Something must be in the air this week (too many snow days?), because all over the Internets I've seen some pretty vicious mom fights all on the topic of kid treats. My own Facebook feed lit up like sugary Peeps over the issue of peanut butter sandwiches, and then this mom on The Huffington Post lamented that her child had to have processed "junk" all in the name of keeping other kids safe at birthday parties. Allow me to quote:
"I'm supposed to feed my kids processed, preservative-laden food because your kid has a wheat allergy? No. I don't want to. I want my kid to have the made-from-scratch cupcakes, the ones made with fresh butter, sugar and yes, real flour with real gluten in it, and not a commercially prepared cupcake that has an ingredient list a mile long. How could that possibly be better?"
As someone who is in danger of getting cancer from that gluten, I'm going to go out on a limb and say non-cancer is "better." (And non-diarrhea, but is that TMI?) And let's just put aside those deadly allergies (but should we? really?) in hopes of having a rational conversation.
Although, seriously. If you're complaining about peanut butter and some child's life is in danger, maybe just back away from the Jif and think about what you're saying.
Anyway. I get it. She's burned out, tired of having to plan around other people's allergies. Or rather, other kid's allergies. At my own kid's school we have to prepare lunches that are not only peanut-free, but tree nut-free, kosher and because of my own celiac disease—I make them gluten-free. It's a lot of -free. So, I've got some sympathy.
It's not like she's crashing that kid's birthday party at his house and demanding he put away the peanut butter and the gluten.
"The next time I have to watch my daughter have a bone scan to make sure she hasn’t developed osteoporosis at the age of 13, I’ll think about that poor woman and that One Day she had a hard time coming up with an acceptable treat to accommodate ALL the kids in her son’s class."
RLP also points out that when kids are in school, they are actually required by law to be there. It's not like she's crashing that kid's birthday party at his house and demanding he put away the peanut butter and the gluten. So, yeah, I tend to side with that logic.
So what do we do? We moms who are dealing with food allergies, and the rest of the population who just want to shove everything in their kids' cupcakes willy-nillly? First of all, we need to look at the food situation from all sides. Maybe that kid who only eats peanut butter has some sensory issues. Maybe we can work out a solution so one kid isn't risking his life, while the other kid eats the only thing that is in his diet. And maybe we all have a little sympathy for other parents trying to feed their kids safely, and satisfyingly, instead of stomping our feet and whining (because we are the adults, after all).
Since I'm a "sensitive" baker type, I've got some suggestions for those of you who are freaking out about the next school event that requires baking. At your next kid party, serve up these delicious treats without fear. And, hey, enjoy some yourself! It's pretty hard to complain with so much yum-ness in your mouth.
Gluten-free pancake and waffle mixes (and many can be made dairy-free as well, might as well take that precaution) taste basically the same as the gluten-filled. Believe me, I know this isn't the case with every gluten-free treat, I KNOW. But here you've got some wiggle room.
Get your waffle iron going and make some hot Belgian waffles for the people. Lay out bowls of chocolate chips, non-dairy topping, rainbow sprinkles, M&M's, syrup and whatever else floats your (gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free) boat. You're going to have a room full of happy kids.
Purée real fruit to create a myriad of delicious flavors of shaved ice in your ice cream/sorbet machine. The kids will think they're totally cheating and getting crazy sweets, and you'll be able to live with yourself knowing you're serving up a healthy, delicious, allergy-free treat.
Chocolate Covered Frozen Bananas
Just slice up those 'naners and dip in melted chocolate. Toss in the freezer for at least one hour. Serve up to an adorable crowd.