author of Feeding Eden

Tomato Panzanella Salad

We made this salad (courtesy of last night. Leftovers would be perfect for anyone to eat on "Meatless Monday." My children are crazy for croutons so learning to cook them is a useful skill for many recipes. And cherry tomatoes are sweet right now, as opposed to long awaited summer tomatoes. Since we don't need to have gluten-free dishes for my family, we used a regular baguette. But this recipe gives details for a Go-To gluten-free variety.

Oral Immunotherapy On Asthma Allergies Children: “Not Ready for Prime Time”

This is an important day in the World Of Food Allergies: Dr. Hugh Sampson, a foremost authority on food allergies, has written a  seminal article of Oral Immunotherapy treatment on Asthma Allergies Children. I encourage all parents of allergic children to read it HERE.

Whether or not you are considering this treatment, this is the first time such an informed summary has been published to date.

What’s in a Name?

Many readers have asked me how Eden feels about having, not just a book written about his food allergies, but also a book title with his name. I can sum my answer up into a single sentence but I prefer this story:

Years ago, there was a fruit vendor on the corner of Lexington Avenue who used to write my kid's names. He had a routine - As I peered at his grapes he would beckon to the children. He kept a plastic water jug that held two inches of flotsam filled liquid by the side of this stand. He would pour some out of the jaggedly neck, reach into his bulging black fanny pack and thrust a handful of napkins at them with orders, "Dry now! Then you have...fruit!"

But his routine didn't stop at the hygienic maneuvers. After the initial baptism, he would hand them cherries and build his monologue around names:

"What's your name?" He would ask each and every time.

My daughter would whisper, "Dayna" into her collar while her younger brother would assert, "Eden!"

Then he would respond, "Very good! A very, very good name!" as they beamed in agreement.

"Do you want to know my name?" he would invite, ignoring the onlookers who were busily snapping off bananas and holding out their wallets.

"I'll tell you!" he would offer, arms out and palms skyward. The crowd would build and my children would stand mute while he peeled open his fingers one by one.

"Bill Gates!" The first finger points up.

“Bill Clinton!” Finger number two.

“These are easy names to remember yes? Great names. Easy names. My name is great and easy too! My name is Bill! Is not my Turkish name, but is my American name you see? Bill The American!”

Grinning near maniacally now, Bill would glance at his backlog of customers, most wearing the half smile reserved for jumpy chihuahuas. Yet they all waited. Finally, the Name Appreciation routine culminates when he takes his ballpoint pen and scrawls “Dayna and Eden” on the Styrofoam padding of his stand – a memorial of children names and a testimony to his values.

Patriotism aside for a moment, names are important. Bill made me think that when you are proud of yourself then you are proud of your name.

bacon and corn griddle cakes

I found these pancakes on (just click on that link) While they have a standard pancake base which includes egg and milk the photo alone has empowered me to believe that I can begin with our milk free base and go from there. From there recipe girl adds cayenne, corn, cheese, scallion and of course bacon. So again, I'm going to break my usual rule of "don't try to re-create a recipe that wasn't meant to be allergy safe" for "Why the heck not if it looks this good?"  So no cheese (I suggest ground flax or chia seeds) no to the milk (again coconut milk did just fine) but the rest of those savory additions look fantastic. And my kids love bacon for dinner which is what these pancakes look like they are meant for.

Young (even very young) Writing Communities

When I was a teenager I wrote some poetry and a profusion of expansive and often illustrated notes to my friends. Outside of school assignment, other kinds of writing seemed a bother and a risky use of time. Who in the world would actually read them? So what a thing that my own children are growing up in world where anyone, even very young writers, can publish their thoughts on the Internet. Even as a teacher, I left the classroom before computers were being used widely and digital media had become its own whirling force.

There are some recent sites where young people are publishing, and more importantly, workshopping their writing. Three examples:

Figment - "Figment is a community where you can share your writing, connect with other readers, and discover new stories and authors. Whatever you're into, from sonnets to mysteries, from sci-fi stories to cell phone novels, you can find it all here." I've been subscribed to Figment for awhile now and it's constantly progressing. They feature contests and opportunities on publications and always have edgy teen content.

The Young Writers Society - "YWS is an online community where young writers can share their literary works with one another. Others then read the work and provide constructive criticism on the poem or story; in effect a very large writing workshop managed by one's own peers."  One of the neater aspects of this site seems to be that the writers are posting segments of their writing, comfortably exposing early drafts and opening themselves up to peer review. That kind of risk taking is crucial to good writing and I would hope it translates back into their classrooms.

Storybird - This is an unusual and kind of fantastic site that uses art work to inspire children to imagine their story. "Storybird reverses the process of visual storytelling by starting with the image and "unlocking" the story inside. Choose an artist or a theme, get inspired, and start writing." I think you have to use Storybird to "get it" but the best part is that the youngest writers can create simple picture book-style stories and workshop them among the community.

All these sites offer a forum for young people to safely expose their ideas, hone their writing skills and build a portfolio outside or inside their school communities.

Feeding Eden and Eleni’s Giveaway!

Eleni's has teamed up with renowned allergy and parenting writer Susan Weissman to offer an exclusive contest for our Facebook fans! Snap a pic of your child enjoying any Eleni's product, post it to our Facebook wall, and enter to win a 100% nut-free "Color Your Own" gift box AND a copy of Weissman's new book, Feeding Eden!

