It’s May in Rome: A Time to Revere, and Fear, Fava Beans

As hungry Italians at the Festival for the Fava Bean lined up in a field in the Roman countryside to order fava and pecorino cheese, fava and porchetta, cream of fava on top of pasta or simply brown bags loaded with fresh fava, the manager of an adjacent garden spoke of the witch-fingered legume with dread.

“We search for them and rip them out,” said Francesco Urso, 72, pointing at a sign that read “The planting of Fava is banned.” The leathery green pod bulging with indented oval beans may be delicious, great for the soil and a cherished Roman springtime snack, Mr. Urso said, but the issue was one of life or death.

“Favism,” he said.

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G6PD deficiency (the genetic reason for favism and related diseases) is actually quite common and has quite a high death rate (obviously not all from eating fava beans)

I see what you did there lol…

It’s no joke. That’s the name of the disease.

Very interesting. In all my biochem and pathology classes this condition has only been referred to as G6PD deficiency. Well aware of its clinical implications, but now I’ve learned the layman term.

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People had the disease a long time before they knew what G6PD was!

Yeah older disease examples include consumption (now known as tuberculosis), breakbone (dengue) and winter fever (pneumonia)…