Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Homemade Fail

I've gotten in the habit when the kids have a party or celebration at school, I volunteer to make cupcakes.  I think mostly because back in the egg allergy days, I could ensure that Bryce could always have a cupcake, even if there were other things he couldn't have. So Caroline's class is having a Halloween party on Thursday (that I'm helping with) and I, of course, volunteered to make cupcakes.  Caroline's teacher, Ms. B, emailed me to tell me that unfortunately, I can't bring in anything that is homemade per the Health Department new policy.  Damn. 

While I totally understand the policy coming from the perspective of a mother whose child had a food allergy it also bums me out.  I personally, don't really like store bought cakes/cupcakes and also know how much extra sugar and gunk are in those things.  Not that a homemade version is a whole lot better nutritionally, but it's GOT to be better than store bought ones that are probably made with things like LARD and way too much sugar and other preservatives.  Oh yeah, and they use all that nasty dye.  Barf. 

And then it dawned on me that this means I also won't be able to bring cupcakes in for Caroline's birthday or anything else homemade.  If you know me, you know I like to make things myself and buying something from a store when I don't want to is somewhat of an insult.  Clearly, if one of the kids in Caroline's class had a food allergy, I'd be happy to alter my recipe, but I'm pretty sure that's not the case.   And I also realize that this policy was put into effect for idiots who would put ridiculous things in a homemade goody and know NOTHING about food allergies.  I suspect it also has to do with ensuring a supposed high quality from store bought food as well since I've certainly had a bad baked good in my day.  However, I do understand that they have to make a blanket policy for a reason and making exceptions isn't necessarily fair, so I'll just be grumpy about it and comply. 

I told Ms. B that I would NOT be buying cupcakes (I refuse to spend my money on that and I'm not running all over the place to find them!) and what else could I bring.  We'll see....

I've looked on the school system's website for some kind of official policy and can't find one.  Not that I'm questioning Ms. B, I just want to read the official policy and see the wording and exact context.


Viv said...

We have the same policy - store bought only! I found this out 3 weeks ago when I asked about making cupcakes for Makenzie' birthday - so I opted for some muchkins instead! (the teacher suggested cookies, muchkins or cupcakes) I hate store bought too :(

Katie said...

I prefer the policy. Although I would trust someone like you, too many don't understand food allergies and cross-contamination issues. How many moms would know that casein & whey = MILK!!! At Em's preK,many moms asked me for specific ingredients and I would buy the right margerine myself, but I still was nervous. It's just easier to have a blanket rule-- especially when the parents don't necessarily know or trust each other.

What annoys me is that this policy seems designed to protect kids from peanut allergies and not necessarily milk/eggs.

On the other hand, however, as a mom of non-food-allergic child (Lucy), I get a little frustrated.

Erika said...

I'm actually more suspicious of the reasoning being questionable food products from home - like, oops, I put pot in those brownies.

C's school doesn't seem to have much food allergy awareness. But then you look at the demographics of who tends to have food allergies - middle/upper class children of European descent. And that's NOT C's schools demographic.

It's a good blanket policy in the sense it covers everything and keeps the weirdo stuff out, it's just a bummer to those parents who are "with it" and actually want to do something nice for their kid.

Plus, the downside to store bought is it's often less healthy. Although, I am considering the donut option, Viv. :)

Laura said...

This question will show my ignorance: can one purchase baked goods at the store that are made without eggs or milk? We have no food allergies in my family, so I don't have any experience with this.

I suppose a sheet cake is not an option because you'll want something small and individual. But if you can go with sheet cake, I strongly recommend the cakes from Costco. Have you ever had one? So good. I actually used the made-to-order Costco sheet cakes as my wedding cake.

Katie said...

You can buy certain brands of box mixes that are dairy/egg free (ie Cherrybrook + non-dairy margarine), but bakery goods will have eggs/milk. My point was that if you are going to go out of your way to protect peanut-allergic children, why not protect the dairy/egg allergic kids as well, since those are very common in school-aged children as well.

Emily's class is having oreos and goldfish and fruit for their party. I'm annoyed b/c she can't have goldfish, even the pretzel flavor has dairy. Any other pretzel would have been okay, so I'm annoyed that they didn't think of that considering they went out of the way to avoid peanut products.

(Sorry for hijacking your comment E!)

Courtney said...

my mom is a teacher in Cecil County and told me about the policy. I don't think they talked much about it as it being implemented for allergy reasons, but quality control. (and covering their butts). My mom is sad because she had a couple different "rewards" through the year. Baking Brownies for a class of kids costs a couple of bucks with a box mix, but treating with all store bought... not the same cost at all.

Erika... I don't prefer store bought stuff either... all the extras in it, preservatives, etc. a tough situation, especially since my kids like to be involved in making the treats.

Erika said...

@Courtney - I thought of those cool things you made for your son's birthday when I heard the new rule too and I agree, I think it's more about quality control than anything. Boo!