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It's New, It's Wonderful, it's....No Cry Onions!
October 16, 2002 2:17 PM   Subscribe

It's New, It's Wonderful, it's....No Cry Onions! from the nature.com website, scientists have identified the enzyme that causes a "tickling" of your tear ducts, ergo the ensuing crying. More genetically altered food - how are we feeling about this?
posted by djspicerack (36 comments total)

 
No cry onions: douse with lime or lemon juice after chopping. Known side effects include added flavor and increased consumption of Vitamin C.
posted by joemaller at 2:21 PM on October 16, 2002


joemaller- But I cry *AS* I chop.
posted by oflinkey at 2:24 PM on October 16, 2002


I for one have been growing increasingly concerned with the way maximum yield farming is heading. Granted, the richer nations now have an abundance of food - but a lot seems to happen behind the scenes.

Does it make sense that some foods are genetically modified so that they become resistant to the super-pesticides that are now being sprayed onto them? If you ask me, the Organic movement should be taken seriously.
posted by Resonance at 2:24 PM on October 16, 2002


This is more scary corporate bs.

I wish they would isolate the gene which makes me nauseous at the idea of genetically altering the food supply frivolously. And then give it to everyone.
posted by ParisParamus at 2:30 PM on October 16, 2002


It seems to me that onions making you cry is not a serious enough situation to warrant GM. I'd rather use one of the many known basic remedies (or my own personal one, which is to drink beer while chopping) than resort to tinkering with the basic building blocks of life on planet Earth.

And before anyone launches into how hungry third-worlders need GM food, at least one credible UN official disagrees.
posted by soyjoy at 2:30 PM on October 16, 2002


I use one of those little electric chopper things. No tears.
posted by tolkhan at 2:31 PM on October 16, 2002


But really, in a culture that applauds bo-tox, etc., this is not surprising.
posted by ParisParamus at 2:31 PM on October 16, 2002


i run water over my hands while i'm chopping, (wet wet onions) I'll try your trick joemaller, or on preview: soyjoy's.

True that Resonance, I try to only eat dumpstered food from organic grocery stores. (I do fail, a lot.)
posted by goneill at 2:35 PM on October 16, 2002


Me, I'm waiting for the big discovery that will forever change life as we know it...

There is an as-yet undiscovered enzyme that if included in the daily diet will cause your eyebrows to grow clear down to your knees. The enzyme is known as cousinitenase.

This will also be the death knell of computer face recognition software (although they also need to invent a computer with a face)

In a related story, Woman gives birth to her own twin red headed granddaughters who can feel your pain before you can

Anyone remember when reading "What's New" in Popular Science Magazine was exciting instead of nauseating?
posted by Fupped Duck at 2:37 PM on October 16, 2002


More genetically altered food - how are we feeling about this?

Ever eaten a seedless watermelon?
posted by yhbc at 2:37 PM on October 16, 2002


Ever had a seedless watermelon (or a tearless onion) try to eat you?
They are growing eyes.
posted by anyasar at 2:49 PM on October 16, 2002


Ever eaten a seedless watermelon?

Yes, and it made me very sad. Watermelons are meant to be eaten in a way as to make a mess. You cannot make sufficient mess without seeds, which can be spit up to 66 feet plus. That's quite a radius for mess.

All this GM stuff is making our food more boring.
posted by meep at 2:51 PM on October 16, 2002


I fear no onion. I'm a cook by trade. If I'm crying while I chop, then I'm not chopping fast enough, and I get whipped accordingly. ;)
posted by Dark Messiah at 2:53 PM on October 16, 2002


I'm picturing a jingle....

[bob marley]

No Onion, No Cry,

No...Onion..No Cry


[/marley]
posted by jonmc at 2:56 PM on October 16, 2002


It's not exactly what the world has been crying out for


It is probably little known outside gardening circles, but what the (gardening) world has been crying out for for decades is a true blue rose.

Roses are the favorite flower, blue is the favorite color of a large percentage of those who concern themselves with flowers. Anybody who can combine the two will make an enormous fortune. Unfortunately the Rose family does not carry the true anthocyanin pigment, so the closest the crossbreeders have come is a pale lavender. It will be up to the genetic scientist (most likely working for Jackson & Perkins) to create the true blue rose.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 2:57 PM on October 16, 2002


Eating an apple in the Garden of Eden can give you knowledge. Flatworms seem to be influenced by ingesting "smart food". I know when I eat anything fresh (venison,lobster) it has the ability to make me high. GM foods must have an influence, we just don't know what it is/will be.
posted by JohnR at 3:00 PM on October 16, 2002


Umm...That link didn't work. Try this one. Flatworms
posted by JohnR at 3:04 PM on October 16, 2002


Ever eaten a seedless watermelon?

I'm pretty sure that seedless watermelons were developed via good old-fashined breeding and hybridization.
posted by mr_roboto at 3:08 PM on October 16, 2002


how are we feeling about this?

more importantly, what are we thinking about this?

(pet peeve)
posted by dagny at 3:15 PM on October 16, 2002


Human beings have always been most successful when we follow our wanton disregard for the way things were "meant to be". Inventing tools, building flying contraptions, playing rock music, splitting atoms, if there is a line we will cross it, and i think we are better off for it. With the increase of possibilities comes an increase in responsibility, and this is where we must be careful. If you take a look at evolution, however, you will see that these precious "basic building blocks of life on planet Earth" are ever changing, mutating on their own. We do the same thing today by breeding certain varieties of plants or animals with others to increase desired traits. Going straight to the building blocks seems to be the next logical step.
posted by sophist at 3:18 PM on October 16, 2002


I'm pretty sure that seedless watermelons were developed via good old-fashined breeding and hybridization.

