Note to guests: shut up and eat

Paleo foods: meats, veggies, fruits and nuts

The NYTimes has an article this morning about people who dictate to their hosts what they will or will not eat for dinner:

It’s becoming harder for Americans to break bread together. Our appetites are stratified by an ever-widening array of restrictions: gluten free, vegan, sugar free, low fat, low sodium, no carb, no dairy, soyless, meatless, wheatless, macrobiotic, probiotic, antioxidant, sustainable, local and raw.

Though medical conditions like celiac disease and severe allergies have long relegated a small percentage of diners to rigid diets, more and more eaters outside this group appear to be experimenting with self-imposed limits, taking a do-it-yourself, pick-and-choose approach to restricting what they consume.

Some group-dining devotees say they are happy to adjust as the occasion demands. In April, Coco Myers, a writer who avoids gluten and lactose, invited a fish-averse friend to a dinner party in East Hampton, N.Y., hosted by a couple who don’t eat red meat. A few days earlier, the hostess (Scott O’Neil, a painter and an amateur cook, who had been planning a seafood stew) e-mailed Ms. Myers to ask about problem foods.

“Sometimes I go to dinner parties, and you just deal with what you get, right?” Ms. Myers recalled. “But she put it out there.” So she compiled a dietary no-fly list: no fish, no gluten, no lactose.

Ms. O’Neil was up to the challenge. “Nowadays I always ask, because there’s so many things people don’t eat,” she said. She swapped the stew for a mixed grill with chicken, scallops, salmon and tofu, rounding it out with rice, an asparagus-topped salad and an upside-down rhubarb cake.

This is an excellent way to ensure that social gatherings will become increasingly rarer or BYOM (bring your own meal).  I can’t even imagine who does this.  Who calls up or emails the host of a dinner party and dictates their food choices?  Presumably, there will be something on the table that niche diners can eat.  They shouldn’t be making unreasonable demands.  Otherwise the host has to cook several different meals or carefully structure one that doesn’t offend anyone.

Call me old fashioned or fascistic but I think it’s rude for people to do this.  I try to stick to a paleo diet because my triglycerides are a bit on the high side.  That means, I eat the meat/fish and the veggies.  But if someone is having pasta that night, I eat the pasta.  If it’s not a food allergy and one portion isn’t going to clog your arteries, eat it, dammit. And I *never* call or email ahead of time with my paleo list.

I admire the patience of the hosts in this article.  The one who got a bunch of special requests the day of the dinner after having sent out invitations days before should have told them tough titties. It’s a dinner party, not a restaurant.  How insensitive and selfish do you have to be to ask your host at the last minute to accomodate your extra specialness? What one diner adamantly objects to may be the thing that another diner can’t live without.  I think that’s what annoys me the most about this trend.  Sure, you may not eat the tartiflette with the bacon, cream and gooey cheese but the person sitting next to you might *love* that recipe.  If you can’t be satisfied with the vegetables, salads and apple caramel tarte for dessert, and have to impose your dietary restrictions on everyone, you’re not just inconveniencing the host, you could be ruining dinner for everyone else.  I’ve always seen dinner parties as a rare opportunity to eat what I might otherwise not cook for myself.  It’s an adventure, not an ordeal. Twenty years ago, this never would have happened.  You would have gone to the party and eaten what was on your plate or pushed it around and settled for the good company.

If you don’t like that solution, make your own bento box of carefully chosen gluten free, meatless, sugarless, raw veggies and bring it with you where you can consume it conspicuously and mark yourself as the self-righteous, morally superior person you are.

On the menu tonight: French bistro-esque salad with green beans, potatoes, thin slices of country ham, tomatos, capers and olives in a homemade shallot vinaigrette.

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66 Responses

  1. Not that I host dinner parties but, I think that people who’s diets are THAT restrictive should come for the part of the get-together that happens after the meal. either dessert or after-dinner drinks or something. Or as you said — stick to the salad (for the gluten-free folks) and fill up on something else before you get there.

    I guess I’m a hardliner on this. If a guest DID send me restrictions, I’d probably send an apology and point out that the menu was set before I sent the invitations (which would be true)

    • What a funny article! I guess these are rich-people’s problems.

    • I’m with you. They either eat what we’re serving or come after dinner. In my extended family, everyone brings a dish so you can eat what you like as long as you make it. I just find it incredible that people will send a list of forbidden foods to their host. Where did these people learn their manners? Unless someone visting us was obviously ill or severely allergic, we’d think it was incredibly rude. I’ll bet you a lot of hosts have thought it was rude too but people do it so often these days that rudeness is seen as normal.

      • (nodding) In my world a lot of parties have the host making the main dish and everyone bringing something else — often their “specialty” .. for those with special diets, it’s easy enough for that person to slide in something they can eat (and it would be silly if they brought something they couldn’t)

        For some reason this story is giving me the giggles.

        • Oh, I know!! From Oliver! ::

          Fagen’s boy: “These sausages are moldy”
          Fagen: “Shut up and drink yer gin”

          • {{snort!!}}
            It kind of reminds me of the laundramat people I used to run into when I was a student. They were usually townies without much money. They and their children had thin, lank hair and wore snow boots in the summer, you know the kind? Their boyfriends had chains on their wallets? Like there’s anything in them worth chaining up?
            They used to eat dinner out of the vending machine and I used to joke that they couldn’t have any M&M’s until they ate all of their Cheetos.

        • I know, it’s really funny that people would bend over backwards to accomodate these people. Like that guy who was going to make seafood stew and had to change it so the person who didn’t like fish wasn’t offended? That’s fricking nuts. That would be like my kid saying she’s not going to eat anything because you put mushrooms in the main dish. Fergawdsakes, pick the suckers out if you don’t like them. I wouldn’t be offended if there was a little pile of mushrooms on the plate, or fish in this case.
          That would be like me saying I won’t eat beets, don’t serve borscht. Well, I don’t eat beets and I hate borscht but if that’s your main dish, borscht it is. If beets are on the table as a side dish, I skip them.
          How HARD is this?? Are these people children?

  2. What time does dinner start?

  3. I missed the part about pushing your food around on your plate!! Yes! That’s what people used to do. And hide stuff under their napkins.

    And eat what you want before you get there.

  4. A man has to get a fox, a chicken, and a sack of corn across a river…

    Yes, truth be told, planning a dinner party in 21 st century America has taken on a surrealist vibe as of late…

    “In April, Coco Myers, a writer who avoids gluten and lactose, invited a fish-averse friend to a dinner party in East Hampton, N.Y., hosted by a couple who don’t eat red meat.”

    Really I’m glad that modern diners with health problems can now, with the help of medical science (or holistic alchemy,) pinpoint the culinary source of their ills and adhere to customized dietary plan- But I can’t help wistfully reminiscing about simpler times (insert image of Norman Rockwell’s Thanksgiving.)

