I am mildly allergic to cats. I'm fine if I don't touch them, and I only start sneezing after a few hours. That is all good with me since I am not a cat person. I don't have to suppress any desires to cuddle with cats. I'm quite happy to ignore them. I feel bad for those people with major allergies. It must truly suck. My girlfriend Linda gets really bad eczema. Last summer it got so bad that her eyelids crusted over from it. Her Naturopath has concluded that it must be from a food allergy and therefore has striped her diet of all things tasty. To me that seems a fate worst than crusty eyes.

For all those burdened with a no gluten, sugar, beef, pork, eggs, and dairy diet, Asian food may be for you. I had a dinner party that included Linda and her family. I didn't want her to have to eat a separate meal and feel like a freak. Most suitable recipes tended to be Asian, so Asian it was. I made fresh mango, chicken, and bean sprout rolls with peanut sauce, sweet and spicy salad, and pho (Vietnamese soup). I did add beef to everyone's pho but left Linda's vegetarian. It was a delicious meal and good times for all. But best of all was that Linda woke up the next day clear skinned and reaction free.

Below is the beef pho recipe. The vegetarian version is optional. This is a tasty soup for all including those without allergies.

Beef Pho

4 ounces dried rice noodles
8 cups beef stock (vegetable stock can be substituted)
1 onion finely chopped
4 tbsp hoisin sauce (recipe below)
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 tsp finely grated fresh ginger
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp five spice powder
2 cups bean sprouts
2 scallion trimmed and thinly sliced
10 ounces thinly sliced lean beef (omit if doing veg version)
handful of cilantro
1 block tofu cut into cubes and marinated (recipe below)

Hoisin sauce

4 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp peanut butter
1 tbsp honey or molasses
2 tsp white vinegar
1/8 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp sesame oil
20 drops Chinese hot sauce
1/8 tsp black pepper
Combine all ingredients until it forms a paste.

Marinated Tofu

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup tamari
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 sunflower oil
1 block of tofu cut into cubes
Mix all the ingredients and then pour over tofu. Marinate for at least half an hour.

Soak noodles in a bowl of boiling water for 10 minutes.
Place stock, onion, hoisin, fish sauce, ginger and spices in a pot. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add broccoli for the last 5 minutes.
Drain noodles and place equal amounts in soup bowls. Place sprouts, scallion, tofu and beef slices on top of noodles and pour stock in. Let stand for a minute to poach the beef. Serve with cilantro, and drizzle with lemon juice.


  1. Timely.

    I just finished listening to an episode of This American Life about a guy finding a cure for his allergies. The answer...Hookworms! Check out Act III if you are interested and not too squeamish.

  2. Hey Joel,
    Jess knows all about the hookworms. There was a time when we were actively looking for kids with worms so we could give them to our kids. People who have had worms tend to not get certain diseases later in life. People rarely have worms in our society, we are way too clean and germ phobic. We may not be doing ourselves any good. I say "let them eat dirt."

  3. word to the dirt!

    Love this recipe Alysa. Charlie is very picky about his starches, he's not big on the white potatoes so I don't push them.
    He does LOVE egg noodles and will eat 4 bowls of any Asia beef/chicken dish I make.
    We will try this one out soon!