The sniff test:
As I look back into my memory at these peanut episodes, I remember more and more my behavior as a child with this severe allergy. This memory just came back to me. I remember being at sleep-away summer camp, probably around the age of 10 or 11. This was a 4 week program in the San Juan islands off of Seattle. I remember one afternoon where there was an entertainment activity and the counselors passed around freshly baked cookies–peanut butter cookies and no other options. There was nothing marked, no warning–again, this was well over twenty years ago and people were simply a lot less aware. I was also a really shy kid. I wasn’t sure at first, but I innately knew not to trust the food or any adult handing it to me. I remember giving it the sniff test–a practice which has served me well over the years. I put a tiny bit in my mouth but then spit it out immediately because my mouth starting reacting. I rinsed my mouth out with water vigorously and seemed to be okay (at that time, I could touch a peanut butter cookie and even have a little bit touch my tongue and not go into severe reaction). Afterwards, I remember sitting nervously behind all the other girls waiting to see if anything else would happen to me. Thankfully, nothing did and I gradually relaxed.
The sniff test has certainly worked for me since then, but now I do better simply avoiding the food altogether if there is remotely any possibility of peanuts. Even as a little girl I felt I had to take care of myself and expect that no one else was going to look out for me with respect to avoiding peanuts—and this is the same mentality I use today. — Neelu