    Solution here:

    http://www.mathsisfun.com/chicken_crossing_solution.html

    • I think the author says that there aren’t that many people with nutrition problems or allergies. Celiac disease isn’t common, unless your ancestors came from the western shores of Europe. As for me, I have blood tests that say cut back on carbs so I know what to avoid and I eat them sparingly. No one would have to change their menu for me and I wouldn’t expect them to.
      The rest of the foodphobics are making a political or moral statement. I’m not sure I would have these people on my dinner list in the first place. They’re more likely to get all bent out of shape about GM crops and I would spend my time seething at their ignorance for not knowing that most of the world’s crops are GM. Humans have been doing selective breeding for thousands of years.
      Then there are the vegans who are just mysterious people to me. I don’t get it. It’s one thing to forgo meat. But honey? That’s just weird. I understand that Bill Clinton is a vegan and if that’s what he wants to do, let him knock himself out. He’s had heart issues so I kinda get it, although, there’s some evidence that plant based and higher carb diets aren’t necessarily good for you either, especially if like me, your body just converts them to fat anyway.
      I’m happy with my diet. Lots of lean meats/fish, plenty of veg, fruits, berries and my absolute favorite- nuts! I could find something to eat on just about anyone’s table.

      • I am not surprised by your facile defense of GMOs but just for the record:

        In regular cross pollination, the species being crossed have to be related . . . basically respecting their common evolutionary origin. But with GMOs, you can take any gene from any species and splice it into a crop. So you get fish genes in tomatoes. Just sayin’ -

        http://www.mnn.com/food/healthy-eating/stories/genetic-engineering-vs-selective-breeding

      • Seething is not healthy. I am neither a scientist nor ignorant (of course the ignorant are probably unaware of their condition) I as you though as a scientist to rethink your b.anket denunciation of GM alarmists like these:

        A Comparison of the Effects of Three GM Corn Varieties on Mammalian Health

        Joël Spiroux de Vendômois1, François Roullier1, Dominique Cellier1,2, Gilles-Eric Séralini1,3 

        1. CRIIGEN, 40 rue Monceau, 75008 Paris, France
        2. University of Rouen LITIS EA 4108, 76821 Mont-Saint-Aignan, France
        3. University of Caen, Institute of Biology, Risk Pole CNRS, EA 2608, 14032 Caen, France

        How to cite this article:
        de Vendômois JS, Roullier F, Cellier D, Séralini GE. A Comparison of the Effects of Three GM Corn Varieties on Mammalian Health. Int J Biol Sci 2009; 5(7):706-726. Available from http://www.biolsci.org/v05p0706.htm
        Abstract

        We present for the first time a comparative analysis of blood and organ system data from trials with rats fed three main commercialized genetically modified (GM) maize (NK 603, MON 810, MON 863), which are present in food and feed in the world…

         We conclude that these data highlight signs of hepatorenal toxicity, possibly due to the new pesticides specific to each GM corn. In addition, unintended direct or indirect metabolic consequences of the genetic modification cannot be excluded.

        …Physiological profiles are unique for each GM crop/food, underlining the necessity for a case-by-case evaluation of their safety, as is largely admitted and agreed by regulators. It is not possible to make comments concerning any general, similar subchronic toxic effect for all GM foods. However, in the three GM maize varieties that formed the basis of this investigation, new side effects linked to the consumption of these cereals were revealed. 
        Prof. Gilles-Eric Séralini is a molecular biologist at the University of Caen, team leader and author of books on environment and GMOs. He was expert for the French government (1998-2007) and the European Union at the WTO level and for the council of Ministers on GMOs (2003, 2008), president of the scientific council for independent research on genetic engineering (CRIIGEN), and receiver of Order of Merit for his scientific career (2008). Correspondence: criigen@unicaen.fr

        Dr. Joël Spiroux de Vendômois is doctor in medicine, specialist in environmental pathologies and co-organizer of the first European meeting on environmental pathologies.

        François ROULLIER is a statistician.

        Dr. Dominique CELLIER is a researcher in bioinformatics, co-organizer of a Master 2 in bioinformatics and statistics at the University of Rouen.

        http://www.biolsci.org/v05p0706.htm

        • Let’s just say that having had a relative in the AG biz has made me understand that the FDA regulates them as stringently as it would pharmaceuticals. And while it’s always good to follow up on releases, the lab you quoted used rodents which are prone to every malady. They should have tested on another animal that was closer to humans.
          Plus, I have no idea if the effect they saw was a result of metabolizing liver enzymes called CYPs. That’s a complication that the industry takes very seriously these days. Nothing approved by the FDA these days doesn’t pass thru a phalanx of CYP assays and still we can’t catch every one of them. That’s because everybody is different. Still, I’d rather take my chances with the newer pesticide GM combinations than what was available 30 years ago.
          Pharma and AG chem seem to be the only areas where new and improved is treated with more suspicion than the older, more hammer like, broad spectrum treatments in the past.
          Yeah, I would probably seethe because there’s nothing I can do to convince you that the newer stuff is better than DDT. You will believe what you will believe regardless of the science. I believe in healthy skepticism but there is nothing healthy about the paranoia over GM crops. People will believe anything they’re told. They killed the bees. They cause autism. They can get you pregnant. Ok, maybe that last part is an exaggeration but you know what I mean.
          NEVER rely on one or two papers. Always look for convergence and make sure you know what the regulations require as far as testing goes. You don’t need to be a professionally trained scientist. You simply need to be interested enough to train yourself. The information is all there

          • RD, in the past fifteen years, I’ve taken three FDA approved drugs that turned out to have a negative effect on patients’ hearts and were removed from the market. All three worked pretty well and I took the arthritis med for about five years.

            I wonder if those meds or the ones that I take now have anything to do with this onset of weakness and extreme and chronic fatigue that’s plaguing me now. After taking anti-depressants mostly on, but occasionally off, for thirty years, I know first hand how tiny little pills can make an enormous impact on our bodies’ systems.

            I’ve been a cooperator with traditional medicine most of my life but something needs to change. The last thing that I’ve attacked is my diet and I want to know what’s in what I eat. Marking something as GM does nothing but give people a choice which we should consume.

            I don’t know if it’s a medication, a food, a toxin that’s turned on my body. Maybe it’s even my own body that’s done so but I’m determined to consume or expose myself to as few toxins as possible and adequate labeling will help that.

          • Thanks for your response RD. It seems that you don’t give me or others who see a potential down side to much credit for our intellect (“the new stuff is better than DDT?”) The study above calls for more study. In the mean time we in California will get to vote on GM labeling.

            Now that massive application of Roundup to “Roundup Ready Corn” has created pesticide resistant super weeds, the government is poised to allow a shift to massive application of 2,4-D to “2,4-D ready corn.” See a pattern here?

