That was the question I overheard the other day while watching my kids play at the park. A cute little girl, about 4 or 5 years old, was getting pushed on the swings by her dad. I was sitting on a nearby bench and I couldn't help but hear her as she babbled away on the swing.
Of course, my ears always prick up at the word "peanuts" so I waited to her what Dad would say. He said "Well, yes I guess they are." I, and many of you, would disagree, because from our perspective it would be nice if they weren't thought of as kid "go-to" food. However, nutrionally speaking, peanuts are a good source of protein (though, I would argue, not nearly as great as they're cracked up to be. Fat, cholesterol, etc.)
So then, the little girl said "Well, I had my friend over today for lunch. She's allergic to peanuts. She almost ate a piece of peanut popcorn (I'm guessing a snack w/peanuts or peanut oil) and her mom got her away from it just in time."
They then carried on with their conversation and it shifted quickly to other topics. I thought it was so interesting, though! Obviously, this young girl was confused and concerned for her friend. If peanuts are so "good for you," why does her friend have to avoid them and carry and EpiPen? Why does her friend's mom have to do a quick "food interception" at a lunch and play date? (How many of you have had to run interference before a very young child went for a seemingly harmless food it turns out they can't have?)
I felt for this other mother--I don't even know her, but I know what she's going through. And how many other mothers had to perform a "food allergy rescue" that day or just stress about a simple lunch date with their kids? Too many--but they're not alone, as we know all too well.
Based on this young girl as well as the kids my daughter meets at school, it seems to me that more and more young children accept peanut allergies with aplomb. It's the adults (especially the "message board haters" ) that seem to have a bigger problem with it.
Acceptance of this condition will take years for our generation, if it comes at all. However, this young girl gave me a glimmer of hope, that future generations will just accept that a friend or acquaintance has to avoid certain foods and then go about their business.
Wouldn't that be great?