Skip to comments.Big food fight over a little chopped liver
Posted on 11/11/2005 10:08:58 AM PST by Graybeard58
CHICAGO -- In the city once known as the world's slaughterhouse, restaurants, politicians and animal rights activists are worked up over a goose liver delicacy.
A proposed ban on foie gras has divided Chicago's fine restaurants and stirred a two-pronged debate: whether it is humane to force-feed geese and ducks to plump up their livers, and whether politicians should be telling diners what they can and cannot eat.
"Our laws are reflection of our culture, and in our culture it's not acceptable to torture small animals," said Alderman Joseph Moore, whose proposed ordinance would affect at least 19 restaurants in Chicago, by one count.
"I never thought this would happen in my lifetime. It feels so politically driven," said Rick Tramonto, the chef and owner of the four-star restaurant Tru. "We're the meatpacking part of the country. We're the Midwest. We're farming states. It's strange to me that this is happening."
A City Council committee approved the ordinance last month, and the full council could vote this month. But Mayor Richard M. Daley has made it clear he does not like the idea of banning certain foods, grumbling, "Pretty soon, you can't drink."
Rich and buttery, foie gras, pronounced fwah-GRAH and French for "fat liver," often is served sliced and pan-seared, frequently with fruit or atop greens or a cut of steak or veal.
To fatten the liver of waterfowl, a tube is inserted into their throats twice a day and partially cooked corn is pumped down the esophagus. Only three foie gras farms -- two in New York and one in California -- operate in the United States.
"Force-feeding birds to have livers up to 10 times their size is appalling and most citizens are shocked to learn this," said Gene Bauston, president of the animal rights group Farm Sanctuary, which is part of a worldwide movement against foie gras.
But Guillermo Gonzalez, who owns operates Sonoma Foie Gras, a foie gras producer about 80 miles east of San Francisco, contends the process is not abusive.
"The images using a tube to feed is duck is not pretty, but the fact of the matter is the anatomy of ducks and geese are perfectly adaptable," he said.
Several Chicago restaurateurs oppose the ban and say they do not want politicians meddling with a product steeped in tradition. However, Charlie Trotter, Chicago's most famous chef, has stopped serving foie gras at his namesake restaurant. And Bistro Campagne's chef and co-owner Michael Altenberg also dropped the delicacy, after a customer sent him a DVD produced.
"This is outright cruelty," Altenberg said. "It's cruelty just for gluttony."
In October, a restaurant that serves foie gras, Cyrano's Bistrot, was vandalized after its owner testified against the proposed ban.
California is the only state to vote to ban the force-feeding of birds to produce the gourmet liver product, passing a measure that would end the practice by 2012.
Israel, the world's fourth-largest producer of foie gras, also banned production of the delicacy on the grounds of cruelty.
France has stood firm. About 80 percent of the world's foie gras comes from France. French lawmakers last month unanimously passed an amendment pronouncing foie gras part of France's cultural heritage.
I would vote in favor of the ban, simply based on the last sentence of the article.
It's the only legitimate reason that I can think of.
"When foie gras (pronounced "fooey grass") is outlawed, then only outlaws will have foie gras!"
Prolly use tubes because it's faster than having someone sit there all day and give pieces of corn to the bird.
Doesn't sound pleasant, but then neither does pulling a 14 inch rainbow trout out of the water, extricating the fish hook and smacking the fish against the rocks to stop it from flopping around,
'"Our laws are reflection of our culture..." said Alderman Joseph Moore'
Barely cogent moron.
Who cares about foie gras? What a boring non-issue. If you don't want to eat things produced like that, don't eat things produced like that. Don't shove the issue down our throats (how's *that* for a relevant turn of phrase? :)).
My guess is that what goes on in a Planned "Parenthood" clinic wouldn't give them a seconds pause.
Not that I have a dog (or goose) in this fight, but real men don't eat fooie grass. Gimme a rare T-bone any day.
Yet another example of government being shoved into our daily lives. Unasked.
Don't these idiots have something important to do? Or should we just eliminate their parasitic positions and send them out into the real world to find real jobs?
What next? No more oysters, because "our culture doesn't condone the eating of living bivalves"?
We'll all be condemned to eating sticks and grass that voluntarily committed suicide.
I know Guillermo Gonzalez and his wife and family. They are beautiful Christian people who came from El Salvador and became entrepenuers in America. Guillermo went to France to study the technology before settling in America and setting up Sonoma Foi Gras. He and his property have been viciously attacked by these animal lovers. They not only want to put him out of business and run him out of town, ruin all his hard work, they would like to see him injured if not dead. These are "animal" lovers, just not human animal lovers. Didn't God give Man dominion over the animal kingdom?