Saturday, June 12, 2010


By the time I was 2, my parents knew that I had multiple food allergies and intolerances.  At that point none of them were considered life threatening, but avoidance was the rule of the game.  My parents got very good at making substitutions and finding "safe" foods, so I could eat pretty "normal" just different.  Since the allergies weren't life threatening, occassional small exposures were allowed, often on special occasions (or without permission...).  When I was about 12 my immune system had a major freak out and went crazy (we know why it did this, but that's a different story).  Things that used to just make me stuffy or give me a stomach ache or hives were suddenly causing respiratory reactions requiring the use of inhalers to keep me breathing.  My blue inhaler became my constant companion and the doctors started to use the words "anaphalaxis risk".  By the end of highschool I was carrying my inhaler and benadryl with me everywhere and there were no more small exposures allowed.  The risk was too great.  After my first year or so of college, anaphalaxis entered my life and I began carrying two epi-pens with me everywhere, in addition to my inhaler and lots of benadryl.
From the age of 12 on, one food after another was taken off my "safe food" list and put on to the "this will likely kill you if you eat it or at least make you miserably sick" list.    The hardest things to do without: wheat, gluten, corn, and dairy.   The other things (eggs, nuts, some fruits, other random stuffs) are easier to deal with, but those four are tough.  Eliminate those four and you eliminate a lot of food.  
One thing that it eliminates is S'mores (graham crackers, chocolate, roasted marshmallows).  I camp a lot.  I love camp fires.  S'mores go hand in hand with camping and campfires. I used to love marshmallows, but they are full of corn and that's just not worth it for an ooey-gooey treat.  Graham crackers are full of wheat. At about the age of 12 I kissed all hopes of ever eating a s'more again good-bye. At campfires I would just roast marshmallows for my friends and watch them enjoy them.
Until this year.  One day I was shopping at the local grocery in Pella and I found a box of gluten free, wheat free, egg free, etc, etc, (Joy friendly) graham crackers.  I bought them to sample and loved them.  I hadn't had a real graham cracker in a real long time so I don't know how close to real they taste, but I thought they were pretty good.  I e-mailed mommy and asked her if there was any chance that there existed a Joy-friendly marshmallow.  Mommy said she hadn't seen one, but she'd ask around and keep looking.  When they came to get me after school I brought a couple boxes of graham crackers home with me, just in case.  Besides, if we couldn't obtain marshmallows, I could at least make graham cracker crumbs for a cheesecake crust...
When we got home there was a surprise waiting for me.  Mommy had found a bag of Joy-friendly marshmallows!  There were s'mores in my future! (we've had a Joy-friendly chocolate substitute for a long time)  Now the timing just had to be right...
...That brings us to last night.  Birthday party with campfire for a friend.  I packed up my Joy-friendly s'more materials and brought them with me.  Here's the story in pictures:

Take Joy-Friendly graham crackers from Kinnikinnick Foods (which I have learned are also available in Canada), Joy-Friendly marshmallows from La Nouba Inc., and dairy free chocolate melting wafers.

Add some good company and a beautiful fire...

and you get a very happy Joy.  Photo credit for this last picture goes to Olga.  She took it because my hands were busy.
So that is the story of my first s'more in more than 10 years.  There was a second...  It kind of reminded me of the time that Campus Ministries got Joy-Friendly communion wafer and I took communion for the first time in many, many years, but on a completely different way less spiritual level.

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