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Old 12-08-2013, 11:25 AM   #1
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Foie Gras

It seems that Foie Gras isn't an endangered species yet. I was listening to PBS radio and there is a guy who has found that when geese are left completely to their own devices, they are genetically coded to gorge themselves in preparation for flying south. He has tame ducks, but raises them in large, fences pastures, where there is natural forage, such as barley, acorns, and other things that geese eat. Their wings are clipped so that they can't fly away. When the seasonal changes dictate, this gorging takes place naturally, after which, he harvests his geese. The livers are huge, and filled with fat, just as the force-fed geese livers used to be. He gets his foie gras without breaking any laws, simply by letting the geese do what geese naturally do.

The trick, it seems, is that you can't ever feed them. They have to live a wild-goose lifestyle. If you give them food, the gorging behavior never kicks in.

Many wild animals gorge themselves before winter, such as fish, birds, bears, all of the hibernating critters, etc. It's how they stay alive during the cold months. Even deer and moose gorge themselves. Big cats do it on every kill, as do wolves and most other predators.

American Humans do the same thing at Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, 4th of July, whenever someone else is paying the food bill, in the teen years, etc.

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Old 12-08-2013, 12:08 PM   #2
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I don't care what you say, I'm not serving barley and acorns for Christmas dinner.

Seriously, this may be a way to keep foie gras around in a reasonable way. I'd be curious to hear about a side by side comparison of force fed vs. naturally gorged livers.
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Old 12-08-2013, 12:40 PM   #3
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I don't care what you say, I'm not serving barley and acorns for Christmas dinner.

Seriously, this may be a way to keep foie gras around in a reasonable way. I'd be curious to hear about a side by side comparison of force fed vs. naturally gorged livers.
According to the reporter, they couldn't tell a difference. But I would think that at least the goose meat would have a more natural, maybe even gamey flavor. It would be interesting to have some, like you said, for a taste comparison.

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Old 12-08-2013, 04:25 PM   #4
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I read about that natural method about a year ago. I think it was a French goose farmer. In France you can't call it foie gras if the geese weren't force fed.

Foie gras - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 12-08-2013, 05:00 PM   #5
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There's a Spanish farmer who won a prestigious French food award for his foie gras. They weren't happy. He doesn't force feed his geese. His grandfather raised geese the same way, so this isn't a new method.

Eduardo Sousa - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

There's a Ted Talk about this: Dan Barber: A foie gras parable | Video on TED.com
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Old 12-17-2013, 07:36 AM   #6
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I think the Spanish farmer was probably the one Chief was talking about. I heard the same story on NPR's This American Life.
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Old 12-17-2013, 08:26 AM   #7
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IMO Foie Gras doesn't have a sufficient WOW factor to justify the price, I'm happy with chicken liver and so are the geese!
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Old 12-17-2013, 08:35 AM   #8
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I read about that natural method about a year ago. I think it was a French goose farmer. In France you can't call it foie gras if the geese weren't force fed. [/url]
Not at all unusual for the French to stand by their guns and avoid change. Most of them seem to be under the impression their country is still relevant.

I'm kidding, of course... kind of.

I do like Foie Gras, but it's more of a rare treat. Although many consider it inhumane, I've always heard that the geese don't really protest being force fed.
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Old 12-17-2013, 08:44 AM   #9
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I'd really like to try it, but the cost is prohibitive. Mrs Hoot ain't gonna let me raise our own geese.....well, we could, but she ain't gonna stand for the usual end for such animals.
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Old 12-17-2013, 08:49 AM   #10
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I do like Foie Gras, but it's more of a rare treat. Although many consider it inhumane, I've always heard that the geese don't really protest being force fed.
It's not easy to protest when there's a metal pipe stuffed in your throat. The geese do suffer.

http://humanesociety.org/issues/forc...alifornia.html
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Old 12-17-2013, 09:22 AM   #11
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We cull 3 ducks in the spring which are as big as a goose after they have eaten well as you say. One fois I leave whole and freeze for a terrine later in the summer, one I marinate in port, season with S&P and cook, rolled like a sausage in two layers of clingfilm. The first layer is punched with holes. The second layer is wrapped tightly around and tied at the ends. As it poaches, the excess fat is trapped between the 2layers and when set provides a 'coat until needed. This I can then freeze in slices. The third fois is cut into 3 smaller portions and canned. Great for canapes when a couple of mates come calling.
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Old 12-17-2013, 01:21 PM   #12
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It's not easy to protest when there's a metal pipe stuffed in your throat. The geese do suffer.

