foie gras

This past February, an article came out in the Village Voice about foie gras (Is Foie Gras Torture?), and whether or not ducks are being tortured to produce this delicacy. The debate has raged on for years, which sparked my initial rant in The Duck Stops Here. What I think author Sarah DiGregorio brings to light with this piece, however, is something that applies universally to food, and in my opinion, is a method we should all use: Know where your food comes from. Know how it’s produced. One of the leading doctors raging against the foie gras machine has never actually set foot on a foie gras farm; she simply perpetuates the propaganda from assumptions.

If you’ve ever watched a PETA video, of course the images are disturbing. That’s their purpose. PETA is going to sensationalize whatever they find in order to make a good video, because they have a very specific intent: They want you to stop eating animals altogether. And that is their prerogative, but when they are harassing members of the public (and their children!) they become their own terrorist force. Bricks have been thrown into restaurant windows, and patrons have been harassed on their way in the door. And you all know about the pies that get thrown. Are they following the equation that two wrongs make a right? How is that going to help, exactly?

I’ve met many artisanal farmers over the years, and to a person they care passionately about their work, their livestock, and for raising them in a humane way. In the end, it makes the food taste better. A stressed out cow or duck is going to have some very tough meat for you to chew, so it is in the farmer’s best interest to keep his livestock calm and happy.

Hudson Valley Foie Gras seems no different. I’ve talked to Marcus Henley, the farm’s manager, numerous times over the past few years, and he has invited me to come see for myself. I haven’t yet had the time to do so, but I will get there, because I want to know where all my food comes from. I’ve done the same with heirloom tomatoes, cows and pigs. I invite you to do the same.

What are your thoughts on this issue?

Photo: Kelly Cline

{ 3 comments }

Foie Gras Mousse with Fig Syrup

Thumbnail image for Foie Gras Mousse with Fig Syrup

This is an elegant, decadent hors d’oeuvre to begin a meal, but one that is very simple.

Caviar, Truffles and Foie Gras

Few foodstuffs can invoke the idea of luxury quite like caviar, truffles, and foie gras. And for most home cooks, few are as intimidating.

Filetto Tartufato (Filet Mignon with Foie Gras & Truffles)

No words are needed to evoke the decadence offered by this combination of ingredients. Happy indulgence.

The Duck Stops Here.

I am compelled to address this issue openly, both as a gourmande and a citizen of the United States.

Foie Gras: The Art of Foie Gras

Foie gras does not come without controversy, but it doesn’t change our love for this delicious delicacy.

Foie Gras Terrine with Mulled Plums & Gingered Pears

Thumbnail image for Foie Gras Terrine with Mulled Plums & Gingered Pears

The key to a successful terrine is removing any unsightly veins or blemishes from the liver and cooking it very gently at a low temperature in a water bath.