Ancient philosophers/thinkers were well known for their quaint sayings and strange beliefs that most of us relish. After all, what’s a modern day scientist without a healthy dose of eccentricity?
But ancient Greek philosopher and mathematician Pythagoras’s dictum “do not eat fava beans” didn’t help the world a lot.
But I found on further research that this strange fava bean aversion was not isolated to Pythogoras. Aristotle forbade eating them too because he thought they were harmful to the eater as they resembled genitals! (Ari, this is why you should have thought a little less and stepped out a bit more)
On a somber reflection Aristotle decided they resembled the gates of Hades too. Hmph…
That did make me think though. Aristotle was one of the saner geniuses in the ancient world so I decided to dig further. That’s when I found he was right about fava beans being harmful though just not for the reason he stated.
There is, in fact a disease called favism, which is a deficiency of G6PD- a condition not identified until recently. As the name suggests, people with this congenital disease find fava beans toxic. This disease has been traced to Southern Italy, Crotone in Calabria. Crotone is the area in Magna Grecia where Pythagoras set up his school.
Drat it, those ancient thinkers deserved all the credit they got!
Well, after all that fact finding, see what the brat Nina did to trick her Nana!
Kanika and I are having super fun with these stories. You can read her take here.