For all those who celebrate the “French way of life,” whatever that may be, which seems to be associated for some with sensuality, have a look at today’s news: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/27/world/europe/thousands-march-in-france-against-gay-marriage.html?_r=0.
150,000 people converged in the center of Paris to protest gay marriage. And then what? Did they dine at a lovely neighborhood bistro? Enjoy a three star meal? Shop for artisanal products at Rue Boisvert?
I think that any reporting on French food and culture might also include, in addition to celebrating gustation, the deep conservatism needed to produce traditional food.
Meanwhile, stateside, the lead story in today’s NYT Business section, which is where the best food stories often appear, we find this story about GMO food: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/27/business/food-companies-seeking-ingredients-that-arent-gene-altered.html?ref=business.
Protestors are critical of Monsanto for selling genetically modified seeds that create higher yield for farmers. This despite there being no scientific evidence that GMOs are harmful in any way. From the article: “Regulators and some scientists say this poses no threat to human health, but a growing number of consumers are demanding increased information about what is in their food, whether it is gluten or genetically engineered ingredients.”
What’s happening is a unique convergence of fearful and suspicious consumers and marketers who want to sell stuff to them. From Slate: http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2012/09/are_gmo_foods_safe_opponents_are_skewing_the_science_to_scare_people_.html.
Further, most of what is used to cook or what is eaten GMO. From the article, see below.
The article notes that companies are, um, cropping up that will sell non-GMO at higher cost. It’s a business plan based on consumer fear.