            Long-term animal studies of 2,4-D’s chronic exposure have shown effects on the blood, liver, and kidneys (EPA, 2007). Studies have also revealed slight chronic symptoms including a reduction in weight and changes in blood chemistry (NPTN).
            It is observed to be a developmental toxicant. Some observed effects are increased gestation length, skeletal abnormalities, and effects on the thyroid and gonads (EPA RED FACTS, 2005).

            http://eatdrinkbetter.com/2012/02/21/new-monsanto-dow-ge-crops-big-mistake-bad-idea/

            March 2012: NRDC has filed a lawsuit in federal court against the EPA for its failure to respond to a petition to ban 2,4-D, which comes on the heels of aggressive pushes by agricultural biotechnology companies eager to win U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) approval of newly engineered and pesticide-resistant crops. Dow Agrosciences is petitioning to deregulate its 2,4-D-resistant genetically engineered crops with USDA, for which the agency is currently accepting public comments. NRDC strongly recommends that the U.S. Department of Agriculture not allow new 2,4-D Ready crops on the market and is requesting the Environmental Protection Agency prohibit the use of 2,4-D

            http://www.nrdc.org/health/pesticides/2-4-d.asp

            April 2012: Federal Register | 2,4-D; Order Denying NRDC’s Petition To Revoke Tolerances

            https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2012/04/18/2012-9106/24-d-order-denying-nrdcs-petition-to-revoke-tolerances#p-3

          • Rangoon: there is a reason why we had a Green Revolution in the middle of the 20th century. It was the introduction of pesticides that gave us such remarkable bounties. But what you see is a ramping up of more and more pesticides, I see as more careful targeting and selectivity of the crops and the pesticides. Instead of hitting the crops with a hammer, we’re going in with more subtle tools. This is also what is happening (or was happening before we all got laid off) in pharmaceuticals. We try to eliminate the side effects through more tailored construction of the treatment.

            If it turns out down the road that this doesn’t work or is truly as harmful as you say it is, they’ll stop doing it. And all of the mutations that have been made to the crops can be reversed. They have the technology. It’s not like we will be totally without options.

            One of those options may include going back to the old stuff, since the new stuff seems to be causing so much needless anxiety. And if that happens, I guarantee you that some rats with kidney problems will be the least of your worries. There is a reason why we tried to get away from the older pesticides.

            Or you could just buy all organics or raise your own crops. Give it a try and tell us what your yields are.

          • JeanLouise, maybe we’re all getting old. Our bodies lose the ability to breakdown certain substances over time. The first thing to go is our ability to break down lactose. But then we get insulin resistant and our thyroids get thrown out of whack and our hormones slow down to a trickle. You need to adapt to what you’ve got.

            That doesn’t mean GM crops are producing toxins that are affecting you. There would have to be extraordinary proof for that claim and I haven’t seen it yet. Besides, as I pointed out to Rangoon, to get away from modern GM foods, you’re going to have to grow it yourself. From heirloom seeds. If you can find them. Good luck with that and tell us how your harvest goes.

          • Many of us concerned with the potential negative effects of GMOs on our health and the environment are shut down by the “bounty” argument: “without GM food more people would starve”. If i understand you correctly, you are saying that one would have to individually farm their own to avoid GM food?

            Evidently this argument is not a slam-dunk with some scientists

            The Real Scoop on Biotech Spin Machines | Union of Concerned Scientists
            “failure To Yield” demonstrates that GE traits are not key to increasing yield, it makes little sense to promote GE crops to developing countries for that purpose. It makes more sense to offer primarily those methods–traditional breeding and agricultural system improvements—that account for most yield increases. There is every reason to believe these methods will work in developing counties, especially in those countries where increased food yields are most needed. A recent comprehensive United Nations report shows that organic and similar methods more than double yield in Africa—considerably more than GE crops. These other methods also have the advantage of being inexpensive compared to the cost of GE seed in many places (e.g. Indian or Chinese Bt cotton).

            http://www.ucsusa.org/food_and_agriculture/science_and_impacts/science/the-real-scoop/2009-entries/TRS042909.html

            PS I think as consumers in Europe (and California after November) vote against GM with their pockbooks the impetus to get beyond the “Biotech Spin Machines.”

          • Yes, the Green Revolution was all in our heads and the holocaust never happened either. Modern agriculture has definitely improved yields. I have no idea why the union of concerned scientists thinks it’s better to skip GE in the developing world. Maybe it has something to do with socio-economic conditions. Who knows?
            As for pocket book behavior, consumers are free to do what they want. If they don’t want GM crops, then companies will move on to something else. But just because a lot of people think something is harmful doesn’t mean that it is actually harmful. You know those parents who won’t vaccinate their kids because they think the shot will give their precious children autism? They’re completely wrong. This has been demonstrated in paper after paper, test after test. The British medical journal that touched off this reaction by publishing a paper from a doctor who was in on an insurance scam had to retract it. But some people just prefer to suspect the vaccine companies of lying. They will not be satisfied with ANY amount of evidence that their beliefs are wrong.
            That’s where I think you are headed. I’m getting the sensation that no matter how many mountains of evidence that shows that GM food is not toxic, you absolutely will not believe it. And at that point, we’re done. If you and your like minded friends want to take down the Ag business over this, I have no doubt you will be very successful. But it will not make you right. It will merely make you an irrational mob.
            In the meantime, you will probably have to farm to escape GM foods.

          • I have read that the green revolution was achieved by many things at once, irrigation in some places, plant breeding for higher production, more intensive fertilizing as well as pesticides. And also agricultural engineering (much improved soil preparing/tilling/cultivating implements, seed drills-planters designed to place seeds exactly at best distances from eachother, etc.) which has been somewhat undercredited for its role in production gains.

            It should be fairly easy to avoid “genetically modified foods” actually.
            Huge-market crops like corn and soybeans have been GMd in various ways so you would have to pay more to buy organic corn and soybeans and/or cornsoy products which are being grown in smaller but still real quantities by professional farmers who sell into markets which are prepared to pay more. Or you can buy soy products from Japan which I believe still outright and totally bans the import of any GMd soybeans. And farmers are still mass producing “traditional” soybeans whether organically or not for the Japanese market. Perhaps we will have to start referring to “traditional conventional” seedlines as GT for “Genetically Traditional” or some such designator. And all manner of lesser-market crops have not been GMd at all yet, so one could eat those. Things like many kinds of beans and peas, many obscure grains (teff, quinoa, amaranth, kamut,
            etc.), and many vegetables and fruits.

            Most European countries still ban GM seedlines from their conventional agriculture so far as I know, and their conventional agriculture still remains high-yielding with their conventional methods.
            How European organic compares to European conventional for yields I don’t know.

            About animal models, if there are more “humanoid” models than mice and rats for testing GM foods on, those foods should certainly be tested on those more “humanoid” models if they have been found to cause problems in the fast-breeding easy-to-use rats and mice.

            About the possible example of bean plants with daffodil genes engineered in to produce “deerepellent essence of daffodil” , I would not in principle object to eating them If They Were Tested for human
            safety.

          • Jeanlouise, I have had episodes of extreme fatigue over the years. The one thing that helped, and I know it sounds counter intuitive, was/is exercise. Start with short walks if it is possible for you to do so and then build up your time and distance. You may be exhausted when finished and need to lie down. But over time, if it works for you as it has for me, the chronic fatigue will lift. Hope you feel better soon.

          • Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb…

            A Month Without Monsanto
            April Dávila wondered what it would take to cut the GMO giant out of her family’s life. She found that it was far more entrenched than she’d ever realized…

            http://www.yesmagazine.org/planet/a-month-without-monsanto

        • This one is for you, Rangoon.
          The seethers can be just as bad. ;-)

          • Ha ha. Yes, I can see I’m “Storm” and are you my antagonist? It’s that condescension that only the Comic Book guy possesses within The Simpsons universe that is classic “I know better than you, rube” demeanor that oozes from his being.

          • I don’t know what you do for a living but whatever it is, wouldn’t you be a little pissed if someone who didn’t share your level of experience started bloviating stuff you know are misunderstandings, myths and the truthiness of the anxious?

            I spent 10 years married to someone who worked in the Ag business. He says that the FDA is as strict with Ag as it is with big pharma. That doesn’t mean a catastrophe of global proportions isn’t possible but I think it’s probably much more remote than you think. And the FDA tends to be pretty strict these days, requiring many, many very expensive tests to verify safety.

            But as the poet says, I could have saved myself 10 minutes for all the good it does. You simply will not believe it.

          • I’m a retired San Francisco Firefighter with forays into accounting and education and now I’m sort of a professional actor. I do get pissed off when people blovate truthiness I guess; but you’re fun to argue with cause your smart, although saying that you know that the FDA is strict because your husband worked in AG Is kind of weak IMHO.

            “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!”
            -Uptown Sinclair

        • I’ve done bioinformatics. The best it can do is predict. Fortunately, we have assays for that.

          • RD, I can barely walk a hundred yards without stopping to sit or, at least, lean on a wall because I can’t catch my breath, my heart is pounding out of my chest and I’m dripping with sweat. I am, as of yesterday, fifty-nine years old. Do not presume to tell me to “adapt” to whatever is causing me to waste a day in NYC, sitting in my hotel room because I don’t have the energy to even walk to the elevator and through the lobby. This is not normal aging. It is not my heart or lungs which have had cadillac testing. Nor is it my thyroid, my iron nor menopause. I have diabetes which is hereditary and has always been controlled by diet. But I can’t walk a hundred yards without stopping to rest.

            I appreciate that you’ve allowed me to dissent on your blog but your response to me was arrogant and uninformed. Pharmaceuticals can heal or they can kill. Toxins negatively affect some people and have no impact on others. Labeling genetically modified food is little different than labelling food that would make those with celiac disease or a peanut allergy extremely ill. You don’t know what it does to human beings and neither do I. Labeling it is only a first step but we can’t take a second step without taking that first step.

            Your knee-jerk defense of pharmaceuticals and all things scientific may well be a result of hanging around rabid anti-corporatists but that’s no excuse for forgetting that I’m a human being who is facing a serious illness which may be related to the effects of pharmaceuticals and/or toxins that are contained in food, water or the air. Telling me to “adapt” to what I’ve got was a shitty and stupid thing to say.

          • I think you misunderstood what I was saying. I’m saying that GM crops are probably not responsible for your current physical condition. Only that, like most people, our bodies turn on us as we age and we are prone to diseases related to getting older. I’m not going to lie to you and go along with your idea that it’s GM toxins that are responsible for your problems. That would be misleading and irresponsible because you might not seek appropriate medical attention. People need to get a grip about GM crops. Labeling might ease your anxiety but it’s probably not going to fix your breathing problem.

            If you’re that sick, you need to see a doctor.

          • Jeanlouise, I am sorry. I didn’t realize how bad your symptoms are. Obviously starting a walking program is something that has to wait for you, until you can find out what is causing you to tire so quickly. I am assuming your doctor has done testing to see if you may need to control your diabetes with medication now? Have you had a stress test and all that good stuff?
            I hope you find a solution soon.

          • JeanLouise,

            Two questions:

            Have you had any kind of joint or hip replacement surgery done in the past? If so, you should consider having a blood test done for heavy metals. Artificial joints often contain titanium and chromium (heavy metals) to make them more durable, but the continual wear-and-tear on them as you move can release titanium and chromium ions into the bloodstream. For some people, the result is heavy metal poisoning, which causes extreme fatigue.

            If not, then have you been tested for auto-immune diseases, such as Sjogren’s syndrome or lupus? Both those diseases cause extreme fatigue, among a lot of other symptoms.

          • RD, I believe that I made it quite clear in my comment that I’ve seen a doctor. How else would I have had the extensive testing that I listed?

            Nor did I say that GM foods caused or even likely caused my current health problems. My point was that I trusted the FDA for decades and was prescribed three different drugs that were pulled from the market because they killed an unacceptably high number of people once they were in use in the general population. Seven-year-old girls are growing breasts – hormones in milk cows? Insisting that the Department of Agriculture or the FDA is working for the average citizen instead of Monsanto is ridiculous. I’m trying to be responsible for what I’m putting into my body but the government has to do its part by requiring accurate and detailed labeling. If I don’t want to risk eating GM foods, I should not be forced to do so because the FDA doesn’t want to negatively impact Monsanto’s share price.

            Sometimes you’re wrong, RD. Yes, it does happen and this is one of those times.

            teresainpa, I’ve had extensive testing and the results are all within normal ranges except for an abnormally high indicator of inflammation. My A1c diabetes indicator hasn’t been out of line since I was diagnosed seven years ago. My doctor and the specialists that she has sent me to are stumped. Suspicions that I had heart damage from those recalled medications or COPD were not borne out by the tests.

            Nakajima Kikka, I’ve never had any joint replacements. I have gone to an holistic MD who thinks that I am particularly sensitive to the metal in my old fillings and in the environment as well as being allergic to grains. I’ve mostly followed the diet that she recommends and taken supplements for three months. I’ve lost weight at a reasonable rate but I’m getting progressively weaker. I haven’t been tested for autoimmune diseases. Getting all of these other tests has taken some time and I’ve put off doing anything further, hoping that the holistic MD would help. I remember looking up autoimmune diseases (my grandmother died from scleroderma) but my symptoms didn’t seem to fit. I’m going to my traditional MD on Monday and I’ll ask about autoimmune diseases. At this point, I’m willing to try anything.

            Thank you, teresainpa and Nakajima Kikka, for your concern and your suggestions. It’s a scary situation.

  5. This. My family is pretty difficult but my friends are easy.

    One family member has celiac and another has a severe dairy allergy and I don’t mind making everything accessible for both of them. Usually they are not both around at the same time, which helps. I love them and I want them to be able to relax and enjoy the party/holiday without having to ask what is in every snack. It can be done and the result is everyone having fun without any trips to the hospital. Win/win! I would also add that neither of the family members with restricted diets expects everything to be accessible to them.

