December 13, 2005

To foie or not to foie?

I have never liked foie gras... that is, until I had it at TRU, Rick Tramanto's Chicago restaurant. In fact, I didn't even like it the night before, at Alinea, when it was served there. I could certainly live without it, but the people who are militantly against it have come up with some kinky duck posters.

click to enlarge

In Belgium, an outdoor campaign is hoping to educate people about Foie Gras, that fancy sounding fatty liver dish. Apparently Foie Gras is made from the enlarged livers of geese and/or ducks who are force fed in captivity so that their livers dramatically expand. The campaign was supposed to run in 40 major Belgian railway stations but the railway company refused the posters because they are "too shocking" according to one news report.

(Via AdRants)

To be accurate, foie gras from fattened liver CAN be a natural thing: fowl preparing for migrations gorge themselves to get fat for the flight. It's one of those things that producers now exploit out of season, to the (alleged) detriment of the individual animal. For those who protest the practice as cruel, let's talk about your thanksgiving turkey, your christmas goose, the eggs you had for breakfast, or whatever animal you consumed for last night's dinner.

Last thing I ate or drank: coffee made in a French press. Just for the change of pace.

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  1. You should travel to the south of France sometime, to see the "gavage" -- that's how they fatten the livers; it's a very old tradition. They point the goose's beak up, stick in a funnel, and pour in food. Not exactly comfortable. But, as you say, none of the meat that we eat comes from particularly friendly and gentle sources. That's just not how it works to be a carnivore.

  2. Technically, though the process supposedly mimics the self-fattening the geese and ducks do, the gavage inflates the liver far beyond what they do to themselves.

    A duck would have a hard time migrating with a 1-lb. liver, and at any rate Muscovies (less commonly used ducks) and by inference Mulards (the most commonly used ducks, a hybrid between the Muscovy and Pekin) aren't migratory.

    Also, while the migration explanation is the most common, it has some holes. Female ducks don't produce what we consider foie gras. Surely they migrate the same way? And only a very few migratory waterfowl produce foie gras through gavage (just the ones used in modern production).


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