Saturday, November 22, 2008

Thanksgiving Landmines

With Thanksgiving coming up this week (in the US at least), I thought I'd give you a gentle reminder about some hidden sources of peanuts (and other nuts):
  • Turkey
    If you're having fried turkey, beware. An ideal cooking oil for frying turkeys is peanut oil. It's up to you how comfortable you are with peanut oil, but we would avoid it.
  • Traditional Foods
    Did you know that a traditional dessert in Sweden is rice pudding and the 'treat' inside is a whole almond? Whoever gets the almond in their dessert is the 'winner!'.
  • Stuffing
    My all time favorite stuffing has pecans in it, but for obvious reasons it is off limits to us now. Chestnuts are often found in stuffings as well.
  • Toppings
    Almonds on green beans. Crushed pecans sprinkled over the sweet potatoes. Don't assume it's cheese, people.
  • Pie Crusts
    Many recipes use nuts to enhance pie crusts. This is something you definitely wont just be able to see when you look at it, so be careful.
  • Gelatin Molds
    I don't personally eat these at Thanksgiving, but I know lots of folks who do. And did you know that some of them actually have nuts in them?
Obviously this isn't a comprehensive list, but you should always be very aware of what you're eating, especially if you haven't made it yourself (or haven't seen it being made). Although you can come off as a bit paranoid, I usually ask hosts about each and every dish - "Does this contain peanuts? Almonds? Pecans? Walnuts?, etc." I'm really specific about how I ask people about dishes. You'd be surprised at the number of people who don't know what a tree nut is. Seriously.

Did I miss anything?


Elaine said...

I'm laughing so hard right now. This list is the exact reason we are staying home this year, for the first time ever... I will be cooking this year. It is so much less work then the unsafe feeling of having to go somewhere.

Anonymous said...

I always send a friendly e-mail (you know--the interrogation couched in phrases such as "we SO appreciate you looking out for our daughter") asking for the menu AHEAD of time. It's too stressful for me and the hostess to ask right before dinner. Asking ahead of time also allows them to change the menu if they so desire. For example, my husbands grandma was more than happy to forego pecan pie and do apple instead. We just had to ask sweetly about a month in advance, so nothing was planned yet.

ALSO--In a rush, a hostess may give you wrong info anyway, which happened at a graduation party last spring--we were told nothing had nuts, but as I went through the buffet line I could SEE one of the salads had walnuts in it--and my daughter had already put it on her plate. YIKES!