Bob can't eat gluten, so he asked what on the menu would be off limits. The server responded with a sheet outlining all the food allergies with respect to this week's menu: among the offenders, gluten, dairy, nuts, shellfish, and nightshade.
Nightshade reminded me of our friend Tom, who went through a diet regimen to determine what foods he is allergic to. Wheat came up, and dairy, but surprisingly, nightshade is an even worse choice for him: it gives him serious, debilitating headaches.
|Illustration of Solanum dulcamara,
1.- Flower, 2.- Flower in longitudinal
section, without the petals;
3.- Androecium; 4.- Ovary, in
transverse section; 5.- Seed viewed
from above; 6.- Seed in transverse
section, note the curved embryo
surrounding the endosperm; A.- Branch
with leaves and flowers; B.- Stem
with immature and mature fruit
Solanaceae comprises 98 genera and some 2,700 species (1,500–2,000 in Solanum alone, the genus that contains potatoes, tomatoes, and eggplant). It is present on all the continents except Antarctica, with the greatest diversity in South and Central America.
|You say tomato . . .|
|Georgia O'Keeffe, Jimson Weed (1937)|
Me, I'm glad I can eat nightshades. I love pasta Bolognese, baingan bharta (Indian eggplant), chiles rellenos, scalloped potatoes. Or just plain ol' chips with salsa or baba ganoush. I'm not picky. And more to the point, not allergic. Thank goodness.