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Here's how to enter:

  1. Like Eleni’s on Facebook
  2. Post a photo of your child enjoying any of Eleni's nut-free cookies or cupcakes on our Facebook fan page
  3. Receive $5 off your next order on

If your photo is one of the top 3 staff favorites, you will receive a hardcover copy of Feeding Eden and a 16-cookie "Color Your Own" safari party gift box!


Review: The NEW Nut Free Mom: A Crash Course in Caring for your Allergic Child

All my readers should be aware of a new resource: The NEW Nut Free Mom: A Crash Course in Caring for your Allergic Child

I'm citing the product description below, but I must add that Jenny Kales, the author, is about as savvy about the challenges of  nut allergies as anyone I can think of. Sometimes people write handbooks because they can. Better to read advice from an author who should write the book and really and truly lives it day to day. That is this book. It's succinct, direct and never preachy. Allergy parents will get exactly what they need so they can move on, be safe and enjoy life. That's our goal after all.

(Parents - This is an e-book so download it today and you will have it in time for the spring holidays!)

Product Description

Trying to cope with raising a nut-allergic child? Here comes the Nut-Free Mom to the rescue. This is the one book that gives a "crash course" on what you need to know – from a mom who’s “been there”.The book offers heart, humor and hard-won experience to help caregivers cope with nut-free living. Learn how to handle play dates, grocery shopping, meal-planning, dining out, family gatherings, and many more practical, real-life situations. Written in a lively format, the book includes scores of tips that’ll boost your—and your child’s—confidence.As a professional writer for nearly twenty years and as a parent currently raising a child with life-threatening nut allergies, Kales is uniquely qualified to author The NEW Nut-Free Mom. Kales has advised thousands of parents, grandparents, teachers and caregivers from all over the world via her award-winning blog “The Nut-Free Mom”.This is the book that Kales “wishes she had” when her daughter was first diagnosed with a life-threatening nut-allergy. For anyone wishing to raise a healthy, well-adjusted child with nut or other food allergies, this book will be an indispensible guide.

Vacationing with Food Restrictions

Vacationing with any kind of food restriction is always tricky. And by tricky I mean, at times, scary. Before my family leaves on our annual spring vacation, I'm leaving my wisdom gained after 8 years of managing Eden's allergies:

How to Take a Spring Break Vacation or "Staycation" with Food Allergies

When my son Eden was first diagnosed with multiple and life threatening food allergies I was overwhelmed and assumed I wouldn't be leaving my Tri-State New York habitat for years to come. How to fly with a peanut allergy? How to eat in restaurants with if Eden can't eat butter or eggs? But I soon realized that embracing family travel and new experiences is in fact an essential when managing a chronic health condition. All families benefit from breaks in their routines. Families like mine, with special dietary needs, get especially tired of being tied to their kitchens. While the following tips are by no means exhaustive, start with these basic measures wherever you plan your spring break.

When travelling by plane:

Call Ahead: Before booking your flight, read the airline's allergy policy. Many airlines post their policy on their website. Then communicate these issues:

I.D. Your Food Allergy - When booking your flight, notify the reservation agent about the food allergy(s) and ask if your information can be forwarded to other personnel such as the gate agent, catering/food service, and flight crew. You can reconfirm with the ticket agent, and again with the flight attendants when you arrive.

Read the rest on Psychology Today...



NYC Rainbow Italian Ice

At some point during our unusually warm spring here in NYC an Italian Ice Vendor showed up in front of my children's school. The maelstrom that followed was incredible but more incredible was the fact that my son Eden could take part in the clamor. Italian Ices are generally safe for him, since they are loaded with sugar and color but free of his protein allergens. Nothing better on a hot day. Also - loved the irony of the steaming cup of coffee on the paper cup.


I'm so grateful for all the support my book Feeding Eden received last week. Yet I'm going to show some author-ly restraint and show just two samples:

Feeding Eden is written in an easy-to-read style, and you really feel you get to know Susan and her family.  I think that it would be helpful to read this book if you are just starting down the food-allergy road.  It can feel really lonely when you are confronting multiple health challenges and the unique social stresses that food allergies introduce into a family.  This book might just make you feel a little less alone in your journey.  That's a good thing." Read full review at The Welcoming Kitchen...

"Feeding Eden's harrowing portrayal of the agony and terror of food allergies and other lethal autoimmune conditions is made fuller by the author's equally compelling telling of the central parental conflict that binds her to her poor son's suffering. Susan Weissman's role as a parent is complicated to a degree few of us could imagine by the food triggers of Eden's illnesses - intensifying the usual parental food and nutritional concerns to a constant, unyielding life-or-death struggle of hygiene, awareness, logistics, circumstances and madding mystery. Eden's condition results in a physical and mental journey that few would navigate and endure with the tireless dedication and resolve Weissman demonstrates in her richly detailed and deeply researched book. Weissman writes with an endearing and candid narrative voice that makes this timely and timeless story an excellent read as well as a thought-provoking meditation on food, health, Western and Eastern medicine, marriage, parenting and, ultimately, the power of love to triumph over fear and despair. -- Jon Reiner, James Beard Foundation Award-winning author of The Man Who Couldn't Eat"