By Janet Groene, F47166
Food allergies can make it dangerous and, for some, even deadly to eat in restaurants. A new book titled Let’s Eat Out! Your Passport to Living Gluten and Allergy Free by Kim Koeller and Robert La France ($24.95, R&R Publishing), could be a real lifesaver. Not lightweight, at this 496 pages, this comprehensive volume covers almost every dish, including ethnic specialties. It describes what is in them and suggests key questions to ask about them. Even experienced cooks don’t always know what ingredients go into exotic dishes and, if they do, they still must ask what kind of cooking oil was used (peanut, soy, corn) or what kind of flour (wheat or gluten-free) was added to thicken a sauce.
For example, jhinga masala (shrimp in coconut curry) may or may not have wheat in the sauce. The dish also contains shellfish, a common allergen, and may contain corn (in the vegetable oil), dairy from butter, or soy or peanuts from peanut or vegetable oil. People with celiac disease should ask whether there’s cake in the zabaglione, and this popular Italian dessert also could include other allergens, such as nuts or eggs. Did you know that bouillon, which is used widely in soups and stocks, can contain gluten? You’ll also discover hidden traps and learn how to avoid them when ordering out at a restaurant. Key questions to ask in Spanish are supplied also.
BARK WORSE THAN A BITE. FMCA member James “Newt” Perdue, is a six-year full-timer who never leaves his golden retriever, Reggie, alone for more than a few hours at a time. Still, Newt wondered whether Reggie barked and disturbed others when left in the coach alone, so he wrote a software program that uses the computer’s microphone and speakers to make a record of Reggie’s recitals. That led to Newt’s new business to assist pet owners to train their dogs not to bark.
Newt’s program, Bark Sentry, can play back encouraging sounds such as the owner’s voice, can keep a record of the barking as a Web page graph, and can even call the pet owner’s cell phone if the dog is becoming a serious nuisance to others. It also includes a library of articles written by dog professionals who offer tips on how to control barking. Results gained from using this new program may come as a shock to many dog owners who are certain their dogs are quiet while they are away, yet it could save them from being thrown out of the campground.
Newt also trained Reggie to obey hand signals, another plus in a campground where peace and quiet are the rule. (We use hand signals to park the coach but never thought of using them with the dog.) At press time, Bark Sentry was slated to be released June 1. For more information, visit www.barksentry.com.
NEED A JOB? You’re never too old to find work at www.seniorjobbank.org. At this site, which was developed for job seekers over age 50 and for employers looking for experienced help, you can look for jobs state by state or post up to three resumes for employers to see.
HEADED FOR MEXICO OR CANADA? Call your credit card companies to find out whether a charge is added for currency conversion. The Discover card, for one, carries no surcharge. Others tack on as much as a 4 percent fee.
FULL-TIMER’S FORUM FEEDBACK. When it comes to full-timing with pets, a loud chorus of replies came from pet owners, people who dislike pet owners, and campground owners who are caught in the middle. Pat Sirianni, is disappointed to find plastic bags filled with dog droppings not disposed of properly, pets urinating on lawn ornaments and tires, and bad-smelling pets that make for a bad-smelling RV.
Several more folks shared their experiences on how they cut down on camping costs. Scotty and Sydney Haskell have been full-timing since 2001 in a 34-foot Bounder. He books campsites by the month, allowing plenty of time to sight-see, get to know the local community, relax, and catch up on chores. “You save a bundle on the fuel you’re not burning,” he wrote. “My second suggestion is to buy an RV lot somewhere. We purchased ours in Yuma, Arizona, where prices are reasonable for renting or buying. At a new development in Wellton, Arizona, lots are available for about $49,000. (Owning) also solves the issue of having a physical address.”
Niel and Maureen Dahl have been full-timing for four years. They chose South Dakota as their home base, because it is so accommodating. Their vehicles are registered there, and they opened an account with a nationwide financial institution. Reliable Internet service is still a headache, they said, but they are looking into several wireless connection options.
Larry and Linda Tibbitts noted that they full-timed for five years; built a house in Palm Springs, California, and lived there for four years; lived in Phoenix, Arizona, for two more years; then went back to full-timing. They chose South Dakota as their home base as well. “We have seven children between us and 15 grandchildren,” they reported, “and that keeps us on the move. We plan to take five of the grandchildren, ages 9 to 14, from San Diego to Walt Disney World in Orlando this July.”
ABOUT THE FORUM. I have tried to reply to every message I receive at firstname.lastname@example.org, but many forum members have spam filters that refuse my mailings; therefore, a great many e-mails I send out bounce back as undeliverable. As a result, I have decided it’s best not to attempt to contact forum members one by one. The full-timer’s forum works this way: I pose a question in this column and welcome your replies at my Yahoo address. Results will appear in this column three or four months later.
QUESTION OF THE MONTH: If you were to advise someone who is considering the full-timing lifestyle, what are the three most essential features they should look for in a motorhome? Keep in mind that even experienced RVers may need a different coach for full-timing than they had for weekends and vacations.