Tamar Warga’s first experience with a food allergy came when her 15-month-old son was eating scrambled eggs. He began rubbing his eyes and breaking out in a rash. When she called the pediatrician, he suggested Benadryl and advised her to look for signs of difficulty breathing. That was when she knew it was serious.
Her son’s list of food allergies grew over the next few years to include tree nuts, peanuts, melon, pineapple and kiwi. He eventually grew out of most of those allergies around the time he turned three years old. Unfortunately, his allergies were just a small indication of the challenges his twin brothers would face.
The twins suffered from the time they were born, reacting to allergens in Warga’s breast milk. Over time, they developed allergies to eggs, tree nuts, peanuts, soy, dairy, and all grains. Cross contamination and skin contact would bring a reaction. Warga eventually learned to work with their diet limitations and has written the cookbook A Taste of Sweetness for Rosh Hashana cooking.
Children inspired the Rosh Hashanah cookbook
Warga points out that Rosh Hashanah is the perfect holiday for people with food sensitivities and allergies because all of the Rosh Hashanah symbolic foods – with the exception of fish – are allergy friendly. Pomegranate, dates, apple, squash, beets, leeks, carrots and cabbage are tolerated by most food allergy sufferers.
The High Holidays are a great time to experiment with allergen free dishes
Warga's cookbook includes recipes for Pomegranate Mousse Pie, Pumpkin Mussins and Mushroom Leek Souffle. All of her recipes are dairy and nut free with most being egg, fish and gluten free as well. The creative recipes in her book show that this is a holiday which can be celebrated fully by everyone. Allergies can be challenging, but they need prevent you from participating fully in the High Holidays.