Salami is meat, right? It shouldn’t have milk in it. To find out whether it might it helps to understand how it’s made.
It involves making a paste of meat, generally pork and beef. Then salt, spices etc. are added and lots of fat too. The following bits of the process are probably the reasons why I should NEVER eat salami:
Cultures are then added, the same kinds of cultures one might find in yogurts, beers or sour-dough breads.
The modern curing process begins with a period of fermentation at 85 degrees or higher to encourage the growth of lactic acid bacteria.
I also KNOW that lactic acid is BAD for me. It gives me the same reaction as dairy though not quite as severe.
So now you’re all desperate to know what mistakes What Allergy has made this week aren’t you? Read on…
There were inevitably going to be some minor little hiccups during my ‘year-of-being-brave-and-eating-out-more’ but I am learning some valuable lessons.
The biggest of which is definitely, NEVER eat things that are processed. This week, that includes salami.
After the Allergy Show North (Great show, loved it. Better than London!) we stayed with a good friend (Thanks Steve) who lives in the most amazing flat on Quebec Quay. He took us out for a meal on the Sunday night to The Quarter near The London Philharmonic pub.
The meal I had ordered was absolutely fine. The restaurant were very attentive and went through my choice with me. I had a very nice duck and beetroot salad starter and lovely, very well cooked steak for my main.
The others shared a meat and cheese platter. It did look very nice. I did feel very virtuous with my healthy salad. I did feel a bit jealous…
But what on earth possessed me to try a bit of salami from my friend’s starter is still beyond me.
Husband who is always the voice of sense and reason and far more sensible than me told me not to try it. He told me more than once not to risk it.
He was right of course, but I tried some anyway, after checking with the manager whether it would be safe, who checked with the chef who confirmed it was, who then went white as as sheet as I popped in a mouthful and my lip began swelling up immediately in front of our very eyes!
I had to eat humble pie after that too (not really, just literally) because it was my fault COMPLETELY.
SOD THE FACT THAT I ASKED IF IT WAS OK.
I broke my rule, don’t eat processed food if you haven’t actually read the label yourself.
I didn’t listen to my husband, because that evil Ruth angel was on my other shoulder whispering, “don’t listen to him, he’s no fun, what can possibly go wrong? Just try a little bit, you love salami, doesn’t it look nice? that bit is totally untouched, none of it has got anywhere near the cheese… (THE CHEESE – ALARM BELLS SHOULD BE RINGING NOW BUT THEY AREN’T) The manager said it would be OK. How allergic are you anyway? Just a bit. Go on. Go on. Go on. You know you want to…”
Cheese! CHEESE! What was I thinking? Lovely hard, mature, crumbly cheese, nestling on the same wooden board. Maybe they had been cut with the same knife? Maybe the salami did contain dairy… Maybe it contained lactic acid – should I assume that the manager and chef would know that lactic acid might contain dairy? who knows.
The manager, who was by now looking very worried, assured me there was no dairy, but possibly a trace of wheat… but that was no wheat reaction. I know my reactions. That was dairy. It was exactly what happened last week with the prawn crackers.
I’m beginning to think I should most definitely not be let out on my own…
What is the point of getting your own meal carefully prepared if you then eat from another dish?
So I now have ANOTHER rule.
NEVER, EVER, take food or share food with someone else if you are not 100% sure it is safe, especially if there is CHEESE or any other allergen involved in the mix. Especially if that said food is something that is processed and also a food you know to have contained dairy on other occasions. Especially if you’ve never ever found salami in the shops without dairy in it.
What on earth was I thinking?
And before you ask, yes there was red wine involved. Hic!
But I was fine. I stopped eating immediately after just half a very small bit of salami. I drank a vat of water with quite a few antihistamines and the reaction stopped in its tracks after about 10-15 minutes. I was OK. Apart from hives inside my mouth and that horrible feeling like you want to claw out the allergen or whatever it is coating the inside of your mouth. My face was visibly swelling a bit on the cheek too, where the biggest blister was inside my mouth but the hives went down completely after about half an hour. I did fell a bit giddy (red wine?) and slightly uneasy (no shit sherlock) and very very stupid (You are stupid – call yourself an allergy expert?) but I learnt another lesson and am still here blogging to tell you tale.
So the moral of the story is, eat your own food, don’t pick from other peoples plate and definitely, never, ever eat salami or any other processed food if you have a dairy allergy and DEFINITELY not if you haven’t checked the label yourself.
I don’t want to diss The Quarter, because they were really very good and my food was amazing. The dish prepared specially for me was awesome, tasty and totally allergen free. I broke the rules. So I would recommend this restaurant, lovely decor, ambiance and very friendly and helpful staff. I think both me and they learnt a valuable lesson that night. Just don’t eat the salami if you have a dairy allergy!