Food Freedom

Last Meals, Even for People Not on Death Row


Foreign Policy this month has a survey of endangered foodstuffs. Not just edible members of the endangered species club, although there are a couple of tasty endangered critters on the list, but also foods that may soon be illegal or unrecognizable.

Topping the list, foie gras:

Why can't I eat it? Four years ago, the state of California passed a law banning foie gras that will take effect in 2012. Bans have been considered in five other U.S. states. Chicago recently overturned a three-year-old ban on foie gras, but resolutions condemning the cocktail-party staple have passed in other municipalities. American chefs complain that foie gras is being unfairly singled out while cruel factory-farming methods have provoked no such backlash. Celebrity foodie Anthony Bourdain has speculated that foie gras's bad reputation has more to do with the fact that "it's fancy, and associated with the French." 

Also mentioned: Beluga caviar, veal, Chilean sea bass, and (because the common people stand to lose some delicious favorites as well) McDonald's fries.

FP has put the fear of god into me. From this day forth, I'll be eating as many fish eggs, baby cows, and McDonald's fries as I can get my hands on. Come to think of it, I had foie gras with dinner last night so I'm off to a good start.

If you don't want to join me in an actual plate of foie gras, at least stop to savor a video nibble of Bourdain on the topic:

NEXT: Making D.C. Pay for Violating Second Amendment Rights

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. They will never take my foie gras from me. Ever.

  2. Veal really doesn’t taste all that great. Not enough tears and sadness in them like my regular steaks. The baby cows have no idea whats happening to em, the adults know but are stoical about it.

  3. On the rare occasions I dine at restaurants with decent veal I like to ask if it is crate raised.
    They usually offer that it is humane pen raised veal. I sneer and order something else.”Cruel ” food has status.Tastes better too.

  4. Freedom gras!

  5. Celebrity foodie Anthony Bourdain has speculated that foie gras’s bad reputation has more to do with the fact that “it’s fancy, and associated with the French.”

    please, the usual bunch of frog-bashers don’t give a rat’s ass (look for THAT to be taken off the menu soon too) about this. My guess is that if people knew how bad factory farming really was, they’d a) be OK with foie gras and b) be disgusted with factory farming. but people would rather be blissfully ignorant about how awful Tyson’s/Smittypig/etc.. conditions are while thinking that they’re “making a difference” for fighting for the poor geese who are stuffed to death.

  6. Chilean sea bass might not be so endangered if it were sold under its real name, Patagonian toothfish, alongside a photo. On the other hand, it would still taste as heavenly.

  7. What about truffles? Dragged out of a peaceful life in the cold, cold ground by ferocious dogs and/or pigs. Often through the connivance of French-type persons.

  8. I thought mad French scientists were raising truffles on cruel heartless factory farms now.
    Forcing the symbiosis of tree and fungi to the very limit of endurance. Truffles as tightly packed as slaves on the Middle Passage. Truffle pigs slaughtered for pork and truffle hounds awaiting euthanasia unloved at the pound. French peasants thrown out of the proud work they have passed down through their families for centuries reduced to prostituting thir daughters to Muslim immigrants.

    White truffles bringing more euros than black ones.

  9. Bourdain’s comments are typical of the know-nothings. It’s beyond obvious that the culprits here are all lefties. Specifically, nn alliance of Nanny-state anti-fat food police and self-rightous vegan, gaia-worshipping animal-rights types.

    So who does the New York chef reflexively blame? Ummm, middle American, red state conservatives! The bible belt Xenophobes fear anything French! See? they want to ban le pommes frits. Sacre bleu!!

  10. Wow, SIV. That’s dark. Must be why I like it.

  11. Who ever would have thought the simple impulse for the government to require accurate labeling and proof of claimed safety and efficacy on drugs, or to inspect and certify the quality and safety of foodstuffs, would lead to this?

    Well, some did. But their warnings were dismissed as extremist and alarmist. They were laughed at. Who is laughing now?

    “Kill it before it grows” applies to do-gooder government programs as much as to baby monsters. We should never forget that. The person who assures us that a program will never take root and grow out of control is, statistically speaking, anyway, the extremist who is living in a fantasy world.

    We must uphold the principle that people own their own bodies, and that the decision of which substances to eat, drink, otherwise ingest, use as drugs, or for recreational purposes, is entirely up to the individual. Government’s best role in these matters, if it is to have any, is as unbiased advisor, or to run the courts where parties sue each other for fraud, negligence, etc.

  12. Man, I was just happy when they brought Hydroxes back. I can’t tell you how devastating it is when the market takes your favorite cookie away.

    It’s enough to turn someone into a Leftist.

  13. American chefs complain that foie gras is being unfairly singled out while cruel factory-farming methods have provoked no such backlash.

    Okay, let’s ban factory farming, too, so they don’t have anything to complain about.

  14. Good riddance to McD’s lousy fries. Way back when , when I was a kid they were the best fries in the world. Back then they were fried in yummy yummy beef tallow! Now that they are fried in vegetable oil (can’t upset the Hindus) they taste like crap.

  15. bill, amen!

    lotsa boring fried chicken now as well for the same reason.

    damn I loves me some fried chicken.

  16. It occurs to me that it’s simply easier to ban a smaller more locally produced product like fois gras, with a much smaller and niche market share. To ban factory farming would require an assault on one of the most massive and entrenched industries in the world.

    It’s a marriage of convenience. Believe me, those who seek to ban the sweet sweet duck innards have more in common politically with the French than not.

    “Freedom Gras” … priceless!

  17. Am I the only one wanting to make a turducken-inspired meal out of all this? Veal stuffed with Chilean Sea Bass stuffed with foie gras stuffed with fries and caviar. Damn I’m hungry.

  18. I can’t tell you how devastating it is when the market takes your favorite cookie away.

    EL Fudge with the chocolate cookie instead of the vanilla cookie. Why? Oh why? Bring them back!!!

  19. yellow cookie, not vanilla. Whatever, you know what I mean. God damn you elves.

  20. Episiarch | October 7, 2008, 5:54pm | #

    They will never take my foie gras from me. Ever

    Oh, yes they will. They shall pry it from your cold, dead, tureen.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.