To Foie Gras Or Not to Foie Gras??
So that’s the question.
Although the overfeeding of geese with intent to fatten has been going on for about 5,000 years, something strange has happened in the City of Chicago, a city known for modernizing and industrializing the stocking and slaughtering of hogs and cattle. It was in Chicago that Upton Sinclair discovered the inspiration for his novel, The Jungle, where he shocked the public with the reality of the meatpacking industry.
So why would a city that was essentially built on the business of killing animals for food be the first city in the world to outlaw everyone’s favorite fatty goose liver?
As you all may know, the Chicago City Council approved a ban on Foie Gras with a 48 to 1 vote back in 2006. I hadn’t eaten Foie Gras when I found out about the ban last fall when it was all over the news. Yes, I am a big foodie and a chef, but I always thought that Foie Gras was one of those unreachable foods like Russian Beluga Caviar or Fugu (that Japanese PufferFish dish that can kill you). But then I started seeing it on the menu when I would dine out in San Francisco. Later, a fellow underground chef used it in one of his dinners.
So all of a sudden, Foie Gras, wasn’t so unreachable anymore! I tasted it an underground dinner, and WOW, I REALLY liked it. So I made a mental note to google it when I got home and that’s when I discovered Foie Gras’ dirty little secret. It is basically created by sticking a tube or pipe down the goose’s throat and hardcore force feeding it 4 times a day for 2 weeks. This causes the liver to enlarge, with fat, 10 times its normal size. Okay, that doesn’t sound too bad, does it?
Does this manipulation of the goose make eating foie gras an irresponsible and insensitive act? So if we shouldn’t eat Foie Gras, then should we stop eating veal and suckling pig too? And what about beef and chicken? I mean, don’t we hurry and fatten up cows and chickens to yield more meat in less time?
Ultimately, the whole animal slaughter business is hard to swallow. Even the biggest lovers of all things meat would cringe and perhaps even faint at the sight of a slaughtering. I once heard of a BBQ pit master that scoffed at the idea of a slaughter dinner, all the while throwing briskets and ribs into the smoker.
So you see, this issue raises a whole slurry of questions.
I consider myself a very responsible, sensitive, and socially conscious individual. I’m the guy that brings canvas bags to the market, gets on everybody’s case about recycling, and saves up for a biodiesel car. I eat cage-free egg omelets and I even like cats, a lot. But I also like the Foie Gras and I appreciate the right to eat it and especially to serve it.
On October 14th, 2007, we hosted an illegal Foix Grax Dinner Party on the South Side of Chicago.
See those Images HERE.