Scary Food Allergy Experience
Have you ever had a severe allergic reaction to eating food? After moving here to Hawaii we went to an all-you-an-eat seafood smorgasbord. My husband was raised in the Pacific, and he thought he had gone to heaven. I was raised in the mainland and raised eating mostly on beef and potatoes. I was not nearly as excited as my husband about the array of seafood.
It was an adventure in taste for me. I had eaten tuna fish, fish sticks and occasional clam chowder during my youth, but that was about it. I had a couple of food allergies when I was young, particularly strawberries and peanuts, but had since grown out of those food allergies.
So, was I up to the challenge of a seafood all you can eat? With the spread of sushi, mussels, lobster, octopus, jellyfish and other oceanic delights before me, I tried to look for something familiar, but could find nothing. My husband wasted no time in filling his plate with a variety of delicacies.
Finally I spotted some shrimp and decided that is where I would start. They had shrimp dipped in coconut and fried, garlic shrimp in butter, and a variety of shrimp salads. That was a taste fest for sure. Back for another plate, I saw people pass by with huge crabs and they looked like giant spiders to me. When I saw how they cracked the legs to get the meat out, I decided I would have to try something less intimidating. And then there were the eyes of the lobsters staring at me. Yikes!
I then saw some pink salmon in coconut milk. No eyes, no legs, looked safe. Yum, that also was excellent. I should probably stop there, but of course my husband was trying to tempt me with some of his favorite dishes. So I took a bite of raw fish that had been marinated in lime juice and mixed with tomatoes and onions. Not bad, although I wasn't too keen on the slimy texture.
My husband offered me something that tasted like hot dogs only crunchier. I asked what it was and he told me it was octopus. Definitely not my favorite. I did like the seaweed though. And caviar, I couldn't see what all the hype was about. It was just fish eggs.
Somewhere along the line, as I was being so brave and adventurous, I must have eaten something that my body thought was trying to attack me. I started itching on my face and then my arms, legs and tummy. I thought it would pass, but it just continued to get worse until I was quite alarmed. My throat and tongue started to swell. Welts started to develop on my limbs and trunk. I definitely had a food allergy, but not sure what it was from.
My husband noticed my discomfort, and although he hated to leave his royal feast, he realized he better get me some help or I might die in the seafood restaurant. Straight to the ER we went and they gave me a shot of adrenalin. It took a while, but the hives and swelling eventually subsided.
Since then, I have been to China and have eaten shark fin soup as well as sea cucumbers without incident. I have grown to love many of the sea foods that had originally scared me away, but I have as yet to find what it was that caused the strong allergic food reaction I had that fateful day. I was told that it may not have been what I ate, but what that particular sea animal had eaten that I was allergic to.
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