World Nutella Day: The nut allergist’s nemesis

Julia Stanyard 5 February 2015

For years upon years have I been taunted, teased and tortured by a brown jar, laced with poison; the forbidden fruit, I cannot touch, but only stare at or turn to stone. In short, Nutella is my nemesis.

I always thought I was a strong, gutsy and independent young woman with the belief that anything was achievable if I set my mind to it. For what it’s worth, my childhood dream was to become the Queen, plus a part time patisserie Chef who also happened to be a professional Tap dancer. That was until the tender age of six, when my dreams were shattered, as after eating my third Cornetto ice cream of the day I exploded and was violently ill. Just like that, I became allergic to nuts. I realised that I was not infallible. I was not indestructible, and seeing as my childhood had been largely dependent on ice-cream, it looked like that was over too.

Now, as you are no doubt a highly intellectual individual reading this (well, you’re at Cambridge in any case), you would have gathered that a nut allergy and Nutella don’t really go well together; it’s kind of in the name. As a consequence I have never had the experience of tasting Nutella. Isn’t this the staple diet of Cambridge students?  Even though I have travelled far and wide and have tasted octopus, all sorts of spices and exotic fruits I cannot pronounce, my culinary palate is, and will never be complete. I am leading a deprived life; I am a colourful canvas, lacking that smudge of brown. I may be a traditionally cultured student, but can I really be considered a proper student if I haven't had the taste of the elixir of life? 

Along with the fact that I will probably never marry Prince William, the fact I will never have the joys of having Nutella on toast up there as one of the biggest disappointments in my life. I cannot begin to express what it’s like to walk through the isle of spread in Sainsbury’s.  This is my valley of death where nuts, nut products, jars that " may contain nuts ", jars that are made in a factory that ‘have used nuts’ or basically ‘anything may have come into contact with a person who happened to eat peanut last Saturday’ stare down and watch my every move. Nutella is their leader and the red eyes behind a white mask mock me, knowing that a single whiff or lick is enough to turn me into a puffer fish. 

Like a lot of things, I blame this on my mother.. During pregnancy, she didn’t eat granola or avocado, but peanut butter and only peanut butter for the whole of my gestation.  Did you medics know that nut ‘vibes’ can pass through the chorionic membrane along with nicotine and alcohol? I conclude that I have pre-natal peanut syndrome, induced by swimming in an amniotic peanutty soup; thanks mum! 

In essence (not vanilla , I am allergic to that too), I am scuppered. I have a disability which I still have yet to come to terms with, and am currently feeling resentful, envious and a bit hacked off with the whole ‘World Nutella Day’.