‘Most Important Meal of the Day’

by ablue

I was never much of a breakfast person, but you throw in the corn syrup and citrus allergies and going out for breakfast becomes a moot point. Often it ends up that the only thing on the menu I can eat is a bagel with cream cheese and a glass of milk, which is fine for me, but invariably elicits a range of emotions from whomever I’m eating with. If they’re friends of mine the meal is usually spattered with “I’m sorry there’s nothing else here you can eat.” It’s not like it’s a surprise, get over it, I have. “I feel so bad, we all had these big meals and you just had a bagel!” Yeah, well, corn syrup is prevalent in the majority of US foods, cry me a river. And of course, the patting my knee while saying “Don’t worry, we’ll get you something you can eat later.” Don’t worry, I’ll get something to eat later with or without you, it’s not like this is my last chance at food. But all these things are much easier to hear than the conversation when I’m eating with people who don’t believe I have a CS allergy or are blissfully unaware of how it’s in almost every type of food. The following is a conversion over breakfast, years ago, at a fast-food chain breakfast place with my boyfriend of the time’s mother.

“Well that’s easy to get around, I’m sure they have lots of things on the menu!”

“I better ask the waiter just to be safe.”

“They have waffles, and pancakes, and french toast. Leave the syrup off those things and I’m sure you’ll be fine. There’s no need to bother them over a little allergy.”

“It can’t hurt to ask the waiter, they’ll know for sure.” The waiter came over and I asked “Can you tell me what on your menu doesn’t have corn syrup?”

He said he wasn’t sure and then went to the kitchen to ask. When he returned he reported “The head cook is pretty sure that everything on the breakfast menu has corn syrup, and most of our food is prepackaged and it comes without ingredient labels, so I can’t tell you for sure.”

The mom piped in again “Well, what about a fruit cup?”

The waiter replied “Those do have corn syrup, two kinds according to the label.”

“How about a bagel?” I tried for the old standby.

“Those we make here from scratch -”

“See!” interjected the mom.

“- so I know for a fact they have corn syrup.” finished the waiter. There was a moments silence where the waiter looked uncomfortable and the mom glared at me as though I was ruining her morning. The boyfriend sat there quietly staying out of the way. “You two eat breakfast and I can get something later, it’s fine, I don’t mind.” I smiled at her. She ordered for herself and her son and then questioned me on whether I was really sure that such an allergy could possibly exist. I’m fine without breakfast, but being harassed for my diet always gets under my skin.

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