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Foie Gras


Dick Smith

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Its staggering how "upset" people will get when they perceive that something is an exclusive pleasure of the upper echelons of society. When it comes to serious cruelty - battery farming of hens for example - they suddenly develop extensive blind spots. Hopefully, with regard to foie gras, the French will not take a blind bit of notice.
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Dichotomy time, Dick.

Pre-France life - yes, it's a terrible thing to go deliberately exploding livers by force-feeding, I wouldn't like to have it done to me, it's inhumane (or induckaine or Novocaine or something).

In-France life - bof, it's only a duck!!!  my mother used to use the metal spiral thing to explode her own ducks until her arthritis got the better of her.  It's a fine old custom.  It's Tradition (faint echoes of Hallelujah Chorus or similar).

Moi, je m'en fou.  I eat it here because it's here, I didn't eat it in Britain because it wasn't there (except in stories of barbarism against ducks). 

I can see why these fine moral people don't like it, they do have a point, but if I was going to spend time on a "moral" campaign, I don't think duck-stuffing would be top of my list of world atrocities.

For me, it's part of the social life of France, and (so far) associated with evenings/afternoons/days round the table with good friends.   No offence to animal lovers, but people are more important than ducks. 

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I love it. Never imagined that I would, but when I tasted it, I did.

I bought some last week and had it for lunch. And bought more today.

There will be a black market in it, or they will just call it something else here, can't see the french putting up with it being done away with.

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I had some at a degustation about 6 years ago, and thought it was nothing special - certainly not worth buying. Last year when we went away for our 25th WA to a posh hotel (way beyond our normal thing as we usually camp) foie gras appeared several times on the menu and I got quite hooked and ordered it again at a restaurant in France this summer. I do think it's expensive though, so I probably wouldn't buy it to serve at a meal at home. But when it's part of a menu in a French restaurant, I don't feel I am then paying over the odds for it as it's in the set price of the meal that I would pay whether I had it or not. It's not that fantastic though. I do have a tin of a sort of pate made with fois gras and other things which I bought from a producer in the Dordogne this year though - I'm looking forward to eating that.

I still haven't tried truffles though, except for some little slivers which were in a jar of some sort of spread that an Italian friend gave to me. There were just four of these slivers stuck to the inside of the jar and they were pretty tasteless. So, I don't know whether they are worth buying - what do they taste like?
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Peter

Yes I was aware of the gluttonous practices of geese - which might explain why they don't seem to make any objection to being funnel-fed (they certainly aren't 'forced'). We were offered the chance of a guided tour to see the geese being fed, on a school trip to Les Landes, but we bottled it. Can you imagine the Putney Parents' reaction?
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SB - agree totally with yr comment about people vs animals but surely only the Brits would have an "R"SPCA and an "N"SPCC ?

As to whether force feeding to produce foie gras is worthy of so much attention - why not ? It's as important as banning fox hunting !! Some people will do anything if they think there is an extra vote in it.

Having tried fg a few times I have decided that it is an acquired taste that I have not yet acquired.

John

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You're right, Iceni.   And if people are getting indignant about ducks, it means they're not getting indignant about irrelevant side-issues like Iraq or presidential elections....

It is an acquired taste.  I eat it here on special occasions, it's nice, but if I went back to Britain now I'm sure I'd live quite happily without it.

 

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Acquired taste?

Don't bother with the cheap stuff in the supermarkets, or the 'terrine de foie gras' that's sometimes served up in imitation of the real thing. I like those, but can understand why you say it's nothing special.

Go to a decent restaurant in France where they serve the entire livers - recognisable on the plate as being livers rather than just a lump of some yellowish-pink stuff. You'll be blown away and it will all become clear as to why people like foie gras. You'll have to pay for it, but it will, I guarantee, be money well spent, even if only in the name of research.

It's a pity, as you say, that the tree-huggers make such a big thing of foie gras production which is, as has been pointed out, only an extension of a natural process There are so many milllions of chickens, pigs etc being intensively farmed in far worse conditions.

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Will, I like it all. I usually don't like paté, but any foie gras, even the cheap stuff and I'll eat with relish. I would rather have that than any paté. I do appreciate the good stuff and a friends husband made a foie gras up for us all last christmas, my goodness it was good. Pity we had another 5 courses to eat or I could just have eaten that.
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I was one of those people who would turn their nose up at eating such a cruel thing as foie gras - then I moved to France, tasted it and loved it!

