Friday, July 21, 2006

Mighty Rad Gumbo

She's cooking gumbo

A mighty rad gumbo

Its the only way she can go

Down at the Club Rad Gumbo

Oh no, no escargot, no cordon bleu

This aint the place to go lookin for beef stew

But if you like tender shrimp and rice

If ya think ya can stand the spice

Shes cooking gumbo

A mighty rad gumbo

Gumbo.  The recipes vary in their ingredients but one constant is rice, that staple food for much of the world.  But not all rice is being grown for the purpose of providing such sustenance.

Ventria Bioscience has developed genetically engineered rice with a very distinct purpose.  Specifically, the treatment of diarrhea.


Ventria has developed a strain of rice that produces two proteins found in human breast milk. The proteins can speed recovery from diarrheal illnesses, which annually kill 2 million children, most in developing countries. ...

After attempts to grow the rice in California met with objection from local rice growers, the company set out to find another location.  The concern of the growers is that the genetically modified crop will contaminate the local crop.  There has already been evidence to show that, at least in some cases, this will occur.  

... Two years ago, after pharmaceutical seed fouled corn and soybeans in Iowa and Nebraska, the Agriculture Department imposed new rules that included more inspections, dedicated equipment and buffer zones.

Ventria is now considering several locations.

Of late, the state of Kansas has been attempting to woo Ventria in the hope that the company will choose the state as the site of the rice crop.

A Topeka-area economic development agency has proposed $2.25 million in incentives to encourage Ventria to build a $10 million rice processing facility there.  Private investors and a Kansas state biotechnology agency are considering adding to the offer, according to Doug Kinsinger, president of the Topeka Chamber of Commerce.

It is hoped that these efforts will lead to eventual large scale production.

Officials in Topeka hope that a Ventria processing plant would eventually provide a market for as much as 30,000 acres worth of Ventria's special rice, which would be grown by Kansas farmers.

The thinking is, apparently, that since there is currently no rice being grown in Kansas, the danger of contamination with other rice is small.

Unlike California and Missouri, Kansas has no rice industry -- and thus no rice farmers anxious about the marketing problems that genetically modified crops sometimes bring.

However, even a few minutes of googling will reveal that several nearby states have, at least in some cases, extensive rice production.  Texas and Arkansas are amongst these.  So the potential for contamination is present.

Ventria president Scott Deeter had this to say, in part:

"Without political leadership, a small minority of activists and noninterested folks can derail something like this. Luckily, as far as we can tell, that leadership is in place," he said.

Yep, Mr.Deeter, that's called grassroots action.  Learn to live with it.

GMO contamination is a growing problem. Here is a list of strategies to help. PDF file

I'll leave you with a nice crock pot gumbo recipe:


A gumbo recipe for the crockpot.


1/3 cup flour

1/3 cup cooking oil

3 cups chicken broth

12 to 16 ounces smoked sausage, sliced about 1/2" thick

2 cups chopped cooked chicken

2 cups diced cooked chicken

1 to 2 cups sliced okra

1 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped green pepper

1/2 cup chopped celery

4 cloves garlic, minced

salt, to taste

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper

boiled white rice


For roux, in a heavy 2-quart saucepan stir together flour and oil until smooth. Cook over

medium-high heat for 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium. Continue to cook,

stirring constantly, for about 15 minutes more or until roux is dark reddish brown.

Let roux cool.

Add chicken broth to a 3 1/2 to 6-quart slow cooker. Stir in roux. Add sausage, chicken, okra,

onion, green pepper, celery, garlic, salt, pepper, and red pepper. Cover and cook on LOW for 8 to

10 hours, or HIGH for 4 to 5 hours.

Skim off fat. Serve with hot cooked rice.

Makes 6 servings.




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