The boys are out of school for the summer and I have signed them up for a number of free workshops and activities at our town library. The library has fantastic things scheduled--rocket building workshops, a visit from the Boston Museum of Science, and all kinds of science-related activities. Today's workshop was an intro to astronomy for ages 5 to 10. The presenter/speaker handed out containers filled with a white unidentified powder and small marbles and balls to illustrate how craters are formed on the moon. The kids sensed an opportunity to get their hands dirty, and me? I immediately thought to myself "What is that powder? It looks like flour. But what kind of flour? Is it something besides flour?" So, I had to ask about the white powder. When my question was met with a somewhat confused look, I had to then explain my son has a peanut allergy. It was, as I expected, all purpose white flour, but better safe than sorry since peanuts have a tendency to show up in all kinds of unexpected places. The speaker told me that he couldn't imagine peanuts in a powdered form. After all, he said, "how would they remove the peanut oil?" (Umm....ever heard of peanut flour?!)
It was a good opportunity for me to help teach my son that peanuts and nuts can show up anywhere, and that anytime food is involved--even for a science experiment--we have to ask and keep away if nuts or peanuts are present. Just for the record, peanut flour does exist. I knew this, of course, but didn't think the kids workshop was the right time to share that knowledge! For a little more info on peanut flour, check this link. The workshop, with its flour activity, was a good reminder that when it comes to food allergies, you can't ever let your guard down, even in places and activities where food isn't normally present.