Saturday, November 15, 2008

FISH = Death

I hope you're all having a good Saturday so far!

It's been a quiet morning at Nutwood, reading the paper, catching up on blogs, and watching a couple of early football games (ND vs Navy and Illinois vs. Ohio State). Tonight is our dinner event at Studebaker National Museum, and I'll probably start getting ready after the games are over. Tonight I'm channeling Hillary in my double-breasted pantsuit of medium blue. (I'll have to see if I have a flag pin for the lapel. wink) We're supposed to get 1-2 inches of snow tonight, so I definitely don't feel like wearing a suit with a skirt, or other dress. I'm hoping to get lots of dinner and museum pictures, especially of the utterly cool Packard Predictor.

I didn't hear from either Peggy at the Museum or Debbie at the caterers yesterday, so I'm assuming that everything is a go and that there are no problems. I was starting to wonder earlier in the week...after I took care of the balance of the catering bill, based on 100 guests, on Monday, I had an email from Ken when I got home saying that we needed to up it to 110. Now, the deadline was the previous Thursday, but people were still signing on Monday morning. You don't know how tempting it was to say, "Well, I guess they're just SOL, aren't they?" But I didn't...I called Debbie and she said it wasn't a problem, and "Just keep talking to me!" She said that a hundred extra people would be a problem, but not 10, and we could just pay the balance tonight. I told Ken that if all goes well tonight, and the food is great, I just might have to write some letters to both the Museum and the caterer, as well as the local paper. I've sure been impressed so far, and isn't it great to deal with people who are so helpful?

Along about mid-week, Ken informed me that he'd had a discussion with one of the guys at work who is coming to the event. Apparently, his wife has severe food allergies, and the guy wanted to call the caterer and talk to them about what she couldn't eat. (!!!) Ken said, please don't call the caterer directly, we'll check into it and find out more information. In other words, WE will deal with it, not you. The guy sent Ken an email, which Ken sent on to me, and the guy listed what she cannot eat and what would "be acceptable." The part that got me was when he wrote "FISH = Death." All dairy products cause "instant migraine," and processed wheat products are also out.

I put together a list of all the menu items and stated that there would be options, including the grilled chicken breast, grilled vegetables, etc., and that the chef would be available tonight, and Ken forwarded that email on to the guy. The guy wrote back again, detailing why or why not the various items would be acceptable. On the list of hors d'oeuvres, by the Crab-Stuffed Mushrooms, he typed "Almost certain death." [rolling eyes] Well, I guess she'd better skip those, huh? I wrote to someone that I had a mental image of her raising a Crab-Stuffed Mushroom to her mouth, and me smacking it out of her hand, yelling, "NOOOO!"

Well, come to find out, the guy had already called the caterer and talked to them about the dinner! Ken said he told him, "So why didn't you tell me that to begin with, and save my wife the time and trouble she went to?"

I'm truly not making light of food allergies--I know they're very serious. A former coworker found out that her daughter had several food allergies, and it's not easy to find things that you can eat. But isn't it kind of weird to expect a buffet dinner to conform to your dietary rules? Especially when someone has already sent you something showing that there are other options? And I think that noting that the Crab-Stuffed Mushrooms would mean almost certain death is a touch of hyperbole that wasn't really necessary. So don't eat 'em, already.

I think disaster was averted...but if Ken introduces me to this couple tonight, I'm sure I'll have that "FISH = Death" phrase running through my mind. I'm glad I've got a great poker face.

A Public Service Announcement

In the past couple of days, both Ken and I have received a couple of mass emails that contained some cute pictures and funny stuff. That's not a problem. However, that email list was copied by someone else to send out another mass email that contained a link to a website which apparently contained a virus. That resulted in another mass email, using the same email list, that included a website to get a free anti-virus program. Yet another mass email, again using the same list, stated that the anti-virus program had completely locked up their computer. I think there might be a couple more waiting for me when I check.

