September means back to school in our home. Every year my children have classmates with serious food allergies. Approximately 1-2 % of Canadians live with the risk of an anaphylactic reaction. More than 50 % of Canadians know someone with a life-threatening allergy. We have loved ones in our family and close friends with life threatening allergies, perhaps you do too. Keeping them safe is a big concern.
I worry especially when entertaining in our home. Serving safe and delicious food takes thought and effort. I can only imagine how much courage it takes a parent to send a child with life-threatening allergies out in the world without being able to keep a close watch. These families are counting on us to be vigilant, send safe lunches to school, read and re-read labels, and educate our children and ourselves on this issue.
Whether its allergies, intolerances or dietary restrictions, I try to serve food that is inclusive. It must be awful to feel different or odd at meal times, especially if you are a child. My friend Pam served us a homemade chocolate cake that was nut free, egg free and I-will-have-a-second-slice-please, delicious. It is easy to make and more importantly, everyone thought it was just a yummy “normal” cake. No weird, dry, odd taste to signify it is missing some common ingredients. I like to send this to school with the kids for class celebrations.
Perhaps baking is not your shtick. I get that. Here is another very good option. Cheery Brook Kitchens make yummy cake mixes that manufacture in a nut free/egg free/dairy free/peanut free facility. They even make icing! We use this mix as our special occasion cake for big family gatherings. I have yet to find a Canadian made mix that is comparable. I will keep searching because some days…it is all about cake.
1 1/2 Cups Flour
1 C Sugar
1/3 C Cocoa
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Salt
5 tbsp corn oil
1 tbsp vinegar
1 tsp vanilla
1 C cold water
Process dry ingredients first, mix in the remaining ingredients. Pour into a greased 8” square baking pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes in a 350 oven.