Can Cook, Must Cook

The food adventures of Franka P, a Trinidadian journalist living in London, UK. I'll write about my forays into all types of food and cooking, particularly Caribbean food. I'll also review books and recipes by the leading food writers and talk about the issues making headlines in the gastronomic world.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Foie gras - the controversy!

I came across an interesting site the other day, the Culinary Podcast Network. It's an American-based site that highlights food podcasts from a group of "passionate gastronomes". Some of the podcasters are professional chefs and others are just total foodies.
There's some damn good stuff on the site, and the first thing that caught my attention was a debate about
foie gras prompted by the recent banning of the delicacy in Chicago.
For those who don't know what foie gras is, it's the fattened liver of a duck or goose that has been overfed. Foie gras is extremely delicious but like other delicacies it's outrageously expensive.
It's actually the process of fattening the ducks that upsets people. A tube is inserted down the bird's throat three times a day and the animal is force fed lots of pellets.
I've seen this process on television and while I felt it looked uncomfortable for the ducks, the animals didn't seem to be in pain.
I concluded that in the grand scheme of things, it was more important to be concerned about issues like the declining fish stocks caused by overfishing than by the discomfort of a small percentage of ducks.
Animal rights activists have been trying to get foie gras outlawed for years but it's still one of the most sought after delicacies. Maybe the Chicago ruling might give new impetus to their cause.
The Culinary Roundtable podcast featured people with range of divergent views like Jennifer Iannolo of
Food Philosophy who believes legislation like the Chicago ruling is giving the government the right to say what people could eat.
On the other hand, Steve Wasser of
Gastrologica presented an emotive argument about the cruelty of the process and compared it to slavery while Chef Tom Beckman of the CHIC Podcast pointed out that chicken production could be just as inhumane, so why isn't anyone talking about outlawing chicken.
I think there might be some real gems there on that site, I'm looking forward to listening to Jennifer Iannolo talk about cooking and feminism. From what I've read, it seems her controversial views have elicited a torrent of comments.

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