I respectfully submit that any mass emails we send out should use BCC rather than CC. Some people do not want their emails shared with the public at large. I do occasionally send out mass emails or forwards, but it's either an email group in which we just share with each other, or I send it to my own email address first, and everyone else gets a BCC. Think about how some of those forwards make the rounds, and do you really want your email address up there for people you don't know to see? Please don't subject others to spam or unwanted forwards and junk mail. It's bad enough as it is, and we need to respect each other's privacy.

And one more point: be very careful when hitting "Reply All." Are you sure you want your reply going out to everyone on that list?


  1. I'm afraid I would have to tell fish lady's husband to pack her a lunch. On the other hand, if I was married to her, I'd tell the caterer she loves red snapper. but that's just me.

    Tell Sheba Hi!
    Possum S. Hemmingway

  2. Hi Beth,
    I organize a lot of events so, like you, have come upon the food allergy situations many times. You handled it properly ... though a conference call together with you, the allergy lady and the caterer might also have worked and avoided duplication of effort. The problem with turning a guest loose on the caterer is that they start making demands that jack up the budget. I have every sympathy for the sufferer in question -- it must be terrible for her anytime they eat out -- but you're absolutely right: The whole buffet doesn't revolve around this one guest. It's all about finding alternatives for this woman. On the other hand, maybe you can just serve Japanese Puffer Fish to the whole group. Then Fish might equal death for everyone. Problem solved ...
    P.S.: It might be nice if you can get a candid photo of this woman just as a waiter walks near her with a platter of certain death ...

  3. Based on my imitation of this person, when Beth meets him = Certain Snort :o)

  4. Maybe it's being southern... and maybe it's because I don't have food allergies... but I think it's rather presumptious to complain about what's being served at what I assume is a free dinner for them. You don't look a gift horse in the mouth. When I was on Weight Watchers and was being super careful about what I ate, there were numerous times I was at social/business gatherings where there was nothing served that was appropriate for me to eat... and you know what I did? I shut up about it. *laugh* I mean... it's my issue... I just ate afterwards or before. I ate what I could and avoided what I couldn't eat. It sounds like she's wearing her allergies like a cross...

    Obnoxious people = death!


  5. I hope everything goes great tonight..even dealing with the allergy people......

  6. The allergic are weak, and they must be destroyed. We must cut them from our numbers.

    Actually, I don't mind the allergic. It's the freakin' vegans I can not trust. They're up to something. I know it.

  7. I know food allergies are a great problem, but since when did it become the problem of the caterer?? Some people really have a set of brass ones to expect you to do something about the at home before you come and eat what you can at the dinner.
    My sister in law works in an elementary school cafeteria and has to jump thru all kinds of hoops dealing with the kids allergies. Have half a brain, if your child has allergies PACK HIS LUNCH.


  8. I would SOOOOOOO be wearing a fish=DEATH t-shirt!!!!!! And carrying a fish=DEATH banner!!!! And passing out fish=DEATH coozies! You could have the valet apply fish=DEATH bumper stickers to every car!
    This would be SOOOOOOOOOOOOO fun!!!

  9. If you could possibly sneak that Packard Predictor under your pants suit coat and send it to me, I'd be mighty appreciative. It would sure look nice in our little Packard museum. :-)
    Have a great time at the banquet!

  10. Oh, and also.... I suggest a tiny skull and crossbones perched upon each of the Stuffed Mushrooms of Death!

  11. Well, I enjoyed reading your comments tonight. lol. I had a dinner once and invited someone whose husband asked us to keep the containers that we used to cook from so that she could see the ingredients listing and when we also came to her house her husband asked if when we brought the dessert could we make a certain kind made with a certain brand and if not to please bring the box with list of ingredients. I was put out at first b/c I'd never been asked to do such a thing. But..once I got to know her I learned she could die and almost did. So her husband who loves her dearly was trying to make her life normal. It is a lot of trouble though to try and please everyone. This couple was not like this with every event. I think they just thought we would work with them and we did. It would be horrible to have to worry about such. I guess I'd have to take my own food though b/c I wouldn't want to have to go to the trouble to get with the caterer or cooks or to bother anyone. I am an event coordinator too at work. I'm hoping you all have a wonderful evening. Oh and I finally finished my book, The Five People You Meet in Heaven. It really makes you think about how you effect people's life. Neat book.
    Speaking of books, I've written one here.

