Before restaurants in the United Kingdom became more aware and concerned about food allergies, eating out usually meant carrying your food from the kitchen to the garden or eating at family and friends’ homes where your allergies can be considered in menu planning.
Today, the likes of Frankie and Benny’s, a nationwide chain of Italian-American restaurants, have made it possible for people with food allergies to actually enjoy dinner in restaurants!
But you should not be complacent either since the ultimate responsibility for your avoidance of your food allergens still rests on your shoulders.
You should practice vigilance in accordance with the type, severity, and frequency of your food allergies especially when dining out. Here are a few crucial steps in ensuring your safety while still enjoying the delicious food and drinks at Frankie and Benny’s restaurants.
You should obviously avoid ordering food and beverages with the offending food ingredient where your body is concerned. But this is not as easy as it seems since you cannot always determine what’s on your plate.
You should then be aware of hidden ingredients in your entrees, dishes and desserts. Your allergens can be hidden in the dressings, sauces and breading, among others, which will trigger your symptoms regardless of their form, quantity and quality.
A few food allergens hiding in your food include:
- Dairy including milk can be found in canned tuna, granola bars, grilled steaks with butter, and desserts with caramel colouring, natural chocolate flavouring, and brown sugar flavouring;
- Eggs can be found in baked goods with shiny surfaces (e.g., pretzels and bagels), pasta in soups, and foam on coffee drinks;
- Nuts are usually found in chili, bouillon, and barbecue sauce;
- Wheat and gluten can be listed as a flavour binder or enhancer, such as in hotdogs, soup mixes, and couscous.
- Seafood allergens can be found in Caesar’s salad and caponata (anchovies and Italian relish);
The more you understand your food allergens, the more likely you will be aware of their presence in your dishes and desserts.
Ask the Waiter
When in doubt, you can ask your waiter about the ingredients in the food and drinks on the menu that you want to order. You can inform him, too, about your food allergens so that he can make suitable recommendations.
You have to closely work with your waiter to ensure that you will actually enjoy your meal without breaking out in rashes, among other symptoms of an allergy attack.
Your quest to find a great restaurant that has the right balance between offering a set menu and providing for concessions for food allergens should start now!