Friday, June 29, 2012

Beautiful Tomatoes

Aren't they beautiful!  Look at that rich red!  I just read a small bit in today's NYTimes that says genetic scientists have found (only now?) that the gene they added or enhanced to give tomatoes that beautiful color had another function -- guess what? No surprise to most of us -- it turned off a sugar making function that is necessary to give tomatoes the wonderful taste that those of us who are old enough remember.

It's a case of choosing beauty over substance -- I immediately thought of all those airbrushed photos of celebrities giving them such perfect skin, such perfect curves.  The sad part of the tomato story is that the gene changes are so pervasive it is almost impossible to find tomatoes that haven't been genetically modified.  If you're willing to play a lot of money and can find a farmer's market where heirloom tomatoes are sold you might find some with that lovely flavor.  But there a great differences in the heirloom tomatoes -- I've tried them.  Some are good, some are as uninteresting to eat as the ones in the supermarket.  Can anyone tell me an instance when commerce has chosen to keep something honest and natural when they can change a product, especially a food, to make it prettier?  And can anyone tell me why so many people think that something pretty is going to be superior to something a little less pretty?  Don't tell me about survival of the fittest being based on prettiest, it's just not true.

1 comment:

FOLKWAYS NOTEBOOK said...

June -- I realize that the food industry likes to play beautician with our food. But, I find even my middle age children can be turned off from veggies and fruit that have been tinkered with. I do find good tasting tomatoes (heirloom) at farmers markets. -- barbara