    But then there are the family members who won’t eat fish (swims in own pee) won’t eat anything but the plainest meat and potatoes while others won’t eat anything but cheesy-creamy tasteless crap. They whine if the holiday rib roast is rare, seriously! As if it can’t be fixed easily for individual taste. These ones are annoying and I bitterly resent cooking for them because they are more difficult than the family members with restricted diets.

    When I know about a guest’s dietary restrictions, I will work with them, even self imposed restrictions, like vegetarians. I’m more annoyed by calls from family members to ask what is for dinner and then explain to me why this or that dinner won’t work or what changes I should make.

  6. My husband’s parents had a power outage, so I volunteered to cook Christmas dinner for them plus husband’s sister and her kids. Audacious me, I decided we would have prime rib instead of turkey because it would fit with bakeable side dishes in our small GE wall oven. And hey, in my world, prime rib was something of a cadillac tradition. I’ve hardly ever gotten to have my own traditions since I spend most of my holidays with my husband. So I wanted to do it this time only. And really, who would choose turkey over prime rib, after just recently having turkey for thanksgiving?

    My choices were fine with the parents who know how hard it is to host a family gathering, but all heck broke loose with SIL and family who happen to NEVER host family gatherings themselves. After getting an earful while standing in the frozen food aisle, and then crying right there because of it, I ended up buying a frozen turkey on Christmas Eve, along with all of the fixings that the family ALWAYS has, forget any of the things I was planning, and moving the dinner to evening so the turkey would have time to thaw and cook.

    Ultimately, this was all about change, which is really, really hard in this family of strict traditions. But nobody was thinking about the needs of the people who were doing all the work. In a million years, I would NEVER do to someone what they did to me.

    But I never had my SIL’s family for dinner again, and won’t.

    And yeah, if I invite people over, I send them the menu. I tell them I know about people’s eating preferences, so if they need something other than what I’m providing, feel free to bring it. I would definitely accommodate a health condition like diabetes, etc, but not a silly self-inflicted dietary choice — or a difficult personality.

    • Has been there in past — just like this. Horrible! Really on you. It was my mother in law, omg. Hell on me. Really. In the end Christmas was never my Norman Rockwell/Martha Stewart plan. I so tried. I did. geez.

  7. T, my SIL came to an elaborate Christmas Day brunch that had something for everybody and took into consideration my brother’s delicate stomach. She drank water. She never put a piece of fruit, a dab of egg casserole or a slice of Virginia ham on a biscuit in her mouth. There was tea, coffee, milk, fresh-squeezed OJ and champagne for Bellinis. She drank water.

    There was no explanation at the time and when I asked my brother about it later, he said, “That’s just the way she is”. If that’s the way she is, she can eat at home, imo. I’ve never invited them to a home-cooked meal again although my brother and I occasionally go to a restaurant together.

  8. Btw, I’ve been trying to eat paleo for a few months for health reasons (your dinner sounds fabulous, RD) but if I end up at a party or a dinner that doesn’t provide me with the foods that I need, I deal with it. I’m getting better at eating ahead of time. It’s been hard to get used to but it’s important to me and it’s my responsibility to make the adjustments, not my host’s.

  9. This approach to eating has been called orthorexia nervosa.
    http://www.orthorexia.com/
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orthorexia_nervosa

  10. Me, I’m on the you’ll-eat-what’s-on-your-plate-and-like-it side, but my partner is a gourmet cook.

    We were having a few of his students over, one of them a very shy vegan girl. She didn’t ask for special treatment, but he knew about her diet so he made everything vegan. I think he saw it as a challenge. And he wanted her to feel included.

    You should have seen her light up when she found out she could eat anything and everything. Her family is the sort who takes her to a steak house on her birthday. So this was kind of new for her. And very worth it, just to see how happy it made her.

    So, yes, when rude people don’t know the difference between a home and a restaurant, let them eat dog biscuits. But sometimes adapting to weird food requirements — and vegan is weird, no question about that — can have a point.

  11. I remember seeing an interview on Johny Carson’s Tonight Show at least 30 years ago where he was interviewing a gourmet cook/ reviewer/chef(?) of some kind. The gourmet guy was talking about how he enjoyed cooking under challenging conditions and to challenging requirements. He described a family(?) get together where one family member was dealing with newly installed dentures (or maybe all teeth gone and dentures not yet made?) and another member had diabetes and the challenge was how to make food that fit both of these sets of requirements but was also “good enough to eat” for everyone else. I can’t remember the solutions but they sounded creative . . . soups and pa-tays and mousses and so forth.

  12. Genetically modified organisms . . . the subject keeps coming up and it will keep coming up because it is important.
    My knowledge of science is college and post-college amateur level . . . interest in plants and gardening and a theoretical interest in some aspects of farming and soil processes.
    I believe the general understanding of GM is referring to methods of genetic engineering whereby sequences are exerted from one species genome and inserted into another’s genome when those two species are too unrelated to be cross-breedable or hybridizable. Those species are separated by what is called a “species barrier” and Genetic Engineering gets a sequence over, under, through, and past all the “guards and gates” which would exclude any such sequence if it were delivered by classic pollination or insemination methods. To refer to classical breeding/selection/hybridization as “GM” seems the sort of Luntzian language fostered by GM company spokesfolk who wish to blur the issues. Now, bacteria have been doing the plasmid shuffle and viruses have been shuttlebusing genes from species to species for millions of years at least. The GM engineers are seeking to move genes from species to species which even the plasmid shuttle and the viral express haven’t moved. So GM is quite different from the traditional methods operating under the iron restraint of species barrier uncrossability for thousands of years.

    What I have read of FDA oversight of GM is that if the GM is conducted for the purpose of getting the organism to express a metabolic product or output of direct nutritional or pharmaceutical interest . . . like bacteria engineered by Novo Nordisk to express various insulins . . . that the FDA would be very VEry involved. But if the GModification is for some agronomic or growth-feature purpose, like insect resistance or herbicide tolerance, that is not a “food or drug” issue and does not fall within the FDA’s ambit at all. Perhaps your relative was involved with the “pharmaceutical or nutritional” sector of GM?

    My thinking goes too slowly to let me say anything more now, but I will organize my memory and my thoughts and write some more tomorrow. I hope it will not be too awfully unwelcome.

    • Meanwhile, here’s a little article I stumbled across while random-walking the web…an article called: Genetically Modified Grass Linked To Cattle Deaths. Here is the link.http://wtvr.com/2012/06/24/genetically-modified-grass-linked-to-cattle-deaths/

      • (If this turns out to be accurate, the GMers may have more trouble than just a bunch of leftists. When cattlemen get mad, they get even.)

    • What I have read of FDA oversight of GM is that if the GM is conducted for the purpose of getting the organism to express a metabolic product or output of direct nutritional or pharmaceutical interest . . . like bacteria engineered by Novo Nordisk to express various insulins . . . that the FDA would be very VEry involved. But if the GModification is for some agronomic or growth-feature purpose, like insect resistance or herbicide tolerance, that is not a “food or drug” issue and does not fall within the FDA’s ambit at all. Perhaps your relative was involved with the “pharmaceutical or nutritional” sector of GM?

