in it would be a bit of a shock to anyone's system....allergic to mustard or not. 

Cheese bread (where the cheese is a topping) isn't something where I would expect to find artificial sweetener.  Bread needs some sugar to feed the yeast (at least if it is yeast bread).  Artificial sweetener isn't going to help it rise and may make it too sweet in taste.....I have no idea if it would confuse the yeast while they starved to death or not.  Using baking powder or baking soda to get the bread to rise would change the taste.......

Miso sauce (dipping sauce for an appetizer), I understand, is supposed to be slightly sweet.  But wouldn't a little sugar or honey work better than artificial sweetener?  Or is it just the current "diet" craze where all real ingredients not needed to make the science behind the food work will have artificial substitutes added instead as long as it tastes and looks pretty much the same?

I'm just glad that I don't react to artificial sweeteners.

And don't have the same immune disorder (I have a different one - it's taking out my thyroid gland instead of my nerve sheathing).

I think you're still completely misunderstanding us.  We're not saying it isn't unfortunate that your sister had a bad reaction.  We're also not saying that we would expect artificial sweetener to be in cheese.

What we re saying is that your sister took a chance in eating out.  She could have asked about the sweetener but didn't because she didn't think  it would be in that dish; that's not unusual.  The waiter could have said "no" and could have been wrong.  What it comes down to, though, is that your sister didn't ask, the waiter had no way of knowing your sister should have, and thus your sister fell ill.  This is in absolutely no way the restaurant's fault and thus they shouldn't in any way be held responsible.  If your sister wants to continue to eat out, she needs to ask about absolutely every dish whether she thinks it will contain the sweetener or not.  She needs to be responsible for her own health.

Again - this is the FIRST time that she had reacted to an allergen in food at this restaurant.  She had eaten there safely before.  She did not expect artificial sweeteners to be in something not billed as "diet".  She now knows not to eat at Friday's because they have apparently added artificial sweetener to a number of dishes where you would not expect it.

I did ask about a couple of other items (that VorGuy & I ate), they had the artificial sweeteners in them as well.  Our daughter and my mother will not be joining us at Friday's because they have a reaction to the same thing (not as severe - but the more exposure the worse those things tend to get). 

And Lil Sis is going to be asking when she enters a restaurant about their use of her three trigger foods...it is being added to her "routine" - but she'd never run into artificial sweeteners in every dish on the menu before, so it wasn't something that she knew to ask before last month's trip to the ER.
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Re: Merchants of shame: Never eating here again.
« Reply #159 on: February 17, 2013, 12:59:03 PM »
I wonder why it wouldn't be possible to have a seperate "menu" (or binder or something) with the ingredient lists in it? And if you're allergic you can ask to see the "big menu" and check what you want to order?

If a chain can afford to print kiddie menus, which last for one kid then are thrown out, I'm sure a binder wouldn't be too expensive.

I would imagine because a restaurant is not keen on providing the world and all their competitors with the recipes to the food that keeps them in business.

There's a restaurant that I go to that has a dressing that is out of this world. Ive wanted the recipe forever. I've asked many times. But, understandably, they're not all that anxious to give away the secret to something that keeps people flocking to their door to get this stuff. Once (in my pre-EHell days). I even tried "hey, I'm allergic to this dressing. What's in it?"  The waiter told me that, if I told him what I was allergic to, he'd tell me if the dressing was ok to eat. And that's how it should be. When you go out to eat, there is a certain responsibility on you to take care of your own health needs by proactively asking if the ingredient is present.

I'm unclear on why taking charge of your own health is difficult. If you have an allergy, ask if it's in your food. That's up to you to do. All you have to do is ask them. Could you get the wrong answer? I guess. But that's the risk you take when you eat out. What happens if that big book of ingredients IS present, you order from it, and someone in the kitchen accidentally put the one ingredient you can't eat in the left pot of stew instead of the right one one the stove? And you end up with the ingredient even having consulted The Book? Eating out has risks. If you don't want the risk, unfortunately, cooking it yourself is the only completely safe option.

I don't know very many people who can look at an ingredient list (like the ones on the back of candy bars or something) and figure out the whole receipe. But if this is such a risk...

Then make The Book available to the wait staff only. But I run out of fingers trying to count the times, just in my volunteer waiting days, that someone has asked "I'm allergic to [blank], is it in the [deleted]?" and there was no way to figure it out! Once we caused a reaction (thankfully a tiny reaction that the woman was able to control with a benadryl tablet and finish her meal after a replacement was provided) because even the cook couldn't remember if the stock they started the soup with contained sage or not. The Book could've saved a lot of hassle.