So, rather than eliminating undesirable genetic traits via fast and straightforward means of genetic modification, we should do so by selective breeding and hybridization, a process that takes decades (if not centuries) to accomplish.

Also, instead of using high-speed Internet access, all of us should revert to 2400 baud modems. Abacuses rather than calculators. And we should only use wood fires to cook our food, rather than those newfangled ovens and microwaves.

Welcome to the future, ladies and gentlemen.
posted by Danelope at 3:34 PM on October 16, 2002


how are we feeling about this

I feel happy about this. I think it's great.
posted by moonbiter at 3:35 PM on October 16, 2002


Things that bother me:

1. The haunting knowledge of my own mortality
2. That I will be forgotten forever soon after I am dead
3. That the universe is vast and tosses us uncaringly as though we were leaves
4. That there is no justice this side of heaven, and that there is probably no heaven
5. That real understanding is impossible between two people
6. That onions have this weird enzyme that makes you cry when you chop them
posted by Hildago at 3:46 PM on October 16, 2002


Catching a buzz off of food is a neat trick.
posted by Blubble at 3:50 PM on October 16, 2002


So, rather than eliminating undesirable genetic traits via fast and straightforward means of genetic modification, we should do so by selective breeding and hybridization, a process that takes decades (if not centuries) to accomplish.

Jeez; I wasn't making a value judgement: I just used "good old-fashioned" as a cute colloquialism. There are probably some applications for which selective breeding and hybridization are superior. For example, getting seedless varieties of plants typically involves the hybridization of two viably reproducing varieties to get the unviable seedless variety, like horse+jackass=mule. Genetic engineering doesn't help you too much here, since there's no germ line. Selective breeding is also useful for introducing completely novel traits (natural selection, after all, is an excellent mechanism for producing novel traits). It's also much cheaper, more accessible to farmers, and, frankly, it has a pretty solidly proven track record. Technology gives us many tools, but the development of new tools does not eliminate entirely the utility of the old tools. It is wise to use the best tool for the job at hand, rather than to be dazzled by the shiny appeal of a new technology.
posted by mr_roboto at 3:50 PM on October 16, 2002


I'm not wild about genetically modified food. I think that they are mostly safe. However, if they can take away an enzyme that makes you tear up, what if they accidentally create one that erodes your stomach lining, damages your liver or makes you dick fall off?

Seriously, the history of scientific development has been understandably filled with mistakes and unintended consequences. How much faith do you place in the chemists at ADM, Dow, DuPont, etc.

While I'm not an organic food nut, I prefer relatively natural things to more artificial ones. I prefer sugar over aspartame or sacharine, butter over margarine, and grease over Olestra.
posted by Blubble at 4:01 PM on October 16, 2002


Leaving aside all the obvious moral/technical/etc issues, it seems there's still one big question. Inasmuch as the 'tear' effect of onions seems related to their gustatory qualities, I want to know:

How Do they Taste?
posted by freebird at 4:37 PM on October 16, 2002


more importantly, what are we thinking about this?

Hear, hear, dagny!


Metafilter: I cry *AS* I chop.
posted by rushmc at 5:01 PM on October 16, 2002


Next week: sweet garlic.
posted by ParisParamus at 6:13 PM on October 16, 2002


A weird thing I've noticed is that contact lenses seem to protect me from getting onion tears. I only wear a lens in one eye (the other eye is "lazy" and there's no point in bothering to correct it), and when I chop onions, the lensless eye waters and stings like crazy, and the other one is fine. So I often chop onions with one eye closed, which is awfully goofy-looking.

I suppose putting on contacts just to avoid the onion tears is a bit extreme, though.
posted by litlnemo at 7:36 PM on October 16, 2002


litlnemo -- yep, that's a bit extreme. There are good reasons for getting contact lenses, though, such as looking like an ALIEN VAMPIRE!
posted by Hildago at 7:50 PM on October 16, 2002


Why on earth do they have a bloodshot eyes contact lens? Couldn't you get that effect just as easily by, um, chopping onions? The flames are cool, though. And the glow in the dark ones. The MIA ones are rather lame (nice cause, poor application).
posted by litlnemo at 9:21 PM on October 16, 2002


I think the act of cutting onions sends microscopic drops of stinging liquid flying at your eyeballs, which makes you tear up. If you close your eyes, or use a good enough shield like the ones you're supposed to wear when cutting wood, you avoid the effect completely.

Hildago's six things post was funny. :)
posted by Eyegore at 10:42 PM on October 16, 2002


Why is it so bad to cry? Do we really need a remedy for that? Just cry.
posted by edlundart at 11:22 PM on October 16, 2002


The thing that boggles me here is that scientists would spend countless hours finding out how to make a 'no more tears' onion when, jeez, it's not that big a deal.

I chopped an onion into my pasta sauce tonight, cried a bit, thought no more about it...is this worth millions of dollars of R&D research to prevent or am I a hopeless luddite?
posted by backOfYourMind at 5:27 AM on October 17, 2002


Before I got hip with electricity and bought my Chopomatic, when chopping onions, I wore my chem lab goggles.
posted by tolkhan at 7:10 AM on October 17, 2002


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