  12. Funny entry. If I was that allergic I would probably stay home. Good advice at the end of your post.

  13. Oh my........people that are allergic no what to stay away from.......they shouldn't make it someone else's problem! I'm allergic to certain shell fish.....I just don't put it in my mouth.......Simple as that.

    Hugs, Rose

  14. I meant to say Know not

  15. I would pay to see Beth's reaction to fish ladies. Oh that's right it's not fish..umm ugh..

    Hope you had an amazing time tonight hon and you and Ken enjoyed yourself! I think because of you, everything will have gone off without a hitch. (Hugs)Indigo

  16. You should have just taken a 'benadryl' pen with you and stuck her with it as soon as she started nearing the crab stuffed mushrooms!! LOL!!! SHE should carry one (and probably DOES if her allergies are that bad) and stay away from her 'danger' foods... she has to take SOME responsibility!! But they ABSOLUTELY SHOULD NOT have called the caterer themselves... that was just RUDE!!! Don't invite them to the next event!! LOL!!

  17. Hope you had a good time at thwe Studebaker event. My dad owns a couple of old Studebaker farm trucks and is quite afan. LOL about the flag pin.


  18. The food sounds good to me! I'm not allergic to any food, and like most of everyhting on this planet. So, I would say that! I hope you two have a wonderful evening tonight.

    Best Wishes,

  19. I totally agree with you about using the bcc option when forwarding emails. I use it all the time but I know many of my friends don't. In fact, I'm not sure some of them know what it means.

    Good luck with the fish couple, hope they don't make you crabby if you meet them. ;O)

    B. x

  20. I'll be looking forward to reading your next post to see just how this even turned out. I DO want to hear your reaction after you met these people in person.

  21. I hope that FISH LADY is still alive and not dead from something at the dinner. I would wonder why that chick can not just stay home? I mean, REALLY. GEE.
    I hope it went wonderfully and you all had a lovely time and took pics.
    I received the same emails you did. I just deleted all of it and never clicked any link.

  22. I liked what Possum S. Hemmingway (Ernie's sister??) said, especially about telling the caterer she loves red snapper!

    You won't talk about food allergies, but I will. Sometimes I look at the mishapen grotesqueries bailin' 'I am allergic to dairy' or claiming 'I can't eat red meat' and roll my freakin' eyes. It is amazing that a species that has survived so much can be undone by a Nestle Quick!

    Okay, there are some legitimate allergies, but can we agree that they are also few and far between? I mean, 'lactose intorlerance'? Give me a break!! You weren't lactose intolerant when you scarfed the last bowl of Cookie Crisp! Now, there isn't any milk for my eggs and French Toast!!

    How special did this guy's wife think she is? 'Food Allergies'. Make me think of the diplomat in Lethal Weapon 2, crying 'diplomatic immunity' before Riggs shot him!

  23. I hope you had a great time!! Linda

  24. I first learned to drive when I was 14. My dad bought a 1950 Studebaker Champion from his cousin. That car was so cool! Of course, it was like 20+ yrs old, too, but still, it was awesome! We always knew where it was in a crowded parking lot because it was so tall! LOL
    Heater on the floor, push-button start. Too cool :)

    Phyllis Sherer in SC

  25. Great PSA!

    I'm just making my rounds, catching up on what I've missed. Thank goodness I was not a guest at the dinner; I would have no doubt chortled loudly every time I thought about the certain death mushrooms. I don't have any food allergies, but I am a diabetic. I figure that it's my responsibility to select what to eat whether at a restaurant, a friend's home, or buffet dinner. If I'm in doubt as to how something was prepared or ingredients, I skip it and choose something else.

  26. From now on whenever I go to a catered event I'm going to make sure the even coordinator knows that for me "eggs = DEATH". Yes, I'd say that was stretching it a bit to expect the entire buffet to cater to her needs. I worked with a lady once who had *all kinds* of food allergies, but she would never have behaved like that. (Your lady wasn't named Caroline, was she?)


I'm funny how, I mean funny like I'm a clown, I amuse you?