It’s early still, but I’m quite sure that at the end of 2012 I’ll be saying that one of the worst things about this year was that I had to break up with shrimp.
I’m not sure if it’s yet another horrible effect of aging, but I suddenly developed an allergy to my formerly favorite crustacean —- which is totally ridiculous considering I’ve been eating disturbingly large amounts of it all my life.
Anyway, the story of our devastating breakup all started when I met up with my sister Bambi in Las Vegas earlier this year.
NOTE: Before I get into that, there’s something I should explain. Bambi and I —- we’re eaters. Other sisters bond over other things. We bond over food. LOTS of food. When we’re together, we eat like starving BOYS. It’s gotten so that I have a sort of Pavlovian response thing going on, where I just see her - or hear her voice - and I get hungry.
So it should come as no surprise that when we saw each other in Vegas, there was one thing we absolutely had to do first…
It didn’t help that when we were there, the hubby found and befriended a Filipino waiter, who was so thrilled to meet us that he went out of his way to bombard us with a never-ending supply of stuff we liked (including things that weren’t even in the buffet).
In fact, he was so overwhelmingly accommodating that it made Bambi suspect that he might be the devil, and that after stuffing our stomachs he’d proceed to ask for our souls.
(He didn’t - but just in case, we politely declined his invitation to come back the next night and eat for free.)
Anyway, I was actually supposed to be on a diet, but hey, this was Vegas. And Bambi was around… so screw that. But I figured I could at least try to be good by just stuffing myself with seafood.
I had done this before - consume about 3 buckets worth of shrimp, that is - when at a buffet in Sydney, with no adverse effects. But then a funny thing happened this time. There we were, gabbing and laughing and chomping away, when the hubby suddenly asked…
I hadn’t even noticed. But now that he mentioned it, I was feeling kind of itchy. And as time passed, I got more itchy… and M & B got progressively panicky… until at some point, Bambi just blurted “We have to go!!!”
I was covered in HIVES, DAMMIT!!! HIVES!!!
Stupid American shellfish!!!
One antihistamine, one flabbergasted Facebook post and two hours later, I was no longer Quasimoda, but I was still bummed out that I was allergic to American shrimp. But I figured I could still eat shrimp when I got back home - what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas and all that - so I figured that was okay.
Umm… no, not really. A couple of months later I went to Boracay, and lo and behold… during a lovely lunch with my cousins, what did I see?
Chomp, chomp, chomp… A few minutes later I was starting to feel itchy but ignored it. “Probably a mosquito,” I thought. This was Philippine shrimp after all… harvest of the homeland and all that… so I couldn’t POSSIBLY be allergic.
But NOOOOOO. There I was, quite happily in denial, when I came upon my friend Marivi on the beach, and the first thing she said to me was….
HIVES, DAMMIT, HIVES!!!
I’M ALLERGIC TO PHILIPPINE SHRIMP TOO!!!
THE HORROR!!! HOW DID THIS HAPPEN??
Well, according to an article in the UK Daily Mail…
The charity Allergy UK says that, increasingly, middle-aged and older people are developing allergies for the first time.
‘No one truly understands what prompts allergies in later life,’ says Isobel Skypala, a specialist allergy dietician at London’s Royal Brompton Hospital.
‘It may be that stress is partly to blame, as this can send the immune system into overdrive. Hormonal fluctuations also have an effect on the severity of allergies, and food allergies do seem to be more common in women than men.
BAH! Apparently I am not alone in this miserable late-onset allergy experience. And I know misery is supposed to love company, but this does not comfort me in any way.
Sigh. The sadness.
So adios, my succulent friend. It’s been a blast, but I have to see other food now. Don’t worry - it’s not you…it’s me.