      My knowledge of the Ag biz tells me that this is not true. And no, the person I am referring to worked in insecticides and the bovine growth hormone area. The FDA is a pain in the fucking ass about Ag. For example, if you have genetically modified pigs, they want to know all about it. After you’re done with whatever it is you do with them, they can’t be eaten or adopted by a farm or anything like that. They must be destroyed.

      Now, it is absolutely true that if Novo Nordisk wanted to market a substance expressed by a bacteria, it would put that sucker through the ringer, but no more than any other substance. By the time it reaches testing phase, the protein or whatever, has been purified to death. But in the lab? No one from the FDA is looking over our shoulder when we stick human cancer genes in e coli and express them. I know because I used to do it. You’d be surprised what you can engineer.

      But this concern over genes and species is probably overthought. Genes are just a string of nucleotides. They don’t mean a whole lot when taken out of context. You’ve probably heard of the goats that express spider silk in their milk. Just because they’ve got the gene that causes them to express silk doesn’t make them part spider. It would take a lot more engineering to make that kind of transformation. In fact, picking out one or two genes wouldn’t be enough. You’d have to go for chromosomes and once you do that, the animal is no longer viable. You can’t mix chromosomes. But you can borrow genes.

      So, if you are an ag scientist and you want to make a better blah but you know that blahbeetles are a problem, you can borrow a gene from another organism to express a substance that the blahbeetles will not like. Like, it would be great if they could isolate the substance in daffodils that makes them so unpalatable to deer and stick the daffodil gene in green beans to keep the deer from raiding your garden. As long as the daffodil gene doesn’t produce something that is toxic to YOU, what exactly is the problem?

      Over a million years or so, there’s a possibility that the beans will come up with this mutation all on their own. Plants do it all the time. It’s part of natural selection. All Ag science does is help the process along in the lab.

      What exactly is the problem??

      I have no idea why the grass is killing the cows. Neither do the ranchers. They suspect a mutation, probably not an engineered one. BTW, did you know that clover can kill cows? Yeah, totally blew me away but I remember reading about it in Far From the Madding Crowd. Who knew?

      • Well, as a botanist, I knew. :D. Legumes, generally, have free amino acids, meaning weird ones not among the twenty we require and that are part of proteins. Some of those are VERY toxic, and some legumes are among the most toxic plants known. The free aminos can also be responsible for some of the gas associated with beans because they can lead to, sall we say, non-standard fermentation in the large intestine.

        As for the cyanide grass, that was bred, I heard. It’s not GM at all, strictly speaking. Plants have all sorts of interesting defenses against predation that can ramp up under stress, like drought, when they “want” to be eaten even less than usual.

        • Which non-standard amino acids are we talking about? (I never studied beans)
          BTW, do you know where the word fiasco comes from? I learned this when I was in Italy. A fiasco is a small bottle filled with beans that you put beside the fire in the evening. The idea is to gently cook them overnight. That didn’t always work so well.

        • I have read that beans also contain small amounts of human-nondigestible polysugars called “oligosacharides” which intestinal
          bacteria can digest, yielding gas. I went and found an article claiming it is so. How much of bean-gas might be due to these “oligosacharides”?
          http://ibdcrohns.about.com/od/otherdigestivediseases/f/beans.htm

        • I am not a botanist (obviously), but I did take some botany courses in college, including Systematic Botany under Professor Warren Wagner. I only got a C in the course (all my fault), but I do have inspiring and and/or amusing memories to this very day.

      • I ran across that grass-cows link at random on the James Kunstlerblog. Further down in that same thread I saw a pair of back to back comments that Tifton 85 grass isn’t GM . . . yes it is . . . so I wonder now. Here is a threadbit . . . “Tifton 85 Bermuda grass is not GMO. It’s an sterile F1 hybrid pentaploid [having five haploid sets of chromosomes]

        To make commercially viable F-1 Hybrids, you want them to be sterile, that way people are forced to buy new seeds each year because they can’t save the seeds. Hooray for technology that supports Monopoly!

        To create the sterile plant, they have to genetically-modify the hybrid in order to introduce the male sterility gene into each seed.

        There are a few ways of doing this, but they all involve something unnatural (either a chemical spray that alters genetic expression or a protoplast fusion in a lab).

        Tifton 85 is a sterile plant. Yes, it’s an F-1 Hybrid. But it’s also the product of laboratory genetic modification.” hmmm . . is it or isn’t it?
        If the problem keeps happening, enough ranchers might force an answer.

        But yes, there are natural poisons in natural foods and forages. Locoweed. And poison effects from traditional forages grown on minerally defficient or imbalanced or certain-minerals-excessive soil.

        • I m glad I started this! I’m not a scientist, but I was once a stand-in for a character who played one in a “B” horror flick. Wait. come to think of it, America, in the age of Obama, is starting to feel a lot like the set of that film…

  13. Aren’t there virtual dinner tables on the internet now? One would simply put either what they love to eat, or what they cannot eat, type it into the virtual dinner table webite, then the results get tabulated and person preparing the food would be given a readout of the most ideal foods to prepare, McDonalds!

  14. I got myself a certain regimen of eating since last year that led me to lose 74 lbs and keep it off. I enjoy what I eat and except for some evenings I never have to fight any urges to eat – I eat as much as I want. Last week, there was a family birthday – chinese food was ordered and I ate some chow fun that hiked me up 1.5 lbs. So, the following week when my birthday came I declared ingesting food is not how I want to celebrate it. We got together, I got presents, we sang and danced and no kitchen or restaurant was involved. I’ll stick with this tradition. To answer the question, I would not make demands on a host, just maybe avoid going.

    • Holy snot! You gained 1.5 lbs on chinese food?? Maybe it was the MSG. I’ve noticed that chinese food makes me swell the next day but it’s always excess water.

      • It was chow fun – it was the starch – which is bad for me.

        • Carbohydrates help you retain water in your intestines. Thus eating a high carbo dinner will cause you to “gain weight”…which you’ll immediately lose when you eliminate the waste…..

          The fact that carbs help your intestines retain water is the reason why when you go on a low carbo diet, you immediately “lose” weight. Most of the immediate weight loss is water…

  15. This was too funny this morning. Thanks for making me laugh and laugh RD. ps: Well my trusty laptop is on the fritz which made me have to revert to this ancient machine (the coolest one design wise) but it is archaic on interior and can’t do normal things like say blog, tweet, FB or nothing. I feel like I am staring into the void, except I feel better coming over to the Conf! xxoo! Frick. It’s all just frick in the mo. This was funny because I know whole groups of different foodies — just like the ones you are writing about! Personally, the GMO is teh scary overall. RD how come we can’t be in places like Norway, Sweden, France — like a dream…..or a wish. It just seems so civilized. ps: Brooke dirndl, LOLOLOL! Hope she is having the best time ever! psss: Katie Bird, I can see into FB but can’t make comments! Drat it all — like being locked outside a universe or something. Sends hugs to all at Conf & Co.

