La Bamba

Jerome Groopman, MD, had a great article about childhood food allergies recently in the New Yorker. (The full text is, sadly, not available online for free.)

In the piece, Groopman reminds us that the best current evidence is that there is no reason for pregnant or breastfeeding women to avoid peanuts, eggs, shellfish, and the rest, and no reason for babies to do so, either. You could have learned that (self-aggrandizement alert) from my book. But there were some great tidbits I didn’t know:

  1. A small but significant proportion of American parents pre-masticate their food for their infants. I knew this was common practice in premodern societies, but I had never heard of anyone doing it in the US. I look down on and make fun of people who think public breastfeeding is gross, but maybe I am not as openminded as I think.

  2. Groopman mentions that the most popular baby food in Israel is a peanut-based snack called Bamba that babies chew on nonstop, and perhaps this is why peanut allergies are rare in Israel. This made me want some Bamba immediately. I considered ordering it online, but then I went into Broadway QFC and there was a big display of chocolate-hazelnut Bamba on sale for $1.25. Let me tell you, Bamba is great. I want to be reincarnated as an Israeli baby and eat Bamba all day. It looks like those Combos snacks, but the shell is made mostly of melt-in-your-mouth ground peanuts. Highly recommended.

5 thoughts on “La Bamba

  1. Laurie

    You forgot that any time you recommend an article that is not available full-text on the website, you should remind their readers to find it in a database at their library. Seattle Public Library has Proquest–and once a librarian personally emailed me a PDF of a New Yorker article that I had trouble finding in Proquest. Librarians are your friends.

  2. Steve @ HPD

    That’s the thing about science … a billion years ago, cavemen believed a whole bunch of stuff, and very little of it was “right.” With every generation, the percentage of things that we know that is actually true goes up exponentially … but we’ll never get to 100%.

    I read this conspiracy theory piece a while ago. Seemed overblown, but there was a tiny part that stuck with me. The claim was that our system of teaching and training doctors was bought and paid for by the pharmaceutical companies, which is why are health system is based on waiting for stuff to break and then fixing it, instead of preventing it in the first place. We have a sickness care system, not a health care system. Turns out, there’s no evidence of a drug cabal running anything back in the 19th century … but it is kinda funny that we call the people who take care of our wellness “medical doctors.” Medical, not health. Anyway, the bottom line is, you can get your MD and get board certified in your field and go around calling yourself doctor with maybe 2.5 credit hours in anything resembling nutrition. The medical community by and large considers nutrition as beneath them, something for cafeteria staff to worry about.

  3. Alana

    Bamba is like peanut-flavored Pirate’s Booty. I grew up eating it for a special treat at my Jewish summer camp. Totally delicious.

  4. mamster Post author

    Hey, Neil, the Bamba is in the kosher section on aisle 1 at Broadway QFC. I think you’re going to like it.

    Alana, that’s exactly what it’s like, only better. It’s more melty than spongy.

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