Spanish Foie Gras

From “The Holy Grail of Foie Gras” on the BBC:

It is the foodstuff that leaves the table divided. On one side, those who consider the fatty goose liver the ultimate delicacy.

And opposite, those whose plates are pushed aside as their thoughts turn to the practice of gavage – force-feeding geese and ducks until their liver swells to many times its normal size.

Spanish company Pateria de Sousa, in Badajoz province, is seen as more ethical because it makes its foie gras by slaughtering the birds at a time when they have naturally eaten more to create reserves for what would have been migration.

Well, that would be the lesser of some evils I suppose. But then, some of this sadly predictable stuff:

Culinary purists however say that without the force feeding, it is not foie gras. High-fat livers have been available before, but do not stand apart in taste terms and, in modern times, have not been accepted as the real thing.

I’m not really sure I understand that. Are these “purists” saying that without the force-feeding, without the cruelty, whatever this fatty-liver stuff is, it’s not “authentic”, it’s not foie gras and as a result they’ll spurn it? Do they consider the fact that foie gras production involves this abusive practise to be, in itself, one of its constitutive and alluring qualities? If that is it then that’s depressing, terribly confused and perhaps rather sick, but this is the really odd part:

[Food writer Josephine Bacon] maintains that worrying about foie gras production on a small scale is a false concern compared with intensive farming. Gavage, she maintains, is “perfectly natural”.

Ignoring, for a moment, the fact that whether it’s natural or not is entirely beside the point, just what could possibly be considered natural about force-feeding geese?

“They enjoy it, they don’t mind, they love being petted and cuddled while its being done.”

Yeah. I bet.


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