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AIBU to expect teacher to modify recipies for allergic child?

(81 Posts)
alison222 Thu 08-Nov-12 17:27:53

I have been dealing with this recipe by recipe as they come along.
I sent an e-mail to the teacher asking if they were cooking this week givne they have not had their preparation lesson where they are given the recipe this week due to inset day and asking for an alternative to pancakes for DS who is anaphalactic to eggs.
I get a reply back " yes they are cooking pancakes. Recipe on website" - EGGS in it.
So what would you do in my position?

I have left a message telling him that as an alternative DS will make staffordshire oatcakes, but since they take several hours sitting with the yeast in them, he will make the mix at home and cook them in the 40 min lesson at school.

AIBU to think that it is not my job as a parent to find safe alternatives if he is the teacher and chooses the recipies?

HeathRobinson Thu 08-Nov-12 17:34:06

I think the teacher should be a bit more aware!

Here are some ideas for substituting eggs.

They may be suitable?

MamaMumra Thu 08-Nov-12 17:36:33

You'd think they would but DS's teachers sometimes forgot. I gave them some egg replacer and printed off some recipes. Now they tend not to forget so do persist.

NatashaBee Thu 08-Nov-12 17:38:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

EuroShagmore Thu 08-Nov-12 17:44:01

The teacher obviously didn't read the email properly!

TicketToHull Thu 08-Nov-12 17:46:45

DP is allergic to eggs so we just substitute each egg for a mashed, ripe banana. Works amazingly well for crepes and american style pancakes and doesn't need any fancy substitutes!

Teacher is definitely BU. How old is you son?

alison222 Thu 08-Nov-12 17:47:07

Have any of you ever tried making pancakes without eggs. I have and they have never been very successfuland need to be cooked ofr significantly longer.
Anyway I e-mailed and telephoned and can't get hold of the teacher.
The lesson is tomorrow, so I needed to make some kind of decision.
The children are expected to eat what they make, so I need to try to get DS to make something that is a) similar, b)suitable and if possible c) he may eat.

What makes me cross is that I contacted him at the beginning of term when DS started high school to explain, I had seen a list of all the recipies and flagged the ones that may be problematic.
So first lesson - boiled egg and soldiers,
Second lesson spicy eggs
Jammy biscuits with egg in the biscuit
I was told " parents may feel free to make substitutions for ingredients" - so tell me how do you make spicy eggs without the eggs? I suggested a solution to all of them except for this one and ( OK so he make ratteteuille instead of spicy eggsas it was all about knife skills), but I have no idea what they are supposed to be learning in the pancake lesson.


OH and DS is allergic to nuts.
They say in most recipies " you can have nuts as an optional extra".

He has already had the " how are you going to safeguard my child?" letter.

alison222 Thu 08-Nov-12 17:48:37

Ticket - I have never tried banana instead of an egg as DS and I don't like them smile he is 11

MrsSnow Thu 08-Nov-12 17:52:20

For the spicy eggs a lot of people use crumbled tofu in the recipes and it tastes like spicy scrambled eggs.

Don't give up.

TicketToHull Thu 08-Nov-12 17:55:18

Ah, fair enough! It is frustrating isn't it; you already have to put in much more energy into finding suitable foods and vetting restaurant menus etc and all the teacher has to do, which would make it that much easier, is just to let you know in advance and not choose foods that are entirely made of things that are poisonous for your child

TicketToHull Thu 08-Nov-12 17:58:25

Just had a look at our "allergy free" cookbook and the egg and nut free version of pancakes uses potato flour and xanthum gum as a substitute. If you think it'd be helpful, I could PM you the recipe.

JenaiMarrHePlaysGuitar Thu 08-Nov-12 18:05:34

It would be good practice for your son I suppose to come up with alternatives, rather than relying on others to do so, although it world be nice if the teacher could help (and therefore learn something herself).

But yes, if he's anaphylactic I'd have thought there'd be H&S concerns with him even being in the same kitchen as 29 egg-wielding children.

alison222 Thu 08-Nov-12 18:11:54

Ticket - that sounds good - please do - not that I have potato flour for tomorrow, ( but I do have xanthum gum as it is good for my DF who is coeliac) but I could have a go another time.

The teacher is a MAN jenai smile. Not that that should make any difference.

JenaiMarrHePlaysGuitar Thu 08-Nov-12 18:17:54

Haha, I did question my assumption as I typed.

