DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a ton of food allergies, and sometimes when I am at a restaurant, it can be embarrassing to order food. I scrutinize the menu carefully all the time, but if not all of the ingredients are listed, I sometimes find myself in trouble. I keep an EpiPen with me, but who wants to have to use that? One of my friends suggested that I make a little card listing my food allergies. That way, the server can take the list back to the chef and verify whether I can eat what I want to order. Another friend told me that was pathetic and I should just ask the questions. What do you think? -- Allergic, Portland, Oregon
DEAR ALLERGIC: I love the idea of the card with the listing of food allergies. It is a discreet and efficient way to keep you healthy. A way to make it even less noticeable is to hand it to the maitre d’ -- if there is one -- upon your arrival at the restaurant, with a brief explanation of what it is. Then ask the maitre d’ to give it to your server. This way, no one else has to know about your food restrictions. If a question or so crops up, simply ask it and keep it moving.