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Mother Goose

Mother Goose

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Local pregnant women enjoy a good yoke

The forward-thinking woman who eats goose eggs while pregnant will increase the intelligence

of her unborn child, or so goes the rumor sweeping Phnom Penh's pre-natal set. The

more eggs she eats, the smarter her child will be; though sometimes just one egg

is enough to do the trick.

Sun Channa with goose eggs she believes will make her baby smart.

Smaller chicken and duck eggs, incidentally, won't cut it. Proponents of the goose

egg diet claim those more mundane eggs simply don't have those essential brain-boosting

ingredients.

A growing number of pregnant Cambodian women now insist that their husbands or relatives

find at least one goose egg to boil for them in the belief that eating it will make

their fetus smart.

Im Maly, 25, duck-and-chicken-egg seller at Psar Thmey, said this belief in eating

goose egg is a recent development. "It just appeared a few years ago,"

she said. "Before that, people never ate goose eggs. They ate only duck or chicken

eggs."

Maly said goose eggs are very expensive - up to $5 each - because few Cambodian farmers

raise geese.

"Most people who eat goose eggs are pregnant women," Maly said.

Sun Channa, 20, who lives in Sangkat Psar Dumkor, Khan Chamkarmorn, said she was

seven months into her pregnancy before she ate goose eggs. So far she has eaten three

- her mother bought two for her, and her sister-in-law bought one. Those eggs cost

only 14,000 riel ($3.50) each, because they were purchased directly from a farmer.

Her sister-in-law, Hong Sophorn, 24, said she regretted not eating goose eggs when

she was pregnant three years ago.

"It is very lucky for my sister that I found one goose egg for her," Sophorn

said.

Channa said pregnant women in her village always eat goose eggs. She believes their

children are "much more clever" than the children of mothers who did not

eat goose eggs.

"I hope the daughter I am expecting will be as smart as my neighbor's children,"

said Channa, whose baby is due in two weeks.

Her assessment of goose egg? "It tastes like duck or chicken egg. But it looks

bigger than duck or chicken egg," Channa said.

Sok Sophea, 34, who lives in Sangkat Psar Kandal 1, Khan Daun Penh, is the mother

of two sons. She ate one egg for her eldest son who is now nine years old. She said

her one-year-old son was smart because of the two goose eggs she ate while he was

in the womb.

"Before, I didn't believe anyone who said that eating goose eggs would make

a child smart," Sophea said. "And now I believe them because my son is

just one year old, but he can understand what I say or what I tell him to do."

Sophea said the next time she is pregnant she plans to eat as many goose eggs as

she can find.

Chhe Sary, midwife and provider at the Reproductive Health Association of Cambodia,

has a less credulous view of the powers of goose eggs. She said she has read many

health books but has never seen anything written specifically about goose eggs.

Her books explained that the yellow yoke of any egg is rich in vitamin A, which can

help to ensure that a baby is born with healthy skin and eyes.

"It is good for pregnant women to eat goose eggs because of the yellow yoke-and

it has a lot of yellow because it is a big egg," Sary said. "It is not

only the yellow of an egg that has vitamin A, but also other yellow foods such as

pumpkin, ripe mango, jackfruit and so on."

Putting faith exclusively in goose eggs to produce a smart baby "is just a superstition

passed from person to person," Sary said.

Her advice to pregnant women is to eat as much as they can of three food groups:

carbohydrates such as rice and potatoes; muscle-building foods such as beef, fish,

and shrimp; and disease-fighting foods such as egg, pumpkin, and green vegetables.

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