Monday, March 2, 2009

Peanut Allergy Awareness...In a Culinary Mystery??

I'll admit--I like a light culinary "cozy" mystery now and then (especially when I'm feeling low and/or stuffed up with a cold, like recently). As someone who loves to bake, I've dipped into the best-selling Joanna Fluke culinary mysteries from time to time. Her heroine runs a cookie shop (an urban fantasy of mine), so you can imagine that there are plenty of nut-filled recipes in Ms. Fluke's books (as there are in any books that touch on baking, for that matter.)

Could this be progress? While on a Target run to buy more cold medicine I started flipping through Joanna Fluke's latest paperback "The Cream Puff Murder." I was amazed to find that twice the author cautioned people to be careful about--you guessed it--nuts!

In one recipe, she asks the cook to make sure that none of the guests have peanut allergies if they plan to use certain ingredients, and in another, she offers alternative ingredients in case "your family can't have nuts."

I was surprised--and gratified--to see this in a bestseller with recipes because I've never seen it before! I don't know if the author has personal experience with nut allergies, but I'm e-mailing her and thanking her for the awareness.

Usually, when I come across mention of nut allergies in popular literature, it's used as "proof" that the person is either a) a nerd or b) high-maintenance. Or, in some cases, slipping an allergic character peanuts is a way to get rid of them, such as in The DaVinci Code and also in Joanne Harris's "Gentleman and Players" --a great book, BTW, but with an unpleasant peanut allergy scene.

Seeing a nice "heads up" to cooks regarding peanut allergies directed at the masses was a breath of fresh air.

It also makes me think that the general public is getting the idea that peanut allergies are increasingly common and need to be addressed, recent backlash stories notwithstanding.


Anonymous said...

I do love a cozy mystery. I'll have to check those out. Joanne Harris is such a delight. She came through Columbus last year on a book tour. Very funny--I could have listened to her tell stories for hours. As for the allergy thing--I really think people are getting it on a personal everyday reality level. It's the media types who live in an alternate universe and get paid to write about that alternate reality who don't get any of it.

Anonymous said...

My husband is currently at Target and I sent him a text asking him to pick it up for me! Thanks! I too had a "dream" of opening up a nut free bakery some day until I talked to the owner at Liberty Bakery in Florida. Her business takes up 12-15 hours of her day! So for now I'll just eat the pastry and read this book. Looks like a good evening after all!

Anonymous said...

Thought you may be interested in this link!

(you may have to cut/paste the link in your toolbar)

Jenny said...

Hi Krista,

Wow, I hope you like it! I just started reading.

This is a fun, light mystery series. :)

Anonymous said...

Hi All:
Just wanted to share this information!

The Symposium on Children with Food Allergies Preview

Kelkat said...

I am a new "nut free" mom as my young son was just diagnosed with peanut sensitivity or allergy. I am looking for helpful information to help me sort it all out. Just came across your blog. Looks good.

Kelkat said...

I guess my post didn't work. I am a "new" peanut free mom as our young son was just diagnosed with a peanut sensitivity or allergy. I am not sure if we can ever know if he will ever have a serious reaction. We are just learning. Any information or links would be helpful.