  16. My mind runs slowly but I searched my memory and ordered my thoughts and here is the longer comment I promised on this GMO topic. I’ll break it into three co-equal comments: first- memories of a conference on some politics and economics around GMO labelling, second-memories of a conference about possible GMO effects on human and ecosystem health and academic transparency and integrity
    in the Research Universities, and third- my thought about GMO present and future and also some particular replies to particular points. I won’t be able to bring many links here because of the destructive interaction between Microsoft Explorer and the rst of the programming running on this computer. Because of the way Microsoft explorer totally obscures from view what I am even typing as I type, there may be all kinds of mispellings too.

  17. First section . . .

    Many years ago I attended a one-day conference in Ann Arbor ( in the Michigan Theatre I think) about labelling of GMOs yes or no. I didn’t take notes. I only have some memories. There was a moderator. Among the notables were Professor Sandman now of Aurora, New York who does environmental communications studies and stuff, a Monsanto scientist, a mid-high level Free Trade Warrior from Tony Blair’s former government( not even former at the time),a staffer of some sort from the office of Missouri Senator Kit Bond, etc. etc. I can’t remember a lot of what was said, and shame on me for that. I do remember Prodessor Sandman’s part being about how people will accept certain levels of risk if they were told of the risk beforehand and decided they have freely undertaine the risk themselves. Whereas people become viciously embittered and resentfully hateful if they discover after-the-fact that they were stealth-volunteered for something or exposed to something without being asked first . . . no matter how small the risk. The presence or absence of respectful pre-invvolvement seemed to be the make-or-break difference. I remember the British panelist offering some vile and putrid blather in favor of Free T4ade. I don’t remember exactly what he said, but I am sure that if you were to feed a dog some ex-lax
    and eat thwatever the dog excretes, you would have the gist of what he said. I remember him saying that forced labelling of GMO content would somehow be against Free Trade. His presentation made me even more closed-mindedly hostile than I was going in. I don’t remember what the Monsanto scientist said, but I remember it sounding rather reasonable and sciency . . . and he seemed upright, honest, and true . . . in his engineers steel-frame glasses and White Lab Coat. And then the Kit Bond staffer talked about how forcible labelling of GMO content would be a tax and an unfunded mandate on foodmakers, and how it would be dumping too much information on a public already informationallly over-informed and intellectually and unable to handle yet more too-much-information.

    Then it was question-answer time. I forget most of the questions but I remember a question coming up about Percy Schmeiser, the Canadian Prairie famer who was being sued by Monsanto for allegedly growing canola with some of Monsanto’s roundup-ready genes in it. The Monsanto scientist farily suddenly got thin-lipped-pissy (the way Obama sometimes gerts nowadays) and said something like: “if anyone using our patented genes should rightfully pay us for that, and if they try to use such private property for free, they are stealing”. And I thought, now WAIT a minute . . . isn’t this man a scientist? Isn’t he here to answer scintific questions? What bussiness does he have answering a question of law and litigation and property? It wasn’t till some years late that I discovered through more reading just what this Schmeiser case was about and what I learned reallly made me think that this scientist was talking Monsanto’s book, and in a manner either uninformed or dishonest.

    And here is what I learned: Schmeiser had been farming for 40-some years and many of those years he had been growing the oilseed crop canola. He had spent about 40 years refining his own canola genetics for best performance in his own farming operation.
    He was farming organically to be able to sell organic canola for an organic price into the specialty organic market. He discovered that
    his canola had become conTAMinated with UNinviited and unASKEDD for Roundu-Ready geneits from his neighbors’ RR canola. How did he discover this? When he used some roundup to kill canola on a non-organicically certified part of his property around some telephone poles or something. And the canola plants did not die. He kept using his own decades-saved canola seedlines deSPITE suspecting them of being RR contaminated because he was not going to throuw away 40 years of his own selection work just to be rid of the RR gene-contamination. He didn’t use Roundup in his farming operation so the RR contamination of his own “Schmiesernola” if , if you please, was a bug at best, certainly not a feature.

    Did the Monsanto scientist not know any of this? Was the Monsanto scientist accepting on face value whatever his non-scientist bosses told him about what farmer Schmeiser was or was not doing?
    Or did the Monsanto scientist know all about all these aspects of the Schmeiser case and then accused Schmeiser anyway, in oh-so-exquisitely not-so-many-workds, of stealing Monsanto’s patented genes and profiteng for free thereby?

    That incident left me with a bad memory which lingers to this day?

  18. Second Part: And I apologise again for all the mispellings Microsoft will cause me to do by masking what I type under its “peekaboo, can’t see anything” masking of what I type.

    Slightly fewer years ago I went to a conference about GMOs and human/environmental effects and effects on Academe at a venue near the edge of town. There was a Research Gene Engineer from Michigan State University ( one of the great Land Grant Universities) and there was Professor Sing of of the School of Human Genetics at the University of Michigan Medidcal School. And some other people.
    Professor Sing described the slow depletion of funds and constraining of budgets hitting Univerisities starting in the 1970s. He dexribed the Dole-Somebody Act which allowed professors who doscovered certain things to be able to patent them. These newly-under-the-Act-patentable discoveries were called Intellectual Property Rights ( IPRs).
    They were causing professors and departments to withhod information from others in their field, which was constrictin the all-around-flow of information which scientists need to be able to extend eachother’s knowledtdge by doing research and thinking off of what eachother discover and establish. That was as a backdrop to the GMO issue in particular.

    Professor Sing thought that the IPR environment under the Dole-Whatever Act fostered the atmosphere of semi-secrecy and corruption under which GMO reserach could thrive and avance partiucla4r patents without systametic research into what human or environment harm these products might or might not be doing. He raised a for-example cluster of warnings around the advent of BT corn.
    Bt is not a toxin. BT is a bacteria (Bacillus thuringiensis) which produces the toxin. Academic reserach discovred this bacteria. Academic research and refinement invented the way to culture this bacteria and dormantise it into storeable applyable spores. The GM industry discovred the particular genes which coded for production of the toxin and inserted these genes into target plants. Why might this be a problem? Well . . . farmers apply Bt spores to particular crop areas IF they see a problem developing. The lepidopteran larvae ingest the dormant sportes along with the eaten leaves. The spores germinate in the larvaes’ gut, multiply, their accessory metabloic waste toxin kills the function of the larva gut and they stop digesting what they have eaten, stop eating more, and die. It is fairly expensive so it is only used where lepidopterans are an emerging problem. It is much favored by organic growers because it is not a chemical itself, it is dormant spores which only germinate after ingestion inside the caterpillar. That is non-broadcast enough that chances are good that the one-in-a-billion caterpillars who would be immune to Bt will never be exposed to it and will not be selected for. But once the Bt-toxin-expression gene is inserted into the working genetics of target plants, those plants will contain the toxin itself in some or all of their plant-body parts. When the caterpillar eats those parts it will ingest the toxin right there and die . . . unLESS . . . it is that one-in-a-billion caterpillars who happen to possess a Bt toxin immunity gene. But planting BT-toxi plants over a hundreds of millions of acres will expose
    trillions of caterpillars to Bt toxin, and some of those caterpillars will be Bt immune. In fact some are, and Bt immune lepidopternas are arising.
    These lepidopterans will not die from eating the expensive Bt spores any more either . . . so a valuable bio-pesiticde tool of great use to organic farmers has now been destroyed. That’s an environmental health problem.

