The Allergy Watch: A Good Cocoa Glaze, At Least

A charming and poignant column by my friend Pete Wells from "Cooking With Dexter," his new monthly series in the New York Times Magazine, about his son's unexpected allergies and his learning to cook around them. He's especially good on finding unexpected allies in vegans when he's a proud omnivore:

I regard vegans with wonder, and they would probably regard me with horror. But I want to write this in 40-foot letters in the sky: Vegans have made amazing discoveries in the field of eggless baking.

He concludes with what sounds like a very nice vegan cupcake with a cocoa glaze I want to try.

More important, though, why the uptick in food allergies everywhere? No telling children who break out in hives then touch their eyes after they eat a peanut that it's because they didn't have a dog--one of the practical aspects of an explanatory article about the rise of childhood asthma in our pages by Ellen Ruppel Shell.

Ellen turned up yesterday at a great conference I've been at all week sponsored by the Knight Science Journalism Fellowships at MIT, where the topics have included the environment, ethanol, GMs, food inspection, whether or not there's a food crisis, and, this morning, whether farmer's markets are crazy breeding grounds for vicious kneecapping of farmer to farmer and chef to home cook. And more. Watch this space for speakers and topics to turn up in coming months.

As for the updated thinking on food allergies, it didn't come up. That's the question Pete begins with, and one that stays with him and us. Even more important, who has a good non-gluten base for that nice chocolate glaze? A new frontier.