My favorite time of the year has arrived—there’s magic in the air, festive music pouring out of the radio and the anticipation of all the delicious dishes that will be shared with family and friends. The holiday season is upon us! Whether it’s Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, it is the time spent with loved ones and the traditions we create together that breathe the life and love into the season. With most celebrations, food is a key component. While your traditions may not be solely focused on food, I’m sure they include an element of community, gathering and eating. Food brings people together—together to cook, together to eat and together to just share joy and connection. With any food-centric holiday, certain care is required to ensure your family and friends receive the highest quality of ingredients possible. With all the meats, sweets and treats on tables across North America this season, it’s important to keep in mind GMOs are present in up to 80% of conventional foods.
Holiday recipes require special attention. Your homemade baked goods could easily contain genetically engineered corn and sugar beets—disguised as molasses, yeast or granulated sugar. With zucchini and yellow squash on the high-risk crop list and their “cousins” acorn and delicata squash on our monitored crop list, be sure to purchase organic produce when making your winter squash dishes. As you are prepping for your holiday gatherings and shindigs, it’s comforting to know that you can provide your love ones with wholesome and delicious non-GMO dishes by adding the Non-GMO Project Verified butterfly seal to your shopping list.
The season is about peace and good tidings—the same peace of mind should extend to our food as well. You shouldn’t have to worry about what is hidden in your heaping holiday platters. If your family’s holiday functions are anything like mine, they closely resemble an eating contest. The dining room is transformed into a buffet—meats and cheeses, cookies and fudge, and of course the token veggie platter! Holidays are the only time my Aunt Mary Kay breaks out her infamous clam dip and my mom whips up her delicious candy cane cookies! The best non-traditional tradition in our household would have to be our Christmas dinner centered around big bowls of homemade clam chowder and oyster stew to warm our bellies. I’m hungry just thinking about it!
The holidays hold a special kind of nostalgia that always brings a smile to my face. It’s the main time of the year we get to spend with family to revisit our favorite foods and festive traditions while giving them new meaning. If you are in need of some ideas and inspirations for kicking the GMOs out of your holiday celebrations, try my family’s favorite recipes above or tweak your own holiday dishes. Know which ingredients are commonly derived from high-risk GMO crops and for trusted non-GMO products, look for the Butterfly when grocery shopping this season. Our holiday traditions are what we make of them—so let’s give GMOs the boot and make our experience full of love, laughter and great food!