    And human health? We are assured that since human and other mammals’ acid stomach environments destroy the spores AND?OR the toxin itself, humans and other mammals face zero risk; because the spores and/or the toxin itself are only active and effective inside the alkaline gut of the insect target. But how many humans drink bottles of antacid nowadays? Or eat proton-pump inhibitor tablets? Or are hypochloremic for some other reason? The Bt toxin will sail right through their acid-free stomach into their own alkaline intestings.
    And whth what effect? We don’t know. The science hasn’t been done.
    Which means the assertinon that there will be no human harm is based on zero reserach and zero evidence, and is therefor entirely unscientific. It really is entirely faith-based. That’s what Prof. Sing said. Made sense to me. (And of course as a hobby gardener and reader-of-farming-literature, I had already read-thought about the problem of selection for Bt immune lepidopterans.)

  19. Third part: GMOs now and future (boy there really are a lot of errors up above, aren’t there?
    Goes to show what MicroSheiss PissPoorer can do for you.)

    I have been an itty-bitty hobby gardener for years. I read farming and gardening and plant books. To an extent they are my literature of escape . . . my science fiction. I go every few years to Acres USA conference for ecological and biological farming. (They welcome organic farming but don’t limit themselves to that because they think strict organic farming rules out certain methods and chmicals which can be entirely benign and pro-eco-biolife if used properly.)
    What have I rad about Monsanto and GMO? Monsanto first got interest in GMO when their highly profitable patented herbicide chemical glyposate was going to come off patnent and go generic. There would go the high profits. So they found out how to make plants resistant to glyphosate and sell these plants very expensively as
    a “permission” if you will to use heavy amounts of glyphosate. The high price of the seeds would make up for the new low generic price of the glyphosate. They insist that farmers buying their RR seed either buy new seed every year or else pay a techology fee every year for permission to save the seed. That seems understandable. But they have focused on plants whose pollen spreads around for miles. Neighbors are getting contaminated by stray RR genetic drift. Monsanto sends trespassers to take sample of cropplants and if they find any trace of RR genetics they accuse the farmer of theft of the genetics and extract payments from the farmers under threat of lawsuit. Most farmers pay up. Farmer Schmeiser would not pay up. He eventually countersued Monsanto in a Canadian court and got established the principle that if the stray-gene contamination was Monsato’s gene, it was Monsato’s fault for letting the gene stray, and farmer Schmeiser owes Monsanto NOTHING. The question emerges as to how many other farmers have been willfully contaminated on purpose by Monsanto in order to be set up for extortion of payments in lieu of lawsuits. Is there organized extortion-racketeering going on here? Just recently Monsanto announced plans to release RR alfalfa.
    Exactly why? I am no expert, but I have read that alfalfa itself is considered to BE a weed supPRESSor due to the extreme thickness of its growth and thickness of its established perrenial stands. So why exactly would Monsanto release an RR alfalfa if the RR feature is entirely and completely reDUNdant? Organic alfalfa growers think they are doing it precisely to contaminate their alfalfa with RR genes so that organic alfalfa buyers and organic cattlemen will no longer buy the RR-contamanted organic alfalfa. And the organic alfalfa growers will give in or go bankrupt. I was talking to an alfalfa-grower/callteman
    from prairie Canada who was as close to angry about this as Canadians are able to become. He told me about he he was part of a group who were organizing a lawsuit against this patent to bust this patent on the grounds that something has to be “usef” to be patentable and RR alfalfa is not “useful” to anyone but Monsanto. He told me about some of the deeply cryptic methods by which he and the other farmers in the suit and their lawyers were able to stay in contact with eachother without any Monsanto spies being able to penetrate their security. (Of course this problem is also Organic Agricultur’s fault for treating the presence of one Monsanto helix in a million helixes as icky icky poo and too dangerous to ingest organically.
    It has been suggested to the organic community that they really need to establish ways to distinguish between accidental GMO contamination as against willful GMO use. If they treat every bit of
    contamination as willful use, they will boycott themselves into suicide.
    It has been suggested that if they are not smart enough to see this, then they are too stupid to live, and they will die).

  20. Third part continued . . . because typing against microsoft became like looking into a strobe light . . .

    Weeds in RR fields of corn and soybeans are becoming RR. Neither Monsanto’s Roundup-brand Glyphosate nor anyone else’s Glyphosate kills them. They are not “superweeds”. They grow just like before. But Roundup doesn’t affect them anymore. So what exactly was the point of the Roundup Ready gene? To sell more soundup until the gene’s effectiveness wears off. Some more millions of dollars have been made.And meanshile? Dow chemical sees a gene-monoopoly-patent opportunity and a way to created a zone of protection around one of IT’S chemicals . . . ” 2,4-D”. I found an article about this on The Weather Channel, hardly a happy Hippy GranoLefty outlet.. (I’ll have to offer the link sub-comment because of Microshit pisspourer.) I have to say . . . I see a pattern here. If Dow is permitted to roll out iss 2,4-D ready crops till they be the weeds become 2,4-D immune, will Monsanto then roll out a line of crops immune to Atrazine? This looks like chemical ping pong between the chemical players to me, at the expense of farmers who will see more and more weedclasses beomce more and more herbicide pan-immune. I don’t know if this is what Lambert Strether would call classical rent seeking behavior by Monanto and now Dow, but it certainly smell smelly to me. Its “shit like this” that stirs a lot of bitter resentment over GGMO engineering right there. I would like my food GMO-labelled so I can decide whether or not to boycott it based on economic warfare reasons against One Percenter GMO-using rent- seeking fee-extraction behavior.
    As to safety, the gelief is stated that GMO products are of course safe and extraordinary claims otherwise need extrordinary proof. By now I am becoming so frustrated trying to type in the teeth of this god dammed microsoft disfunction that I am jsut giving up completely.
    I had more to say but thatnks to God Damned Microsoft, I am giving up now. Maybe I will try typing in detail about professor Donald Huber’sof Purdue University and his work in this field, but I am just giving up now. Microsoft has worn me out.

    Maybe later.

    • Link to article about Dow’s new corn (well thats just great. Now microsoft won’t even permit links in a subcomment. Oh well . . . the article is titled: Dow’s New Corn: ‘Time Bomb’ or Farmers’ Dream?)

  21. I am too worn out dealing with Microsoft Explorer. I have nothing to say on this subject until someone else brings this up again.

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