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By Catherine Taylor

From Radiance Winter 2001.


enetically modified foods: A pretty loaded, complicated, scientific topic, the kind of thing usually discussed in newspapers and science journals. Why, when a reader proposed an article on this subject, did we decide to go for it?

Well, Radiance is a magazine whose goal is to encourage women’s all-around health and happiness, including the enjoyment of wholesome, delicious food. We decided that it was time to tackle the latest debate about what makes food “wholesome” (and we’re not talking about skipping dessert here!). Part of what makes food pleasurable is the confidence that what you are eating is purely delicious. As consumers, we are beginning to ask—whether we’re eating a seasonal stir-fry or a scrumptious sweet—What’s in this?

For a long time the quandary for most of us was, Do I care whether it is organic? With rapid advances in biotechnology out in the fields, inside our cereal boxes, and on our dinner tables, the questions are becoming more complex, and, unfortunately, making some of us feel that we have no power over what we bring home to cook.

As women, we remain (statistics and our own experience say so) the primary foragers (shoppers) in this country (and we can garden, too). We do have a voice. We can understand the latest food issues, and we have questions to ask and choices to make. And, as women who are learning to truly care about and take care of ourselves, we deserve some answers here!

In addition to Marina Wolf’s tantalizing foray into her local farmer’s market, this issue offers a variety of information on this topic. We have the perspectives of three women: a longtime anti–GM foods activist and author well qualified to provide that perspective; a University of California, Berkeley, scientist whose view on genetically modified foods might be described as moderate; and a conscientious mother who has begun to do her homework and wants to share it with us. And we called on our favorite chefs, cookbook authors, and others who make food their business, to share their ideas with you.

Illustrations by Doug Dworkin are featured throughout the articles.



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