Are there strawberries in that?

Strawberries.

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They are everywhere this time of year. Dotting the roadsides fruit stands. Pyramids of packages at the grocery stores. Shortcakes on every menu. Recipe pins galore on Pinterest linking you to every gardening and cooking site around.

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Strawberries they tell you summer has arrived. 
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Well that’s what they tell you. They tell me don’t eat that salad and better carry a chocolate bar cause you won’t be having the pie for dessert. I am allergic to strawberries. 

It wasn’t always so. I ate them all the time as a kid. We’d journey every summer to a pick your own farm to stock up for the year. Mom would freeze bags and bags of the bright red jewels. 
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But in high school there was one episode that turned the tide for me. I threw up violently. In public. Couldn’t stop. And if that wasn’t embarrassment enough they had to wheel me out to my friends car. Mind you all before the advent or at least the readied availability of cell phones. Upon arrival my face was ashen, my body covered in large red whelps and mom in near panic mode. A neighbor, a nurse, came over and ordered Benedryl stat! I’d had an allergic reaction. And since a large bowl of strawberries was all I’d had she said that it was a good bet I was allergic. But I’ve eaten them my whole life. Sometimes these things just develop.

So great I just don’t eat strawberries. Not really a problem. There are lots of other options. Raspberries and blueberries are great! I’ll gladly abstain from the king of berries to not have to have what happened that day happen again. 
Fast forward 20 years. An innocence plate of quick breads leftover from the weekend’s service. Just what I needed to bolster my rushed no time for breakfast morning. Unfortunately what looked like maybe a plum spice bread was really strawberry bread in disguise.  In my defense, it wasn’t red or pink in anyway and neither smelled or tasted like strawberries.  I had many people test this for me.  I’ve been very careful for these past few years to avoid them.  There was the thought that maybe I wouldn’t have a reaction.  Maybe that had just been a fluke all those years ago.  But a tingling tongue and tightening throat kind of made me nervous.

An ER trip, steroid shot and antihistamine latter and I’m back at the office.  At least Ben doesn’t roll his eyes anymore when I grill our hosts or waiters.

“Are there strawberries in that?”

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