There are two types of people in the world: people who follow a recipe's measurements for adding garlic to a meal, and those who like garlic. If you tend to quadruple any calls for alliums in your food, you might celebrate news from Virginia Tech this week, in which researchers announced they've found a way to genetically engineer a more potent clove of your favorite stinky bulb.
The scientists also point out that the discovery could lead to milder strains of garlic, for those who are still learning to love the taste and smell. It all comes down to enzymes and metabolic pathways, which can be altered at various points in the growing process. The development could also be another step toward normalizing GMO foods for those who still mistrust them. Previous research has found that when shoppers know that foods are genetically modified, often by means of something as simple as a label, they become less suspicious of GMO foods overall.
Garlic in particular has had a strange time of it in 2020. The vast majority of the world's garlic supply is grown and processed in China, which is the subject of an episode of the Netflix food documentary Rotten. China has itself been joined in a trade war with the United States for much of the current president's term. American garlic farmers are thrilled, according to reports, and locavore advocates continue to urge shoppers to buy locally grown garlic whenever possible. However any of these developments shake out, the way we eat garlic going forward is sure to keep changing as well.