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Please, For The Love Of God, Stop Cheesing Me

by Hannah Effinger

cheesing (ˈchēzing)

verb: the act of putting unwanted cheese (or dairy) within a person’s meal.

I, like 30 to 50 million other Americans, suffer from lactose intolerance, a dietary sensitivity to cheese and other milk products where “people with lactose intolerance are unable to fully digest the sugar (lactose) in milk. As a result, they have diarrhea, gas and bloating after eating or drinking dairy products.”

I’ve been cheesed by Shake Shack countless times. True Burger, literally every single time I get a burger. Margaritaville too. You name it – every restaurant has ignored my plea for no cheese.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve worked in food service. I know it’s difficult to make every order correct – but come on. It’s one less step.

When someone has a tree nut allergy, a shellfish allergy or gluten intolerance, though I know they’re much more severe (do not come at me in the Instagram comments for this), it is taken seriously.

No one makes a fuss when they say to remake a dish. No one asks them “Oh, will your tummy be okay?” Like, what is that? Why did a grown man say that to me at Margaritaville?

I absolutely detest making people remake things. Again, I’ve been behind the counter and on the other side of things for large chunks of my working life. But if I made something wrong, there was never a reason to patronize someone politely asking to have something remade because of a dietary restriction.

I often even attempt to avoid any chance of contamination altogether by ordering options that should not have cheese anywhere near them, but these options are becoming few and far between.

Several times during my years here at Montclair State University, I have visited the on-campus True Burger and have ordered either a straight-up hamburger or an Americana Burger with no cheese. Yet, each visit I do this, I receive a cheeseburger or just a burger with cheese.

You would think that not putting cheese on a burger is a little easier, it’s one less step to consider when putting together a burger — but time and time again I’ve been cheesed by Montclair State Dining.

I simply cannot take it anymore.

Why should millions of us with lactose intolerance have to suffer because someone can’t read the slip of paper with the order on it right?

I know that people who work in dining services or off-campus food services have it tough. I’m sorry for all the people who make your lives difficult every day. But the number of times I’ve had to plead with people to allow me to eat food that will not make me violently ill is too high for me to recount right now. Thinking about those experiences would definitely make me more upset about it than I would ever need to be.

Please, for the love of God, take the cheese off my burger. Thank you. Goodnight.

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