Friday was the day we went to Au Pied de Cochon, which you can see here in this YouTube video of
chef Martin Picard attempting to kill Anthony Bourdain of No Reservations with meat.
So, we had, among other things, controversial French delicacy foie gras. Fatty liver of duck or goose. This delicacy is controversial because it involves force-feeding the animals, which exploits a natural tendency these birds have to fatten up before migration. It softens and fat-ifies the liver, which, I can now attest, makes it taste uniquely delicious.
(As part of poutine, the dish of Quebec, and also as a Cromesquis de foie gras, which is kind of like a foie gras popper, served as a breaded, deep-fried, two-centimeter cube. The meat inside is liquefied. It is the texture of a very fine cream cheese popper and tastes sort of simultaneously like mushrooms, aged cheese, and meat stock. My conclusion is that it was more or less pure, concentrated umami.)
So, I am a monster, or the symbol of a monster.
I am not actually convinced that the production of foie gras is truly more horrifying than the production of any other meat product. It’s a tradition that goes back well before the days of factory farming, for one thing. And because it’s a specialty item, my impression is that it’s far more likely to come from the kind of vaguely old-fashioned farm where the animals live a short, but reasonably happy life.
But even if not… the mere fact that I eat meat, without always knowing where it comes from, means that some of what I eat comes from enormous, environment-destroying, animal-torturing factory farms. I’m not happy about that, exactly. When I buy meat myself I try to buy organic, ethical, etc. I want that to be the default. I’m just too lazy and weak-willed and protein-craving to vet every single piece of meat that crosses my path before eating it.
I think foie gras bans are a bit like late-term abortion bans. PeTA doesn’t just want you to stop eating foie gras, you know. They don’t just want you to stop eating animals raised in factory farm conditions. They want you to stop eating steak, chicken, pig, sheep, fish, shrimp, crawfish, lobster, crab, clams, oysters, mussels, squid, rabbit, duck, goose, elk, deer, buffalo and goat as well as milk, eggs, honey and your leather shoes altogether. They don’t want you to keep a pet. They think your beloved dog or cat is a “slave” and would be better off dead than enslaved by you. Seriously. I’m not kidding.
But they also know they are going to have a hard time prying that hamburger out of your hands, or your Fluffy from her satin pillow. Those things are too solid. So what they do is, they start chipping away at what they see is a weak spot. In this case, foie gras is a weak spot because most people don’t eat it, and because it sounds disgusting.
Of course, if you think this is all just pathetic justification for my own participation in animal slaughter, feel free to flame away.