California Foie Gras “Rush” – Banned in California

Foie-mageddon: California in one last foie gras binge before statewide ban

“The idea of force feeding birds to enlarge their livers stretches back to at least Roman times when the author Pliny the Elder recorded it in the 1st Century AD.” – By Nick Allen, Los Angeles 3:57 PM BST 06 June 2012 Retrieved June 1, 2012

The culinary maximum of haute cuisine is foie gras for those who can afford it.  A friend in California called me a few days ago and told me about the run at restaurants on foie gras.  The ban on producing or selling foie gras in California was signed into law in 2004 by then Governor Arnold Schwartzenegger with an 8-year grace period for enacting the law. The result of the timing of the law is that the ban went into effect July 1, 2012.

Picture this: Foie Gras bus runs to Lost Wages, Nevada or the other neighboring state Arizona.  No wait, picture this!  As during the December butter crisis in Norway, foie gras is smuggled into California in taxis. (Sure, why not?) Foie gras has doubled in price in the run up to the deadline of the ban.

What is foie gras and what is all the fuss about? Foie gras is French for “fat liver” and is duck or goose liver prepared from birds.  The method of making the fat liver is called gravage.  Animal rights activists say that Gravage is the problem, which is the force-feeding of ducks and geese corn through a tube down their throats to fatten their livers. There are many people who enjoy eating it immensely.

The controversy raged with such heights of passion that chefs have received death threats. (Mais non!) ‘One such chef, Chris Cosentino, has reportedly received death threats. In response he accused animal rights activists of having an “agenda for a vegan country.”’ – Nick Allen, in Los Angeles writing for The Telegraph

In another Telegraph article Rose Prince wrote, “force-feeding animals certainly makes governments squeamish. It is not permitted in the UK or in 12 other European states. It is also illegal in Argentina. Hard lobbying from pressure groups has also led to bans in former producing countries such as Israel and Turkey, and the EU is set to review its policy in 2019.” Rose Prince 7:00AM BST 03 Apr 2012

O my goodness, only in California could these events come to pass.  There were secret last minute dinner parties both public and private as many gourmands and chefs prepared the last foie gras laden menus. People have bought a years supply and frozen it. Others have already started to travel to Lost Wages and Oregon for dinner.  The only California foie gras producer was forced out of business.  Richard told me that people were even making foie gras ice cream.  (Strange. but true. Isn’t that milk fat + animal fat? Is that even kosher?)

And as Rose Price pointed out in her article, there are other foods on the menu that are not humanely produced. She writes on both sides of the issue.  Slow food is about the humane production of food and all domesticated animals are farmed for food.

If you are in the mood, I read there is fois gras on the menu at Travail Kitchen and Amusements – locally sourced.  They are closed for the month of July. A restaurant in Robbinsdale Minnesota.

What’s it all about?



About kunstkitchen

Visual artist and writer hunting words, languages, visions, and insight in my kitchen - connecting Art (Kunst) and culture and slow food cooking. Credits: Do not own a microwave oven and never have. Do not own a food processor. Chopped veggies in a Zen monastery for a weekend. (Seriously) Classically trained artist. Paint and draw with traditional materials. Live in the Northland where it's six months of winter. Appreciate the little things in life. Sharing food and art experiences and the lessons that my talented and generous friends have given me.
This entry was posted in Poultry, Slow food and art in the kitchen and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s