And if keeping a special ingredient secret is more important than allergy information being available, then a resturaunt SHOULD be closed.
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Re: Merchants of shame: Never eating here again.
« Reply #160 on: February 17, 2013, 01:03:51 PM »
Thought of this thread a minute ago. I'm at a restaurant right now and just placed my order.

Lettuce and I have a complicated relationship. It doesn't always like me. So I only eat it at home (dressing mentioned in my previous post, I use on other things - it's that good). I just placed my order for something that you wouldn't think would have lettuce - it's not that kind of dish. But, knowing my issue, I still specified several times that I can't have lettuce on the plate - even as a garnish.* I automatically do that when I eat out.

* Which brings up another point. Garnishes aren't, usually, thought of when talking about the food. I'm not sure they would be listed in The Book. (I do see your point about that book, by the way. I just don't think, in the long run, it's practical or something a restaurant would want to do because of competition.)

heehee... Garlic is kinda like that for me. I react to it by having terrible headaches but I love it so much that I time my garlic-food eating by taking excedrin migraine, then going to lay down somewhere dark while I get punished for my gluttony.

But its gooood.

And garnishes are evil, a resturaunt I used to love suddenly decided slices of red onion make a LOVELY garnish. Onion does worse things than garlic and with none of the yummyness. And no matter how I begged for them to leave off the onion "flowers" they always appeared, contaminating the food. And then the server would roll their eyes and say "Oh its not like you're ALLERGIC!"

The cook at the cafe I volunteered at rarely used them.
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Outdoor Girl

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Re: Merchants of shame: Never eating here again.
« Reply #161 on: February 17, 2013, 01:12:01 PM »
Re:  garlic

A friend of mine couldn't eat garlic because it bothered her hiatal hernia.  She and her friend went for dinner and she specified to the waitress.  The waitress went and checked in the kitchen and helped them order items that wouldn't have garlic.

She ended up having a reaction.  Turns out, all the salad bowls were rubbed with garlic and no one thought about that, since there wasn't any garlic in anything she ordered.
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Re: Merchants of shame: Never eating here again.
« Reply #162 on: February 17, 2013, 07:25:31 PM »
Why aren't restaurant staffs taught about food allergies?  Because it seems like many of them think that "allergic to X" means "allergic to X cooked into the food," not "also allergic to X used as a garnish, rubbed onto the serving dishes, trace remains on the chopping knife, brushed off when the diner complains..."

Yes, I know that people use "I'm allergic to X" when what they mean is "I don't like X" because allergies are seen as more acceptable than food dislikes.  But dear gods and little fishes, if a person truly DOES have a full-blown epi-pen-at-the-ready allergy to X, then even trace amounts can KILL them!

One time I pulled into a fast food drivethrough, asked if the chicken sandwich had mustard, and was assured that it did not.  Got down the road, bit into the sandwich -- honey mustard.  I turned around, parked and went in, and the staff said "But it doesn't have mustard!  It has honey-mustard!"  I got the food comped and a replacement only when I pointed out that it was lucky for them that mustard only makes me barf, because if it had caused anaphylactic shock, they would now be paying for my ER visit and/or funeral.
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Re: Merchants of shame: Never eating here again.
« Reply #163 on: February 17, 2013, 10:40:35 PM »
Again - this is the FIRST time that she had reacted to an allergen in food at this restaurant.  She had eaten there safely before.  She did not expect artificial sweeteners to be in something not billed as "diet".  She now knows not to eat at Friday's because they have apparently added artificial sweetener to a number of dishes where you would not expect it.

I did ask about a couple of other items (that VorGuy & I ate), they had the artificial sweeteners in them as well.  Our daughter and my mother will not be joining us at Friday's because they have a reaction to the same thing (not as severe - but the more exposure the worse those things tend to get). 

And Lil Sis is going to be asking when she enters a restaurant about their use of her three trigger foods...it is being added to her "routine" - but she'd never run into artificial sweeteners in every dish on the menu before, so it wasn't something that she knew to ask before last month's trip to the ER.

The two bolded sentences don't make sense.
Your sister has experience/knowledge that restaurants, such as Friday's puts sweeteners into various foods that aren't billed as diet.  She knows this, she expects this.  So how can you then say the sweeteners are not expected in dishes?  If one place (Friday's) puts them in, it stands to reason she should expect other places - especially restaurants that cater to the same market/demographic - will as well.

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Re: Merchants of shame: Never eating here again.
« Reply #164 on: February 17, 2013, 11:23:21 PM »
I don't know about you, but I wouldn't expect sweeteners in things that don't normally call for sugar - you know, savory things. Having it in EVERYTHING, even things that didn't have it previously at the same restaurant, is quite excessive and, IMHO, unnecessary.
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