There is a buddy of mine in The Biz who had a pretty successful shop in central OC for a stretch, really well-regarded and the food was great. He was a true trailblazer and created a very special place in DTSA. He is also one of the few people I know that has really, awful, horrible food allergies. Like no joke. So bad, in fact, there were times when he couldn’t even set foot in his own shop if anything like shellfish or nuts was on he menu that eve-and I mean not even getting near the front door. It got so serious, in fact, he ended up at a prestigious hospital back east to seek treatment and find a workaround. There was a bit of a happy ending and after an extended stay he was better but still not able to be around some ingredients.
Fast forward a couple years and a young lady walks into my shop demanding gluten free vodka. So.
One-All vodka is gluten free.
Two- ALL VODKA IS FUCKING GLUTEN FREE!!!
I understand that if it’s flavored and/or put in a barrel that once had a gluten content there can be transference, that’s fine. But it is literally a chemical impossibility for gluten molecules to enter the distillation process, it’s like getting golfballs to float into the air from a boiling pot of spaghetti, it’s doesn’t work. I could get all mad scientist about it but the simple fact of the matter is that gluten molecules are the size of Jupiter compared to their ethyl alcohol bretheren and literally is a physical impossibility for them to make their way up the still. and condense. When I casually informed her of this she said she “reacted” to vodka that was made from wheat. For argument’s sake get’s get this straight once and for all.
There’s is a gargantuan difference between “having a reaction” and “reacting”, we deal with it all the time in The Biz. “Having a reaction” is quantitative and qualitative-you are (to some degree) flushed, anaphylactic, tachycardic, experiencing ocular hemorrhaging, whatever. My aforementioned buddy’s eyelids would swell up so bad he looked like Homer Simpson after a horribly one-sided street brawl involving a pool cue beatdown. However, “reacting” is a non-specific set of internal feelings that may actually seem very real but are a figment of one’s imagination-, fingers are numb, mouth is dry, your chakras are misaligned, again-whatever. The difference in this part of the equation is the whole thing is a ploy to shame or guilt you into getting wrapped up in the one way train ride to Crazy Town and the more you resist the insane narrative, believe me, the worse (and sillier) it gets.
What happens is this. People jam up the front of shop peeps demanding all sorts nonsense and justifying it by saying they are “allergic” – and there is plenty of content out there that proves douchebag bloggers say it’s okay to lie about your pretend dietary needs. Same theory with service dogs. And while all this is happening everyone in the back of house is rolling their eyes, cursing under their breath and generally not taking the situation seriously. I get that in today’s world people are allowed to be so narcissistic and self-absorbed they think the world revolves around them and they are entitled to warp reality in order to get their way-that’s just a fact. But it’s like pulling that fire alarm handle in Junior High all the time. At some point everyone is just gonna stop paying attention. (btw-I had once had a particularly self entitled member of the south coast elite tell me with a straight face she was “allergic to condiments”).
Faux food allergies are all the rage, people covet and collect theirs like Gucci handbags. So if you are legitimately allergic to something please speak up, everyone will do their best to accommodate your needs. But if you’re playing that card to get your way or make yourself feel important please knock it off or stay home, you don’t need to ruin it for those people who’s health (and possibly lives) legitimately rely on us in The Biz paying attention to what we are doing in that kitchen.