Brooklyn Mom Kindly Looks To Listserv For Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Possibly Sugar-Free Personal Chef For Her 4-Year-Old

gluten-free for kidsI realize that super privileged Brooklyn mothers (whether crunchy or urban) are low-hanging fruit in Internet mommy land. But I’m going to go ahead and pluck this one anyway — only because it’s so representative of the toddler-pandering, rabidly precious parenting times we live in.

Just this morning, a friend of mine, who is soon to be a first-time mother herself, was perusing her local Cobble Hill listserv picking through over-priced used baby stuff. (You know how that goes). She then happened on this posting:

I am hoping someone has a stellar recommendation for a personal chef/cook/nutritionist who could help me implement a new diet for my 4 year old. She has some health issues and I’d like to try a gluten-free, dairy-free, dare I say sugar free diet. I’m hoping someone can come to my home. Thanks so much in advance.
Mom to 3 girls

For those of you out there who are only acquainted with wealthy, super-entitled, painfully out of touch Brooklyn mothers via Amy Sohn novels or satirical mom satire, here is your window. A request for a professional chef/cook/nutritionist to come to her home and help “implement” said gluten-free, dairy-free, possibly sugar-free diet for a 4-year-old child. It doesn’t get more modern mommy commentary that.

Like I said. Low-hanging fruit. Super low.

gluten free for kids

(photo: Africa Studio / Shutterstock)

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  • EAB

    have fucking mercy.

  • MamaB

    WOW. Just wow. We barely have enough money to cover our gluten, sugar, and sometimes dairy-filled meals in my house. I just can’t imagine. Speechless.

    • Paul White

      I wouldn’t do it, but if she’s got the money is it actually hurting anything?

  • Katherine

    As a mother of a child with multiple severe food allergies – I totally understand her needs! We can’t even buy bread off the shelf. Everything has to be made from scratch for every meal, every single day. We can never stop for a quick bite at a restaurant or let the kids eat what’s served at school or parties. It’s a he’ll of a lot of work with very few shortcuts and little community support. People without allergies take the convenience of prepared foods for granted. I think having help in the kitchen would be a blessing!

    • kirsten

      I agree. Ms. Beck should put that sanctimony away, and try walking in the shoes of a mother of a child with major eating issues. There’s no reason to assume the ad writer isn’t seeking help because of this. My kid’s feeding habits consume hours of my day, but he struggles to keep anything down and is on a feeding tube just to survive (P.S. it’s Feeding Tube Awareness week!). I would totally pay someone else to take some of those hours off my hands and let me get other work done.

    • Melody

      I am in the same boat. I can’t feed my kids anything processed or prepackaged and cooking 3 meals a day plus snacks for 3 kids is exhausting. I would sell my liver to get some kitchen help. Between prepping, and cooking, and then cleaning up afterwards, I can’t get a minute to do anything else. It’s also a nightmare trying to come up with fun recipes that might tempt my 4 year old who only wants to eat lucky charms and goldfish like all of the other kids. Ms. Beck should take a step back and look at things from both sides of the situation before passing snarky judgment.

  • Ipsedixit

    You know, I don’t think this is that bad. If she were looking for a personal chef to come to the house and prepare meals everyday, that’s one thing. It’s another to ask a professional for tips for implementation.

    Confession: I never learned to cook healthy. My family ate a lot if unhealthy high calorie, high fat meals. When we got married, I hired a personal chef to come to the house once a week for 4 weeks. She taught me techniques, how to meal plan, and how to incorporate healthy foods into our meals. It was a lifesaver and has helpful me tremendously over the last 5 years. I had her in again last year when we decided to go vegetarian but didn’t want to fall back to rice and pastas. I had her to the house because my work hours wouldn’t allow me to go to the cooking school she runs. We’re not insanely rich by any means, but those couple hundred bucks have most definitely paid off.

    • K.

      I agree–I’m not really offended by this either. It’s certainly not as bad as some things I’ve seen via STFU, Parents–it’s not asking for a personal chef for the toddler or something.

      I never hired a personal chef (no one in my family ever has either), but I had a neighbor once who switched to a macrobiotic diet for health reasons (she had cancer) and hired a macrobiotic chef to come teach her how to cook. She’s still macrobiotic–and she beat cancer.

  • MKH

    When I was diagnosed with celiac disease and some other severe food allergies at 21, I didn’t know what to do, and I went and saw a nutritionist to help me meal plan and figure out what I could eat. And I only had myself to feed and my own tastes to cater to. I can’t imagine how difficult it would be to deal with a picky, sick toddler and her two sisters. Balancing a whole family’s dietary needs and tastes would be stressful, especially is Autumn is a working mom who needs to send special allergen or gluten-free food to daycare. If I were in her position and had the money, I would absolutely hire some help to, at the very least, help me clean out the pantry and come up with some meal and snack rotations that everyone will eat and that won’t make them sick. It’s easy to judge someone like this as being crazyface, but when basically eating anything makes you sick, you get pretty desperate.