California's 2012 Ban on Force-Feeding for Foie Gras : The Humane Society of the United States
That's certainly one opinion, but it isn't the only one. Other studies, including one conducted by the American Veterinary Medical Association "indicate a minimum of adverse effects on the birds involved".

Foie gras controversy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 12-17-2013, 01:24 PM   #13
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But it's a controversial topic, I'll admit.
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Old 12-17-2013, 01:31 PM   #14
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That's certainly one opinion, but it isn't the only one.

Foie gras controversy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
I used to have a neighbor who left his dog tied up outside on a short leash 23 hours a day. I guess he didn't think it was cruel, but I sure did. I suppose you could say that's "controversial," too, since he and I disagreed.
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Old 12-17-2013, 01:41 PM   #15
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I used to have a neighbor who left his dog tied up outside on a short leash 23 hours a day. I guess he didn't think it was cruel, but I sure did. I suppose you could say that's "controversial," too, since he and I disagreed.
I suppose it's a little difficult to say whether force feeding a goose is or isn't cruel unless you are, in fact, a goose. The same goes for the dog. You're making an inference based on how a human might feel under the same conditions.

If you actually took the time to read the article I linked to, you will see that several different groups came away with differing opinions. Just like you and I. And whether you agree with my opinion or not, I'm still entitled to it.
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Old 12-17-2013, 02:41 PM   #16
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I suppose it's a little difficult to say whether force feeding a goose is or isn't cruel unless you are, in fact, a goose. The same goes for the dog. You're making an inference based on how a human might feel under the same conditions.
No, I'm making an inference based on behavioral observation, just as the researchers in the article did. Dogs are very expressive; it's not hard to tell when they're happy, sad or lonely.

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If you actually took the time to read the article I linked to, you will see that several different groups came away with differing opinions. Just like you and I. And whether you agree with my opinion or not, I'm still entitled to it.
I did read most of the article, and I saw that different observers came to different conclusions. Not unusual. When they say that the force-fed ducks and geese move away from the feeder, though, and those fed in a normal manner moved toward them, I think the meaning of the behavior is pretty clear.

No one said you weren't entitled to your opinion. I believe that opinions ought to be backed up with facts and logic, though.
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Old 12-17-2013, 03:58 PM   #17
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In the interest of not littering up this thread with a prolonged back and forth argument, I'm going to bow out now. As I stated, I have my own opinion. You have yours. Let's leave it at that.
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Old 12-17-2013, 04:02 PM   #18
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In the interest of not littering up this thread with a prolonged back and forth argument, I'm going to bow out now. As I stated, I have my own opinion. You have yours. Let's leave it at that.
Works for me
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Old 12-17-2013, 05:09 PM   #19
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Never having eaten real Foie Gras, I wonder if a really good pate' measures up in flavor and/or texture.

I user turkey or chicken liver, with butter, herbs, and spices. It's really tasty, and luxuriously smooth.

So, what is it that makes foie gras so special, from someone really good with culinary descriptions, who has eaten it?

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Old 12-17-2013, 05:50 PM   #20
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Just one point of clarification, paté is a spread that can be made from any kind of liver, including foie gras. As mentioned above foie gras is specifically liver from a goose or duck that suffers from what we refer to in humans as "fatty liver disease".

I've had it both here and abroad. I think the best way to describe the taste is that it has a very rich, buttery texture with only a mild livery taste. If you enjoy the taste of liver, chances are it's something you will like a lot.

I know you're not a drinking man, Chief, but it goes great with a nice sweet Sauternes wine.
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