My ex can tell you (and just might, given the opportunity) that the first television show I ever became hopelessly addicted to was Iron Chef. Not the sucktastic Amercian version that they now have on The Food Network with Bobby Flay (Bobby knows his barbecue, yes; no offense meant), but the original show dubbed over from Japanese to very! perky! English!! Chairman Kaga was regal and kooky, the secret theme ingredient was just as likely to be turnips as an aquarium churning full of stingrays, and the guest tasters always included some insipid Japanese actress who looked and sounded like truly atrocious anime sprung to Hello-Kitty-imbued life.
It was perfection.
The best part was always when the Chairman would introduce his iron chefs and they would rise up out of the floor, looking very still and serious. Iron Chef… Japanese! Iron Chef… Italian! Iron Chef… FRENCH! The French chef held a pear, you know. Because he was French. And the French are known for their… pears. Anyway.
Tomorrow morning I’m taking my baby to his own personal Kitchen Stadium, quite possibly to poison him.
Announcer: Today in Kitchen Stadium… a battle unlike any we’ve ever witnessed here before! *crowd oohs and aahs and claps* Our Challenger, Eater Allergist, is an accomplished eater in his own right. With the gazillions of dollars from his patients, he can pretty much afford anything he feels like stuffing in his mouth. But can he defeat one of the Iron Eaters? He must now select his worthy opponent from amongst them. Who will it be, Eater Allergist?
*sounds of the collective holding of breath from the audience*
Eater Allergist: I choose to battle… Iron Eater Pop-Tart!!
*The spotlight trains on a small boy with persistent cowlicks and dirty feet. He shields his eyes from the light while giggling.*
*The crowd applauds wildly.*
Announcer: Eater Allergist has elected to battle Iron Eater Pop-Tart! Iron Eater Pop-Tart is known for his staunch preference for preservatives and abhorrence of fresh produce. Don’t let his size fool you–he has been known to down three of four toaster pastries in a single sitting. Eater Allergist may have met his match.
Chairman Kaga: In my many years in Kitchen Stadium, blah blah blah blah…. *Kaga drones on while the audience falls asleep* Hey! Wake up! I’m about to unveil the secret ingredient! *audience cheers* Today, a match that shall prove exciting beyond any other we’ve ever had here! Even though I say that every week! Yes, today… behold… the PEANUT BATTLE!
*Dry ice smoke wafts across Kitchen Stadium as a table covered in cans of peanuts is raised into the arena. Gasps are heard throughout the audience. Eater Allergist nods sagely, in anticipation. Iron Eater Pop-Tart wipes his nose on his shirt.*
Chairman Kaga: The battle will last for 4 hours, or until one of you is overwhelmed by symptoms. Choose your plan of action carefully, and may the BEST. EATER. TRIUMPH!
*A small thud is heard from the balcony. Pay no attention! It’s just Iron Eater Pop-Tart’s mother having a small aneurysm. Carry on!*
Yep. Tomorrow morning is Monkey’s food challenge. PEANUT BATTLE! I may be a tad nervous. Picturing my child in a tall paper hat while we cooperate with his doctor to poison him alleviates my nerves only a little.
It probably didn’t help that I went to buy the peanuts for the test and was standing in the checkout line with a friend. She (my friend) tried to put the peanuts in with her purchases and wave away the money I offered. “Don’t worry about it,” she said.
“No,” I asserted. “If anyone is going to buy poison for my child, it’s going to be ME.” And I stuffed my money into her purse.
The cashier raised her eyebrows at me as she scanned the peanuts. “These may not be the healthiest snack in the world, but they’re hardly POISON,” she said. My friend and I exchanged glances.
“Actually, for my kid, they are poison. He’s allergic to peanuts.” She looked horrified. “I mean,” I rushed on, “he used to be. He might not be, anymore. So I’m taking him to the doctor for a food challenge, and I have to bring the peanuts for them to use.” The look I was treated to next sort of made me long for the horrified look. This next look was a look suitable for a serial killer… who smelled of limburger… and had worms dangling from both nostrils.
I thought she was going to leap across the conveyor belt and HIT me.
“That’s SICK,” she hissed. I felt myself taking a step backwards, closer to my friend.
“Uhhh… it’s a controlled test… it’s the only way to be sure he’s outgrown it…” and I trailed off, because I realized that I was justifying my parenting choices to a random cashier.
My friend was kind enough to come to my rescue. “Well I just think it’s weird they make you bring your own peanuts!” she huffed. “You’d think they could keep a can of Planters there, or something.”
“Oh,” said the cashier, distracted from hatred of me, momentarily, “I bet I know why they do that!” Oh, this should be good, I thought to myself. She didn’t disappoint. “I bet they want you to buy them because it depends on which brand you prefer because of preservatives and stuff!”
I’m pretty sure they heard the crickets chirping all the way back in sporting goods.
Please keep my little pop-tart eater in your prayers. I’d rather he not be allergic anymore, sure. But I’ll happily take getting through tomorrow morning without him being traumatized, even if he’s still allergic. He asked me tonight what happens if he still can’t have peanuts, and I told him, “Well then you’ll still be my very favorite Monkey in the whole wide world!” That was good enough for him. (“And YOU will still be my very favorite MAMA in the whole wide world!”) And it seemed a better moment-making response than explaining that he might go into anaphylactic shock while I commit hari-kari with a nearby tongue depressor out of sheer guilt.
But just to be clear: If he passes, I am totally bathing him in Jif tomorrow night.