    • Harriet Meadow

      Yeah, but she said her daughter has “some health issues” so she wants to “try” a gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free diet. If the daughter has been diagnosed with Celiac disease or with lactose intolerance or with diabetes, one of the three would be understandable. But wanting to “try” to eliminate ALL of these things (rather than “needing” to eliminate one or more of these things) suggests that there is no specific diagnosis that we’re dealing with here, at least it does to me. But perhaps I’m reading too much into it. If there really are health issues at stake, then I am more than willing to stick my foot in my mouth.

    • N.

      Firstly, some health issues need to be dealt with by trialling the elimination of certain foods from a diet to determine the triggers. Not all can be diagnosed easily with a blood test. Secondly, if there is a specific diagnosis is it really necessary to go into great detail about it in an advertisement when specifying the type of diet is enough? Third, I have wasted a huge amount of expensive gluten free, dairy free, sugar free ingredients trialling recipes for breads, muffins, cakes, etc to work out which are tasty and which are practically inedible. If she has the means up front to pay a chef for a short time to show her the ropes, the end result will probably be a lot less food waste and financial cost.
      Nothing in the advertisement says sanctimommy to me, but this article reeks of it.

  • Emma


    • bumbler

      Pretty sure nutrition (and related medical issues) is a problem in all worlds. It’s a whole world problem with a first world solution.

  • lyzl

    Newsflash: All toddlers are picky. But no toddler will let themselves starve. Leftover pork it is!

  • LiteBrite

    I don’t think this is that bad either. The mom does say the kid has health issues, so it’s not like she’s totally helicoptering the diet because the girl might – gasp – eat a non-organic raspberry. A gluten-free/dairy-free/sugar-free diet might actually be helpful to the little girl. If my kid needed this kind of diet, I’d have no clue where to go with it and would appreciate all the help I could get.

    I bet if most of us could afford a personal chef we’d plunk down the cash in a heartbeat.

    • Sara

      Personal chefs aren’t even that expensive, when you consider that prior to hiring one, most families were spending a ton on takeout, prefab meals from Trader Joe’s, etc. A friend of mine is a personal chef, and a lot of families find that they spend more, but not enough to offset the health benefits and convenience of having someone to grocery shop, menu plan and prepare your meals for you (not to mention the cleanup afterward!)
      I’m talking about a PERSONAL chef, not a LIVE-IN chef, of course. Live-in chefs are crazy expensive!

  • Mama78

    The mother never specified that her kid had celiac disease. Nor did she say her kid had food allergies. What she didn’t even have to specify was her privilege.

    • meg


    • bumbler

      And having privilege is a dirty secret that should be kept hidden away in the damn corners of your home. Being able to afford the assistance you and your children need is a moral blight that few families ever manage to recover from.

    • bumbler

      damp* not damn

    • Paul White

      Yep. We should all act like it’s a struggle to meet basic needs and maybe have a few extras. Anything else is just offensive.

      Look, I’m not particularly well off. We’re a two (small) income household but we still meet basic bills and save a bit and sometimes buy something fun. I’d be royally pissed if someone gave me grief for buying a new handgun or laptop or whatever when we could afford it.

      I figure many other people are in the same boat; we watch our money, we do without a lot of stuff, but sometimes we buy something fun that’s within our budget. Why should we get flak for complaining when that fun thing isn’t up to snuff? Why should we get flak for how we spend that disposable income? If I want to shell out the money for a new toy, or cooking lessons, or whatever why is that worthy of getting grief? This lady wants to learn how to cook differently to see if it helps her kids health. Good for her.

      Now, if she’d posted demanding everyone go gluten/dairy free or that her kid’s school goes GF/DF I’d be right there with the author in laughing at her. But she didn’t.

  • Katia

    I hope she finds the right help. Planning, Shopping buying storing preparing storing leftovers ,snacks, cleaning up ,dishes etc is hard enough for my 3 kids with no allergies
    Maybe you have to be a mom to understand that paying someone to get you started here would be a wise investment -and probably Save time and money in the long run

  • Elly

    If I had the money to do that and I had a child who had gluten issues, dairy issues and other health issues…I would absolutely hire someone to help me implement a new diet, figure out new ways of eating, it’s an entirely different world. COULD I find a way to do it without? Probably, but it would be very hard, and frustrating. I am not a great cook, I struggle already with making meals that are appetizing, healthy, non boring and we have 0 eating issues/allergies…I am so grateful that my kids don’t have those issues. If I had the means to do it, I’d do it in a heartbeat.

