I can bake delicious cakes, muffins and breakfast treats that are vegan. Not because we live a vegan lifestyle, we are happy carnivores, but because our youngest son has food allergies to egg and milk (among many other.) For three years I have been making everything baked from scratch, and have learned some tricks for creating delicious replacements for all our favorites. And even though I’ve become skilled in the art and science of vegan baking, I haven’t grown used to the absence of eggs in our recipes. While everything tastes great, eggs provide a fluffy quality to baked goods that is hard to replace. I have learned that using my stand mixer at a very high speed introduces enough air into the batter to help cakes rise a little bit. But even then, the baked goods are very dense.
For the first time in years, now I am dreaming of baked goods made with real eggs! That is because my son has been cleared for a food challenge using baked eggs! It is Thursday, and I am both thrilled and nervous. My son is almost 4, and should he tolerate the baked eggs at the food challenge, his birthday cake will be fluffy in June! I’m trying not to get too excited about the implications, it is very possible that he won’t tolerate the egg and we will have to continue to avoid them. My real goal is that he comes out of the food challenge with a good attitude, either way, and isn’t discouraged about his allergies any more than he already is.
My son has requested cupcakes for the food challenge, and the allergist suggested bringing in icing and decorations to help pass the time while there. I’m torn about making the flavor he loves most, in case the challenge isn’t successful, I don’t want a negative association with chocolate cupcakes, or to have leftovers around that he would long to eat but couldn’t.
While I am worried about the emotional impact of the food challenge, I am not concerned about his safety. Our allergist at John’s Hopkins University is a leading researcher on food allergies, and even oversees treatment studies to desensitize kids with severe food allergies. Two of our nephews are also patients there, and one has completed the milk treatment study and is now enjoying all things milky, especially I am told, the Dorrito Tacos at Taco Bell! The other nephew is in the egg treatment study. And another friend of the family has a daughter who was anaphylactic to milk and is now cleared to eat anything with milk that she wants. This research is what makes Hopkins so attractive to me. I have said from diagnosis that if our son doesn’t outgrow these allergies on his own, we’ll try to get him accepted into the treatment studies.
In preparation for the food challenge, we have stopped his daily allergy medication that he uses to keep seasonal allergies at bay. The timing is unfortunate as pollen counts are very high all week, but this is necessary for the food challenge, so any reactions to the food won’t be masked by the antihistamines. And we are planning for many hours of boredom, in the hopes that the food challenge goes well and we will have to occupy ourselves with books and games and activities.
Please think good thoughts on Thursday, and know that I will certainly post the outcome as soon as I can. And if all goes well, I think we’ll have a celebration next weekend, and everyone is invited for cake, made with real eggs!