Our kitchen is divided over the Foie Gras Ban that is about to occur at the end of dinner service tonight here in California. One of our event planners is indulging in a 30 course foie gras tasting menu in Pasadena and a couple of our cooks suggested filling up our walk-in before the law takes effect so that we could then serve up this delicacy underground as if we were a speakeasy. The fine I hear will be $1,000 for every plate served.
If you’ve never tasted foie gras, because most people haven’t, and you’re wondering what all the fuss is about, it has the consistency of a perfect velvety mousse with the mouth feel of butter. Eating more than a couple tablespoons would make you feel like an unsupervised kid on Halloween. Personally, I do admit that I am mad for mousse prepared perfectly and butter is my favorite food group but grabbing a duck by the neck and thrusting a long metal pipe down it’s throat for mealtime so that it’s liver becomes enlarged ten times what nature intended it to be seems like a punishment more appropriate for Jerry Sandusky. What did that duck ever do to anybody?
But while we're on the subject of abuse, let’s not overlook the massive cruelty imposed in corporate farming. This topic is covered extensively in the documentary Food Inc, a dvd I wrapped unassumingly and gave to my fast food loving father a couple birthdays ago. It made him pause. Most Americans are obliviously eating away at the demise of small family farms and healthy, humane agriculture when it is so simple not to. We have choices.
I am not proselytizing a vegetarian diet, I am co-owner of a catering company that gets in whole animals every other week. However, I do stress the importance of knowing where your meat comes from and how it is raised. Yes, it is definitely more expensive to support humane agriculture and by golly it should be. There is more time involved, more labor, and more space needed, not to mention the costs of quality feed. Small farmers and their staff must make a living wage and they need our support. If you can afford an I Phone then you can afford to pay $18 for a whole organic free range chicken rather than reaching for the much cheaper Tyson brand. Your shopping choices have the power to create a movement away from corporate agriculture. Why limit our focus to inhumane duck farming? There is far worse going on in the beef and chicken and pork industry.