Monday, 13 December, 2010
I really wanted Panda Express for lunch. I knew Chinese Food would be challenging, at best, but I decided to pull up the allergen information from the Panda Express website this morning. Turns out every menu item includes wheat, except the steamed rice and the sweet & sour sauce. I will never eat Panda Express again. That threw me into a personal pity party, and then I felt extremely stupid for being so depressed over food.
Later in the afternoon I started doing some research and came across the date that FALCPA (Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act) was passed--2004. In the back of my mind I remembered that my high school friend, Anna Dailey McCartney, had been involved in some grassroots efforts regarding legislation to clarify food labeling around that time. So...I googled "Anna McCartney" and "FALCPA" and came across many references explaining her tireless efforts to raise public awareness, get them to write to their representatives, meet influential people, spread the word, and ultimately get the law passed. When I learned about this law a couple weeks ago it made me breathe so much easier because it mandates that labels must include (in plain English) if foods contain one of the 8 primary allergens, wheat being one of them. That has made my shopping experience so much easier. And here a good friend from my earlier days was instrumental in getting that law passed. At that moment I was filled with so much gratitude for her, so I stopped what I was doing and sent her a letter about it. Her response was very positive and she was appreciative of my kind words. She also gave me some suggestions of people/sites I could approach for help with gluten-free baking.
When I got home, I had a package waiting for me from Bob's Red Mill in Oregon. It was my shipment of 25 pounds of sorghum flour (and a little more potato starch because they were all out at the Whole Foods). It felt like Christmas because now I can make my flour mixes and start baking from the gluten-free cookbook my mom bought me. I, of course, was way too busy so I didn't have time to do anything with it other than pull it out of the packaging.