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Peanut Butter Mom

Last night was Open House at the kids’ school. It’s held every year on the Thursday before school starts, and its purpose is to let kids and their parents tour the school, meet their teachers, check out their classrooms, and then stuff their faces in the cafeteria, courtesy of food that everyone brings. The type of food you bring is determined by the grade your child is entering – for us that meant bringing a side (Ryan) and a dessert (Alyssa). For the side, I chose a boxed pasta salad, though I did make the extra effort to dress it up with powdered parmesan cheese and diced tomatoes. ;)

Then there were the cookies. Oh, the cookies. I have a feeling these cookies will haunt me for the rest of the school year. I grabbed a pre-mixed bag of peanut butter cookies, but again, made the extra effort to dress up the offering: in this case I added a teaspoon of vanilla extract, substituted some heavy cream for water, added a teaspoon of cornstarch, and stirred in a dollop of peanut butter. The resulting cookies were delicious, and a very good intimation of the homemade variety. “Voilà!”, I thought, “Yummy cookies without all of the muss and fuss of precise measurements and babysitting of warming milk and butter”.

Then we get to the school. And as we’re outside of the cafeteria, my sealed, “Peanut Butter Cookies” labeled Ziploc bag in hand, Alyssa pipes up about a classmate with a peanut butter allergy. Oops. So I hand over the bag to one of the PTO moms with a slightly sheepish smile, and say apologetically, “these are made with peanut butter, but they’re sealed and labeled!” Cue death glare from her and her co-PTO mom. Then there’s a flurry of activity – furtive whispers, the cookies are snatched from my hands and promptly disappear. I apologize, hand over the non-poison-laden pasta salad, and we’re on our way to the kids’ classrooms. As we pass by a teacher and a gaggle of PTO moms a few hallways over, I overhear, I shit you not, “one of the parents brought PEANUT BUTTER. What do we do?!”

This is what they did:

Whoops. After this mistake I don't think I'll be getting any PTO votes. Or playdate invites. Or eye contact.

I am certainly not trivializing food allergies or how severe they are capable of being. But if you’re going to invite the entire school to the school, and then ask parents to BRING FOOD, and not stipulate that all items must be free of peanut butter or other allergens, or purchased from a store with nutrition labels intact, then what do you expect? At least with my anthraxpeanut-laden cookies you knew what you were getting, courtesy of my handwritten label on the bag – that’s more than I can see for the various assortment of mystery cupcakes, cookies, brownies, and cake slices that had no labels of any type!

On the bright side, I doubt I’ll be asked to contribute any additional food dishes this year. ;)

Filed under Parenthood

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