Butter is Everywhere
I attribute 90% of my mysterious dairy babies to food cooked with butter in restaurants. It’s one of those little things you forget about until you’re cramped up, feeling ill and wondering why you bothered skipping the cheese plate if you were going to end up in this situation anyway.
When dining out, be sure to always ask what the food is cooked with. My typical script goes a little something like this, “Is ________ made with butter? I’m allergic to dairy, so it is possible to make it without? Oil is fine, just no butter.” To which the server sometimes replies, “It just has a little butter. Is that okay?” No. No, it is not.
Most restaurants here in New York are very accommodating, but every so often I find myself someplace that won’t substitute, or pre-makes a lot of items so the butter is mixed in already. In these cases I ask the server to advise me on which items are dairy-free.
Dishes I find most often prepared with butter include eggs (and most breakfast items), fish, vegetable sides, mashed potatoes, rice pilaf, and sauces, especially white ones.
Always ask, and don’t back down. I used to feel uncomfortable asking for special food preparation and substitutions, but like everything associated with this allergy, I got over it. The discomfort associated with being slipped a little butter is not worth saving face.
1 Always ask.
2 Stress that you have an allergy so you will be taken seriously.
3 Offer up a substitute suggestion like cooking with oil instead of butter.