You’d think that not being able to eat certain foods wouldn’t really be that embarrassing, but sometimes it is.
The religious order
Image: St Valerius in Weyarn. (Paul Koudounaris/BNPS).
On one particularly memorable evening I was photographing a formal dinner for a religious order (don’t ask me how I got roped into that one).
I wasn’t eating because I didn’t want to spend the rest of the evening at home burning through the toilet paper, and I wasn’t sure that the Hamilton RSA could manage gluten-free, dairy-free, low fodmaps, with a side order of ‘don’t you dare bring peanuts anywhere near me’.
The religious folk were beautifully turned out in slinky ball dresses, furs and red capes.
I was taking a break, trying to blend in at one of the tables, when I heard that question all glutards love to field: “Why aren’t you eating?”.
me: “Um, I’ve got food allergies.”
well meaning person: “Ooh, what can’t you eat?”
me: <long explanation ensues, me attempting to speak quietly>
Finally regular conversation commences until someone else asks the same question. By this time, several of the aging glamazons had tuned into the discussion. The head poobah (I forget what his real title was, but he was a former newsreader who I hadn’t seen on TV since childhood), overheard the exchange and delicately tapped his fork against his glass to call order.
grand poobah: “Attention everybody. I’d just like to let you know that the reason this young lady isn’t eating is because she has food allergies.”
All that embarrassment, and noone even offered to heal me through a laying on of hands.