I should submit myself to @everydaysexism grin

ickywickyyicky Thu 08-Nov-12 18:20:58

I have always taken it as my job - in terms of lessons / school treats, and even <shock horror> in providing alternatives for lunch when the school meals aren't safe for my child rather than expecting the canteen to do it. But then that is partly because I based on unfortunate experience don't trust all teachers to have their brains fully engaged. they fed my child yoghurt FFS because she was only allergic to cows milk???? poor kid thought it was some kind of soya yoghurt and trusted the teacher who told her to eat up

Interesting that people don't think you are being unreasonable - so maybe I'll be a bit more pushy grin

GrimmaTheNome Thu 08-Nov-12 18:32:14


When DD was doing food tech, at the outset they had to send back a sheet listing any allergies - did your DSs school not do this?
She has classmates with allergies, including egg - the girl uses egg substitute (they've not had to make pancakes though)

The reply to your email was most unsatisfactory.

Staffs oatcakes sounds like good substitute but I agree that the schools ought to have alternative suggestions where allergens are concerned. They always have a veggie alternative for meat which wouldn't actually make a vegetarian ill.

GrimmaTheNome Thu 08-Nov-12 18:35:18

icky - I reckon you should be more pushy - helpfully so, like MamaMuru - because while you may be able to provide alternatives, there will be other children with allergies whose parents aren't so clued up.

mumof4sons Thu 08-Nov-12 18:49:39


I don't know how many students are in your DS's year at school, but the school I work in has 270 students in each year (y7-y11). A teacher unfortunately could not possibly keep up with the individual allergies of each student. Our school takes the line that a Yr 7 student needs to start taking some responsibility for his/her allergies and should be able to adapt to his or her requirements as needed.

WofflingOn Thu 08-Nov-12 19:18:09

Wow, really mum? My DS was at a school with over 300 in each year group, and they would have bothered to make provision for a specific, severe allergy. Including close email contact. Why is it so complicated?
If I had an answer as bolshie as yours from the teacher running the class, I'd have withdrawn him from the sessions and HE'd him for cooking.

samithesausage Thu 08-Nov-12 19:34:02

Try vegan pancakes....
150g plain flour
2 tablespoons caster sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
300ml water
1 tablespoon oil

Then mix into a batter. You can use self raising flour. It will be more like the recipe that the other kids are using, but slightly different in the fact it uses veg oil instead of egg.

It drives me a bit batty that a food tech teacher with access to google could not come up with an alternative!

Climbingpenguin Thu 08-Nov-12 19:34:22

I've made some great vegan pancakes with really simple ingredients, I'll see if I can find it

greenbananas Thu 08-Nov-12 19:37:57

mumof4sons while I agree completely that children in Year 7 should be learning to take some responsibility for dealing with their allergies, my son would not be doing cookery lessons with a teacher who took the attitude you describe! I will be teaching him to cook at home, as cooking safe food is a very important skill for young people with allergies. I certainly will not be exposing him to classrooms full of possibly unruly children and ingredients that might kill him - not when the teacher is refusing to make any adjustments at all and not taking the situation seriously!

If children are expected to eat what they make, what steps are being taken to ensure there is no cross-contamination? What happens if the OP's DS says "I'm not eating my pancake because X stuck his fingers in my mixture while it was still cooking"? What happens if X sticks his fingers in the mixture when the DS's back is turned for half a second?

Did you read the list of recipes the OP gave earlier? The school are not really making much effort to be inclusive, are they? Do they take this attitude to all special needs that their students have?

alison222 not all teachers are able to find alternatives for all recipes - but they should certainly be working with parents to ensure the safety of children. It is often going to end up being the responsibility of parents who have children with allergies to find safe substitutes. However, it sounds like that cookery teacher is being ridiculously blase about the situation, and making absolutely no effort to meet you halfway. I think in your situation I would be talking to the headteacher, possibly even to the Local Authority and Ofsted, because a refusal to make any adjustments at all could be regarded as a safeguarding issue, and also as discriminatory.

greenbananas Thu 08-Nov-12 19:39:22

samithesausage we use that recipe at home with DS and it is really rather lovely. His (non-allergic) cousins always want to make it when they come to stay.

SantasStrapOn Thu 08-Nov-12 19:45:54

I'm surprised too. Although we had many, many issues with Food Tech see previous whinging threads aplenty, allergies was not a problem, and the school actually changed the lunchtime menus for DD2 and her classmate, who happened to have the same allergies.

GrimmaTheNome Thu 08-Nov-12 19:47:02

I get the impression that a lot of food tech recipes are from some central source, not actually created by each individual FT teacher. If that's the case, then it surely should be possible for there to be a database of recipes suitable for allergic children which involve similar techniques/timings. The MN Find Recipes lets you filter various allergens, its not rocket science.

If its left to the child to find an alternative, they might find something safe but not necessarily learning what they're supposed to.

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