  • Tammy Gaudreault

    Nothing wrong with this. She’s got the money for it? Good for her. Why are we constantly shaming mothers doing stuff that some of us would do if we had the funds? These mommy wars are getting old fast…

    • ali

      I am in complete agreement. I hate the “mommy wars” more than anything. Whatever this mother wants to do with her kids, is guess what? none of anyone’s business. Whatever reasons she has for wanting to hire a chef are hers alone. Stop mom bashing. We should all try to be a little less judgmental and a lot more accepting.

  • redheadwglasses

    If she eliminates all those things at once, and the kid gets better, she won’t know which ingredient was the culprit.

    • Paul White

      but if you think it’s one of 3-4 things, you take them all out for a month to six weeks, then put them back in one at a time. One every 2-3 weeks or so is what we did for me when we tested for food allergies.

    • ImOpining

      Just read about your passing and was so sorry to hear it. RIP RHWG

  • Manggy

    This one sounds super-easy, but then again I grew up in the Philippines and had rice with breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Protein and rice. Veg on the side. Fruit for dessert. Repeat ad infinitum.

  • Kyle

    You know, I really don’t give a damn what wealthy people do with their money. It doesn’t change my life for better or worse. Maybe we should just mind our own business.

    • Sara

      Not to mention–we don’t even really know that she’s that wealthy. Maybe she’s just decided that figuring out her kid’s dietary needs is sufficiently important that they’re willing to cut back on other things to free up the cash to hire someone to help with it.
      My husband and I made a similar decision with our daughter’s day care. We wanted to know that the place where she would be spending 40 hours a week would give her the best possible care, and unfortunately around here that does not come cheap. The daycare bill is more than our rent and utilities, and we afford it not by being rich (I’m a teacher and my husband is in graduate school and works part-time), but by eliminating a lot of things that others might see as necessities but we view as luxuries–eating out, having a second car, buying new clothes rather than shopping at consignment stores, etc. If you were to judge our financial situation based on what we pay for daycare, you’d come away with a sorely mistaken view.

  • Mike Burnett

    Consistently more annoyed by people who question the dietary concerns of others than by the people who are trying to figure out their families’ needs. You knew this article was wrong before you wrote it.

  • Sherry

    She didn’t say allergies, she said health issues. Maybe she has malignant freaking cancer and she’s trying whatever she can to help. I had a friend who went macrobiotic because of ovarian cancer and she had some birthday cake made out of dates or some such thing. I dont remember and its not my point. My point is as long as she wants to pay someone to come to her house and help cook, and her checks dont bounce, Who cares if she does? I fail to see why I would assume her situation. This one was a clear miss.

  • Tobi

    Judgmental much? You have no idea what the health concerns are, you are just speculating that the diet isn’t needed. Why would she share her child’s private medical diagnosis in a public forum? She specified the type of diet. That’s what is needed when looking for a nutritionist or personal chef. If I needed that I would try to find a way to afford it.

  • Paris

    Wow, this article is embarrassing. I say this not only as a person who grew up with severe food allergies, but as a human being. Why would you shame a mother for seeking the help she needs to feed her child in a way that is compatible with her health issues? If she can afford to hire the help her child needs, why must you put her down? Is it so bad to be financially secure in your book?

  • Krampus

    It’s funny… people who complain about others being a shade of sanctimonious often come off as more sanctimonious than the person they’re after.

  • Shelly Lloyd

    Oh hell, if I had the money I would so totally hire a personal chef, not just to help start a good nutritional diet but to come and cook 3 meals a day. And I do not even have the excuse of having a child with health issues–I just hate cooking. But I’m poor and I have to do all the cooking :( So kudos to her.

  • Resi

    Why do you care about that? It is her fucking money. Even if she’d decide to use it as firewood it wouldn’t be of your concern.

  • bookworm81

    Wow, that was judgmental! My 3 year old son also has “health issues” that require that he be gluten/dairy free and since you apparently require details I’ll tell you that (among other things) dairy gives him diarrhea and when he eats gluten he gets blisters on his foreskin. Not exactly appropriate details for a job listing are they. I can tell you that going gluten/dairy free for your child is difficult enough when you’re already a pretty competent cook/baker (as I am). I can’t even imagine how hard it would have been had I not already been used to experimenting in the kitchen.

  • awegpeters

    Author obviously does not have a child with health issues requiring special diet (or at least the need to try one). Financial wealth envy is actually a luxury the healthy have. Sick people/people with sick children, don’t care about that anymore aside from those who may not have the money to pay for medications/healthcare. I used to care about money, now I just want a healthy child.