See, that’s why you read my blog. So you can get the medical education you missed out on.
No, seriously. This is something I hadn’t ever heard of until I moved here. Every year, right around the end of April/beginning of May, you’ll start seeing signs printed out in Word and taped to grocery store entrances, that look sort of like this:
Yes, indeed, my dear friends, you always know fava beans are back in stores when the stores begin to post warnings about it. That’s so people with glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency—that’s favism to you and me (an X-linked recessive hereditary disease, for all you Mendel’s square people out there)—can be forewarned and therefore forearmed. But don’t take it from me, take it from Wikipedia:
G6PD deficiency is closely linked to favism, a disorder characterized by a hemolytic reaction to consumption of broad beans, with a name derived from the Italian name of the broad bean (fava).
I’m not going to make fun of favismo. That would be rude, insensitive, and just downright wrong. I’m not here to make light of a genetic disease. I am simply an observer whose birthday is May 1 and therefore has a particularly strong link to fava beans.
So if anyone ever asks you before you reach for that ginormous green bean, “Ma non hai favismo, vero?” you can respond, “Beh, in realtà si chiama carenza di glucosio-6-fosfato deidrogenasi, ma comunque grazie, no.”
You can thank me later. Oh and BTW, don’t forget the pecorino romano. xoxo
Oh Gawd. Please warn the pretty people in L.A. about favism, will you?