rich emollient used in the management of eczema, psoriasis and other dry skin conditions.


Oxo cubes. We all know about those. We don’t eat Oxo cubes if we are allergic to wheat or celery because they are not just stock… they are lots of other things too.

The moral of this blog is that you must always be checking and checking and when that little niggling doubt is in the back of your mind you keep asking until you sound like a broken record because while no one means to ever mis-inform you, they only know what they know.

And if they just don’t know they won’t tell you…

So we get to the the point. The soup. We discussed the soup by text en route to Chez Dad and Liz so my mouth was watering in anticipation of home-made soup.

The Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato soup

Butternut squash, sweet potato and OXO CUBE SOUP

Butternut squash, sweet potato and OXO CUBE SOUP

Ed: Nice tablecloth!

Dad: It’s just got Butternut squash and sweet potato in it. Nothing else. Can you eat that?
Me: Just those two things? Nothing else?
Dad: Yes nothing else.
Me: You added salt and pepper though…
Dad: Well yes of course but nothing else.

So the soup looks amazing and smells amazing. But I’m not so sure it looks like JUST butternut squash and sweet potato. It’s so smooth and creamy and silky and eatable.

And so we go on, and we are just about to sit down to eat the soup when…

Dad: This soup has quite a kick because I added my special spice mix.
Me: Your what?
Dad: It’s just spices.
Me: Can I see it please?
Dad goes and gets the spices. It is just a mixture of spices and fine for me but by now those alarm bells are ringing so loud in my ears I can’t stop myself. I am a broken record of the worst kind, but I have to be.

Me: So all that’s in this soup is butternut squash, sweet potato, these spices and seasoning.
Dad: Yes, that’s all. I made it in my new soup maker.

So I took a tiny sip. It just tasted not quite right. I can’t explain how I knew, because I didn’t get the instant lip itching and mouth blisters I would have from nuts or dairy. Just a very bad feeling and a taste I knew to avoid.

Me: Are you sure that’s all you put in this soup?
Dad: (getting annoyed now) Yes. That’s all. Just butternut squash, sweet potato, the spices… oh and a stock cube.
Dad: Just a stock cube
Me: What kind of stock cube?
Dad: Not sure.

Dad goes and gets kilner jar of decanted and mixed stock cubes… and stands guiltily in the door way. Holds up the green one and says… Oxo!

“It’s just an Oxo vegetable stock cube. There’s nothing in a stock cube…”

Me: No Dad. Nothing at all in a stock cube. Just WHEAT AND CELERY!

I am trying not get cross now. But I am fuming inside.

Mr What Allergy makes me check online and yes, the offending Oxo cube does indeed contain wheat and celery. This does not please me.

How does he not know this about me? How does he not know that I can’t eat normal stock cubes?
And how does he still not know, off by heart, the whole long list of things I cannot eat?

I am doing him a laminated list to go on his notice board for my next visit. It will have in bold, at the bottom. NO OXO CUBES!

But I am not angry. Because part of this blame lies with me. It is hard to educate others with the vigilance I have to adhere to just to stay in one piece and not in terrible stomach pain. Because I hate asking questions ALL THE TIME, I bore myself with them, I would rather quietly bring my own food and not make a fuss. But by not making a fuss and spelling things out you do yourself no favours.

So while they all tuck into their rustic bread and delicious home-made soup I quietly prepare my own Pea pancetta and mint soup courtesy of ilumi. I always go prepared everywhere I go. Thank you ilumi! Saved the day once again.

And I try not to launch into a torrent of unhelpful abuse…

And then I have to swallow my raging food envy over this bread. Oh if I could eat this bread I would be in heaven. And if I could smother it with lashings of butter. Oooohhhhhhhh…

Serious food envy watching them all eat this wheat infested loaf

Serious food envy watching them all eat this wheat infested loaf

Discovering Sesame Ryvita… how have I never had this before?

The saving grace to this whole uncomfortable episode was discovering Sesame Ryvita… I can eat these because although I am allergic to wheat, I CAN eat rye and barley, thank goodness. My Dad’s lovely wife produced these and I loved them. She might not realise yet that I wolfed half the pack in defiance to the rustic loaf staring at me across the table.

Delicious wheat free Sesame Ryvita is delicious

Delicious wheat free Sesame Ryvita is delicious

That day I had some serious food envy but my lovely ilumi soup and this Ryvita made it all OK and I think I managed to not be too rude to my dear old Dad. He didn’t mean to lie but lie he did.

He won’t be doing that again!

Please, please, please, friends and family. Don’t ever be worried about saying if you put in a stock cube or ingredient you aren’t sure about. We would really rather know about it than eat it and be sick. There is no such thing as a stupid question so ask if you’re not sure and tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, especially to Ruth because she’s Ruthless.

Because if I had eaten that soup I would have spent an awful long time on the toilet and in pain. As it was I had nothing more than a tiny murmuring in the stomach. I got away with that tiny sip of soup.

And all was forgotten when we tucked into my belated birthday brunch the following morning at Number Twenty Six in Teignmouth which will be the subject of my next blog. THE most amazing gluten and dairy free breakfast and no wheat and celery in sight!

nb: Apologies to Dad but the lesson we all learnt here was just too good not to share and I can never resist the opportunity for a good old rant.



An allergy and health writer and freelance copywriter, Ruth is passionate about helping those with allergies and food intolerances take control, embrace their condition, and learn to live with and love who they are. It can be very lonely finding you have allergies and discovering what helps you can be a life long journey. What works for one person won't work for another, so after trying nearly every allergy treatment under the sun and finding hours of research necessary to keep abreast of what's going on, Ruth started writing her blog, What Allergy? in April 2009. Ruth has life threatening allergies herself to all nuts, all diary, tomatoes and celery and knows first-hand what it's like to have an anaphylactic attack. Voted in the Top 5 UK allergy blogs by Cision UK in 2011, What Allergy is packed full of interesting articles, hints and tips and product reviews which are a must read for anyone with allergies, food intolerances or sensitivities, asthma and eczema. From subjects such as "What is celery allergy?" to "Surviving a holiday abroad with allergies", it's packed with useful and interesting information. You can register free for a weekly newsletter by visiting her website and also keep in touch by following her on Facebook and Twitter.

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