…at a potluck party with academics
(note: the people I am quoting here…well, I actually like them. Just this is not the first time I’ve been through this particular conversation.)
me: oh…those look good (refering to chocolate brownies). Er…do they have nuts in them?
academic 1: no
me: (suspicious) what’s in them?
academic 1: peanut butter
me: uh…you mean crushed nuts?
academic 1: they’re not nuts, they’re legumes.
me: okay, so what I am actually asking is ‘will I be allergic to them?’
academic 1: I have no idea what you’re allergic to.
This is just one example of an irritating conversation when one has a nut allergy. I know that peanuts are legumes. I also know plenty of people who, being allergic to nuts/peanuts, don’t give a shit that they’re called legumes…they avoid them just the same. It is not uncommon to be allergic to both. I think it’s clear when asking ‘does the ____ have nuts in it’ that I’m not asking for a trivia fact or to start a conversation on seeds/nuts/legumes. So, instead of showing off your knowledge of food classifications, just take the wider spectrum of what has been asked and answer the question. Use your pragmatic semantic knowledge.
me: yes, I know that peanuts are legumes, but I’m fairly sure I’m allergic to them as well as some nuts.
academic 2: but how do you know unless you’ve tried them? You don’t actually know.
Does academic 2 know what it’s like to suffer through an allergic reaction? I’m guessing no, because it really really sucks. And I’m not the type of person-with-a-nut-allergy that actually dies. Or goes to the hospital. And it still really really really sucks. So, no…I guess I’ve not sat down in front of a range of nuts (including the legume peanut) and recorded my reaction once I’ve eaten one at a time. It is just easier for me to avoid all nuts. I’ve never eaten them (on purpose)…and I probably will never eat them (on purpose). Leave me alone..it’s my choice. Just tell me, when I ask you, if there’s nuts or peanuts in an item of food that I’m hovering over my face.
Oh, and for the record, I am almost certain I’ve had a reaction to peanut oil.