So, it sounds like a brilliant idea, a cookie exchange! You bake one type of cookies, pile it up on a platter and meet a bunch of friends who have each baked a different type of goodie. When you arrive, you also bring empty plates and plastic wrap. Then you choose a few cookies from each of your friend's trays and pile them on your plate. You have a beautiful plate of assorted flavored cookies, yet you only had to bake once!
What could be better than that. Well.........
You knew this was going somewhere, didn't you?! Food allergies. It's hard to find desserts without nuts. Son #2 is allergic to tree nuts, so I am always nervous when it comes to any baked goods. There are A LOT of desserts that have nuts in them. And, even if I choose one that doesn't have nuts, how do I know that there hasn't been a cross contamination?
If I scan a platter of cookies, I look for anything with nuts. Are people picking up desserts with their hands or using tongs? Are they using tongs from one tray to pick up desserts from another tray? It only takes a tiny amount of what you are allergic to to cause anaphylactic shock. That can easily come from using one set of tongs for two different trays.
I decided not to risk having a problem with tree nuts. So Son #2 didn't get any treats on the last two cookies exchanges that I have gone to. Don't worry, I have plenty of nut-free goodies at home to tide over the teenager.
If you are visiting family this week for Christmas, make sure they know of your food allergy. If they still want to serve something that you are allergic to, make sure you bring a dish of food that you can eat. You can bring a main dish and a dessert, that way you know you are safe. And make sure you are the first one to serve yourself, so people aren't using the same serving utensil for different foods. It's no fun having anaphylaxis! I have spent A LOT of money on Son #2's Christmas presents. I would like him to be alive to open them.
Here's hoping for a nut-free Christmas dinner. (Yes, you can insert all sorts of jokes here about nutty family members if you wish.)