Foie Gras: 2012's Bacon, Or: Time to End the Foie Gras Follies

Categories: Indigestion
Flickr user cyclonebill

Is it July yet? I can't wait for the day when foie gras is banned in California.

Don't get me wrong; I love foie gras. There's nothing like a little medallion of seared foie gras and a small glass of Sauternes to ouvrir l'appétit, as the French would say. It shines perched atop a salade gasconne with poached lardons of bacon, gésiers confits (preserved duck gizzards), slightly bitter lettuces, tomatoes and fried potatoes.

I also don't think it should have been banned; the production of foie gras has come a long way and a great deal of time, effort and money has been invested into making it more humane. The old methods of production were horrifying; they've changed for the better. I also like sticking burrs in PETA's collective saddle.

There have always been some creative concoctions with foie gras; Animal in Los Angeles makes it into loco moco, which always struck me as what a kama`aina would order when he strikes it rich. Mr. Chow uses it to stuff wontons. Au Pied de Cochon in Montréal tops poutine with it.

The problem is that foie gras has turned into 2012's bacon; it is everywhere, the fattiest fetish ever, made by the hands of the capable and the incapable. It's being stuck in dishes, shark fin-like, not because it adds anything to the dish, but because it's expensive and about to become rare.

Otherwise-sane restaurants are planning multiple-course foie gras dinners. One restaurant served a $150 course of 1 kilo of foie gras. Another made it into mousse and squirted it into jelly doughnuts. I saw a menu containing torchons of foie gras with Sichuan peppercorn gelée (yes, spelled just like that), which boggled the mind given what Sichuan peppercorns do to one's tongue. Foie gras ice pops? Why not? It's only an unironic nod to the disturbing ice creams concocted on the original Iron Chef.

Why not just batter it and deep-fry it? Oh, wait: Au Pied de Cochon also serves a deep-fried foie gras appetizer--too bad for Chicken Charlie that the local county fairs come after the ban takes effect.

Before you know it, July will be here, and then there will be underground foie gras dinners with liver smuggled down the 15 from Las Vegas or in cold packs on commercial air flights landing at LAX. One wonders whether diners will be expected to cover their heads with white linen napkins, as with ortolans.

Enough! A hundred grams--a little more than 3 ounces--of foie gras is plenty for anyone. More is not better; huge slabs of engorged liver make a boring, one-note main course.

Stop this mass foie gras orgy. It's ridiculous.

Is it July yet?

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