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Is Ariana Grande's tomato allergy common?

It’s tomato season. (Associated Press)
Published Jun. 4

Last week, mega pop star Ariana Grande canceled her Tampa and Orlando tour dates just hours before her Tampa concert was set to start.

The reason? Tomatoes.

A couple of days after canceling, Grande shared this upsetting news on her Instagram: "Update: we discovered ..... that ..... i had an unfortunate allergic reaction to tomatoes and my throat pretty much closed. still feels like i'm swallowing a cactus but slowly making progress!"

Tomatoes are part of the nightshade family, a group of plants and foods known to irritate people with autoimmune disorders that cause excessive inflammation in the body. Other common nightshades include potatoes and eggplant.

Nightshade or not, why did Grande suddenly develop the allergy?

Allergies can occur later in life, though why certain people get certain allergies mostly remains a mystery.

CNN talked to Dr. Ruchi Gupta, director of the Science and Outcomes of Allergy and Asthma Research Program at the Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine, who said that half of adults with a food allergy developed them later in life. Half!

A tomato allergy isn't high on the list of common food allergies, though. Those are: shellfish, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, fin fish, wheat, soy and sesame.

Grande, who said she became "incredibly sick" the day of her Tampa concert, also noted this in her Instagram post:

"p.s. there is NOTHING MORE UNFAIR THAN AN ITALIAN WOMAN DEVELOPING AN ALLERGY TO TOMATOES IN HER MID TWENTIES.......".

Oof. We feel for Grande.

Even if you're not one to indulge in slices of tomato on the regular, tomatoes are an integral part of many cuisines. Marinara sauce. Chicken tikka masala. Salsa! And summer is peak tomato season.

Grande could eat this week's recipe, which is totally free of tomatoes but not short on vegetables. It's a good side dish for summer because it can be served hot or lukewarm or even cold.

A spicy-sweet sauce coats Brussels sprouts, which get roasted so they can crisp up nicely. It's inspired by a recipe from cookbook author Alison Roman, who came up with a lemon relish that uses the whole lemon — rind included. (Roman wrote the wonderful dinnertime companion Dining In, and recently announced she's releasing a new book called Nothing Fancy this fall.)

I'll be honest; it's kind of an acquired taste. I liked it, but I would recommend serving it on the side and letting diners use it as they wish.

The real revelation for me — and the reason I was drawn to this recipe — was the combination of honey and harissa, a North African hot chili spice that lends just the right touch of spice. It takes roasted Brussels to a whole new level.

Honey and Harissa Roasted Brussels Sprouts

For the Brussels sprouts:

2 tablespoons honey

1 ½ tablespoons harissa

5 tablespoons olive oil

1 ½ pounds brussels sprouts, ends trimmed, halved lengthwise

Kosher salt

Black pepper

For the lemon relish:

½ lemon, rind included, seeds removed, finely chopped

½ cup parsley, tender leaves and stems, finely chopped

½ small shallot, peeled and finely chopped

Heat oven to 450 degrees.

In a small bowl, combine honey, harissa and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Mix in with Brussels sprouts on a rimmed baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper and roast, tossing occasionally until sprouts are tender and lightly charred around the edges, about 13 to 18 minutes.

While sprouts cook, combine lemon, parsley, shallot and remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Top roasted Brussels sprouts with lemon relish before serving.

Serves 6.

Source: Alison Roman

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