Food Challenge Round 2: Cindy vs. Olive Oil

You know how the American men’s swim team was supposed to win the 4×100 relay in the Olympics yesterday, and there was this huge upset and France won instead? And how Jordyn Wieber was slated to place in all-around but Aly Raisman beat her to it?

That’s how I feel about what happened today with olive oil.

I thought it was a sure thing. I’ve cooked exclusively with olive oil for years and I had been fine. How could I be allergic to it? This morning’s challenge — rye crackers baked with olive oil — was supposed to be more of a formality than anything else.

But, there are always upsets, and that’s what makes life — or the Olympics — interesting, right? It’s precisely because I cooked exclusively with olive oil that I can no longer have it. (Me, to my boss: “I od’ed on olive oil.” Boss: “Oh god.” Me: “Hey, at least it’s not heroin, that’s a win, right?”)

I noticed something was wrong about three bites into the rye cracker. My mouth just didn’t want any more. I figured it’s because rye crackers aren’t so delicious, and these were made really haphazardly in the middle of the night. I was determined not to be allergic to olive oil. So I kept plugging away at the cracker.

One day’s worth of olive oil lasted for eight nights back in the days of the Maccabees. One rye cracker’s worth of olive oil should last me 72 hours, in these days of the Maccabeats. (Yes, I know it’s a bad joke). Reverse Chanukah miracle, anyone?

Nothing was swelling, nothing was itching, the doctor was with another patient. I wanted to power through. “It’s in your head,” I thought. “You feel fine. Keep going. Chewing isn’t hard.” Except it felt so hard. My mouth just didn’t want to comply with my brain.

As I forced the cracker down, I started noticing that I couldn’t really read the book spines on the doctor’s shelf so well anymore. My vision was going and I was exhausted. Sitting was hard. Chewing was hard. Keeping my eyes open was hard.

The doctor returned as I started cracker two.

“You look happy,” he said half-sarcastically.

“I think I’m going to pass out.”

“Yeah, I think so, too. I think we call this one a “no.” This isn’t working.”


I still had cracker in my mouth.

“You might want to stop eating.”

“That’s a good idea. Can I get water?”

“I think you should.”

So I drank a lot of water, got complimented on my green pants, and then got too tired to stand.

“Was that enough or do you need a pill?”

“I want Benedryl.”

“Looks like we got a positive result.”

“Depends on your definition of positive.” I don’t know why I have to make Chandler-y jokes when I’m uncomfortable.

I took my Benedryl, sat for a bit, and the doctor determined that I was not going to go into anaphylactic shock. Just discomfort. So I was free to go. But not before we discussed next week’s malt challenge.

I asked him which to do: pretzels or cereal. He said cereal, and I said, “Really? Even though I can eat a few kinds of cereal as it is?” And he said, “What about beer? That’s how you should really test malt.”

So, one week from today, I will drink a beer at 7:30am. And I better not fail the challenge.

Excuse me — not fail — “have a positive outcome,” which is my doctor’s optimistic way of speaking. I’m a little too competitive for that. Plus, going to work high on Benedryl, with a trace of a cold that’s exacerbated by allergies (totally see why they didn’t let me try new foods when I had a cold as a child), and having half a voice, a runny noise, and only 85% coherency all day doesn’t feel like a positive outcome. Having a throat that swells every time the Benedryl runs out but not quite enough to warrant the steroids I so desperately want doesn’t feel like a positive outcome.

But I got answers, I guess. My constant reactions to food I cooked myself makes a ton more sense now. So when I feel better, I know I’ll think about this, and simply think, “yay.”

Food Challenge Tally

Cindy – 1

Allergens – 1

Up next: beer. Any suggestions for which beer I try? I’m debating between Stella and Corona. It’ll be the only beer I can drink until I challenge more, so let’s say a year or so…

5 responses

  1. what a bittersweet entry, so sad for the positive result, but so happy for the next test beeeeeer. Your so going to win…I have faith

  2. Pingback: Food Challenge Round 27: Cindy vs. Olive Oil — The Rematch | allergyepisodes

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