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:
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.
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.