This past weekend my husband and I attended a wedding. We haven't been to one in a couple of years. Even though I did not know the bride and groom at all (groom was my husband's co-worker), I really enjoyed hearing the homily in the service about love and marriage and commitment and such. It brought a tear to my eye as I thought back on my own marriage.
Then came the reception. It was in New Jersey. I never knew much about NJ stereotypes, but all of a sudden, several of them came alive. I have only seen The Sopranos a few times, but seeing some of the ladies attending the wedding reminded me of the lead guy's wife....played by Edie Falco. I saw lots of big hair, rings on pinkies, wigs on heads, and SEQUINS. I felt like I had entered another world: New Jersey!
The band was awesome. They had several band members that both played instruments and sang. They were really good at imitating Billy Joel, Elton John, Frank Sinatra, Jewel etc. I was really entertained and impressed with all of them. And the crowd REALLY responded....dancing whenever they had a chance. The cocktail hour alone had more food then my entire wedding (including the luncheon before the reception). I was stuffed even before I got to the sit-down dinner. I guess stopping for Dairy Queen Blizzards right after the wedding didn't help the fullness factor.
When the band announced dinner was served, I was glad that I hurried over to the table because my worst nightmare could have occurred. Picture this: the server approaches the table with a divided platter kind of like this one, containing prime rib and gravy on one side and shrimp with a cream sauce on the other. She had 1 (count them) 1 spoon to dish up all of it on our plates. Her pattern was always to start with the girl across from me and work her way around the table counter clockwise, serving me last. I quickly stepped in and said: "Please serve me first, because I am allergic to shellfish."
Nice save. I am glad I did too, because it was really good, and I would have been sad if I had missed out. I watched the server dish up the goods to everyone else, and as I watched her use the one spoon on both items, I just felt scared and nervous. In my mind that shrimp is like cyanide....and she was poisoning the red meat with it. I get this same fearful feeling whenever I pass by a fish market or the fish section at the grocery store. Poison...beware.
Thankfully, being aware of what I am eating is second nature to me now, but it wasn't always and I have been hospitalized once. I was eating at one of those Japanese restaurants where they cook your meal at your table. The chef started with some shrimp, and served it on all of our plates. I knew I was allergic (by allergy test, not experience), and so I removed it onto my Dad's plate and cleaned my plate off. Then he cooked my chicken and beef dinner on the same grill, and after eating it for a few minutes I was swelling up in my throat. I was amazed that the heat from the grill wasn't enough to "kill" the shrimp buggies, and that I would react so severely. The only other close call I had was at a Mexican restaurant. I ordered some chicken that was smothered with cheese, for some reason I decided to lift up the cheese with my fork, and right underneath it lay a single small shrimp...I hadn't even taken one bite, but it made me nervous about the cooking conditions so I think I passed on the entire meal.
I should carry my epipen. I need to get a new one b/c the one I have has expired...but after my recent allergist experience, it may still be awhile before I get that prescription.