Funny really I always thought fox-hunting was cruel and now I am sitting on the fence on the whole subject not sure which way to lean. More to do with the idea of hunting being taken away by office-city bound bureaucrats.  

One of our neighbours recently was telling me of his stories of catching the delicious woodcock (bird) basically hitting them over the head with a stick! Ah the pleasure of the hunt etc... just gives me food for thought that  (no pun intended) are we entering into a nanny state in the uk, what next ban horse-racing, keeping animals and the like!

Deby

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[quote]Acquired taste? Don't bother with the cheap stuff in the supermarkets, or the 'terrine de foie gras' that's sometimes served up in imitation of the real thing. I like those, but can understand why yo...[/quote]

I think that in some ways I am a bit of a "tree hugger" in that I do care how the meat I eat has been treated. We will now only buy foie gras from an artisianal producer were we know exactly the welfare policy. Its the same with meat - we far rather eat it less often and buy from a known source with good standards and pay up for the overall quality. We now never buy from the chiller cabinet. It makes life more inconvenient, but what the hell. We now raise our own ducks and chickens for the table, and as soon as I can find someone to give me a lesson, we'll be doing our own gavage for foie gras. Its the same with eggs - we don't buy anything with eggs in it unless we KNOW that they are proper free range - biscuits, cakes, mayonaise, whatever. Otherwise we make it ourselves or go without.

Personally I regard fox hunting as unnecessariliy cruel, but frankly I cannot get that upset about it when there are so many other weightier matters that should be addressed, both in the sphere of animal wealfare and in the wider world. And I have no problem at all in going after something with a gun.

That's my tuppence worth. Now climbing off soapbox.

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TF1 13 Heures had a film about this the other day.  Talking to a producer etc and showed him stuffing his ducks.  There will no doubt be lots more before Christmas if past years are anything to go by.  I have watched the programmes explaining which to buy and the explanation of the terms with their morceaux and entier etc but still haven't paid enough attention and find it simplest to buy the dearest.  Then I am usually safe.  Saying that, when cravings threaten to overcome me and it isn't readily available, like August, one of the manufacturers does two slices in a pack which isn't bad.  About 4€ I think.

Roll on Christmas.  Foie gras one night, plateau de fruit mer another.  Sorted!

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Mm! After what you've said, I certainly don't think I'll be going out of my way to try them. I've always said I would draw the line at sheep's eye balls and calves testicles! But then I stood outside a charcuterie a few years ago daring myself to by bouches with sweetbreads, but chickened out. So, can anyone recommend these? I tried gizzards a few years ago and found them quite acceptable, but bought a tin of them to do a salad and found the rest of the family weren't keen.

So, what about sweetbreads?
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>>Funny really I always thought fox-hunting was cruel and now I am sitting on the fence on the whole subject not sure which way to lean. More to do with the idea of hunting being taken away by office-city bound bureaucrats<<<

Ohhhh - Deby - Its not to do with office city bound bureaucrats, its about ordinary people, from town and country, campaigning long and hard to get it banned legally. The Labour party have it in their manifesto and did in the last Parliament too. Apparently a Mori pole showed 76% of the British people want it banned - its safe to get off the fence now !

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"taste like a cross between feet and sex"  really?  I think he was very fortunate.  Most of the black ones I've been daft enough to buy taste of nothing at all.  Only ever buy the white variety from la bella Toscana, they are food from the gods.

Sweetbreads are yummy, Jill, try them next time.  (By the way, never thought of you with dark curly hair!)  And Will's right about there being foie gras and foie gras.  It pays to be particular.

M

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I am impressed at the number of concience fobbing people on this site, why not be honest and say you have no emotion about the treatment of the animal, rather than blame it on a politician for taking the heat off Irak.  Of course eat meat, its great, but difficult to swallow if you are aware the life suffered for your pleasure as it reaches you lips.
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truffles have a wonderful flavour, although they are expensive. You just didn't experience the right ones/preparation.

The white ones from Italy are supposedly the best, but the dearest. (of course my husband would have told me that...)

We had a truffle dinner at an Italian restaurant in London (Battersea), each course being based on or flavoured with them. It was lush.....I can't remember all the courses but we had truffled fried eggs, truffle grated on a pasta dish and a truffle sauce with slowly cooked meat...yum

You don't seem to come across them in restaurants here so much - anyone seen dishes with them in france?

tracy

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