Lovers of foie gras in California are planning on getting their fill of the delicacy this weekend, according to the LA Times, before the state’s ban on selling and serving the livers of fattened ducks and geese goes into effect on Sunday.
Restaurants are eagerly helping out those bidding adieu to the luxurious stuff by concocting multi-course tasting menus featuring everything from classic seared foie gras to foie gras ice cream. And gastronomes are organzing “foie gras crawls” in order to satiate themselves in a timely and organized manner.
California will be the first state to ban foie gras in the U.S., a decision made by legislators based on the inhumane treatments of the birds who are force-fed in order to sufficiently fatten them up. But, as food writer Ivy Knight asks, “Are these animals treated any better than factory-farmed chickens?”
Knight recently spoke with food industry insiders in both Canada and the U.S. about the impending ban. San Francisco chef Chris Cosentino is not impressed: “What we’re dealing with here is a freedom-of-choice issue; our freedom of choice is being taken away from us,” he told Knight. “When you go out to eat, you have a choice, it’s called a menu.” Meanwhile, the director of Farm Sanctuary in Washington D.C., Bruce Friedrick, says, “Science confirms what intuition indicates, that cramming pipes down animals’ throats and inducing a disease, which is what foie gras is, is horribly cruel, causing death rates to skyrocket by 10 to 20 times.”
Of course, this isn’t the first time that the lobes of liver have stirred up controversy: in 2011 a German food fair banned foie gras, for example, upsetting their French suppliers. It’s happened at home too: remember when organizers of Ottawa’s Winterlude festival asked Martin Picard, who eats foie gras for breakfast, literally, not to cook anything with the stuff?
Picard, not surprisingly, bowed out instead.