Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Preparing for absence

I know that many parents cooking for allergic families have recipe substitutions mastered. They pull out their favorite cookbook, flip to a favorite recipe, and automatically substitute with the safe ingredients in their house. It's second nature now.

Or, if you are like me, you have seven hundred and eighty two bookmarks on your computer, of which seven hundred and eighty are for recipes that you either use or want to use. In addition to the thirty seven cookbooks you have, each with three recipes that you love.

Think for just a minute about the possibility that you might not come home on time one day. Your plane is stranded and you'll be out of town an extra day or two. You are in a car accident and rushed to the hospital, where you will stay for a few days. Whatever the emergency, imagine that you can not come home. And can not call the person who has stepped up to care for your allergic family.

Can that person find the recipes you use? Do they know how to prepare things safely?

If you have not already started scribbling in cookbooks, do it now. Any time you get out a cookbook, make sure to scratch out ingredients you do not use, pencil in the actual ingredient and amounts you do use. Write differences in preparation or cooking. Make notes in the margin about who loves or hates the recipe. Highlight the index so it's easy to find recipes you use.

The recipes you have on your computer? Print them out, or write them down, and put them in a three ring binder. In a sheet protector. Make notes on those too!

In the front of your three ring binder, put a sample menu of food that your family would typically eat over the course of a few days.

Simple steps that you can take now to make unexpected emergencies easier on your family, and the person who steps up to care for them.

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