Nanny State

Briefly Noted: Foie Fight


Mark Caro, author of The Foie Gras Wars (Simon & Schuster), inadvertently kicked off a national debate about the much-derided delicacy with a 2006 story for the Chicago Tribune about an inter-chef squabble.

The famously temperamental chef Charlie Trotter had stopped serving the fatty duck livers, citing ethical qualms about the ducks' treatment. A rival chef called him a "hypocrite." Trotter threatened to eat his fellow culinarian's liver. Caro's initial story was delayed because Tribune editors didn't like the parallels between feeding the comatose Terri Schiavo through a tube and force-feeding ducks through a tube, which is how you make foie gras. A Chicago alderman read the article and pushed through a ban on the organ meat treat. That ban has since been repealed.

Chef Trotter—who supports drug legalization and calls animal rights activists "idiots"—opposed the ban even as he opposed the foodstuff. This colorful, sympathetic history suggests that Caro agrees.