A few of you may remember a little Op-Ed my friend, Joel Stein wrote for The LA Times. It was called, "Nut Allergies- A Yuppie Invention". It made fun of the hysteria surrounding nut allergies with lines like, "Your kid doesn't have an allergy to nuts. Your kid has a parent who needs to feel special." He also questioned the rise in food allergies and thought that it is a yuppie created phenomenon. Naturally, many in the allergy community were shocked and appalled. He got a lot of hate mail. There were rebuttals all over the blogosphere. And a doctor named Robert Wood wrote an opposing Op-Ed called, "Food Allergies Are Nothing to Laugh About." I even wrote my own blog post about the whole situation, after I had told him personally about how I was disappointed with his column. He made me promise to not kill him or otherwise cause him bodily harm the next time we ran into one another. I kept my promise.
Last month, Joel contacted my husband and asked if I would be interested in being interviewed for an article that he was doing for Time. It seems, that Joel's son who is just 15 months old has been diagnosed with having nut allergies. Let me be clear, I NEVER would have wished this on them. Although there were many that did. Personally, I like to spread positive energy around the universe and I would be happy if the food allergy well dried up and everyone could have the freedom to eat ANYTHING that they want.
Joel offered to take me out so that he could "eat crow" and we could discuss this whole situation. We met at Joan's, which is one of my favorite LA restaurants. (BTW, totally unrelated, but I saw Michael Voltaggio, Top Chef winner, there. Not a bad sign when you are eating at any dining establishment!) We sat for close to 2 hours, as he told me what had happened the night that they found out that Laszlo is allergic to nuts. And I talked about Ella, gave him my theories about all things related to allergies and we gossiped about mutual friends. He has come full circle on the way he looks at food allergies. Tomorrow, his mea culpa of sorts will appear in Time, called "Aw, Nuts!" It is an entertaining article. Check it out if you get a chance.
I hope that everyone will back off on sending Joel and his family bad vibes. They are good people, truly.