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My Foie Gras Experience

The following is a true story. Names haven’t been changed to protect the guilty.

I went to dinner at Mark’s at City Place in West Palm Beach, which was my favorite restaurant when I lived there.

I order a vegetable roll-inside out. My guest orders. My husband, Dave, orders tuna, rare (remember, he’s a Republican and a carnivore, and lord knows how he deals with the likes of me. Oh, and vice versa). The waiter says, "May I suggest something I do for some customers? I add a foie gras (demi glaze or something, I’m not sure, I couldn’t hear anything past foie gras)," and I interrupt in a mildly-raised voice with, "foie gras?"

Now Dave, who isn’t confrontational, tries to prevent what he would call "a situation" from developing, and says, "you know what? Give it to me on the side." Naturally, he had a choice to make, and in that moment, as he would say, "he chose poorly."

"What?" I say, this time in a moderately-raised voice. And the waiter, who clearly hasn’t participated in any kind of sensitivity-training, ethics, or economics courses, looks at me like I’m nuts and says, "It’s not like you’re gonna save any geese now."

There’s silence as I stare into his eyes rather than leap across the table to scratch them out. Dave turns to me and has seen that look on my face before–it’s the look of restraint that’s about to end. He says, "You know what? Forget the foie gras."

And now, he’s still married.

Let’s deconstruct:

  • Supply and demand. If Dave ordered the foie gras thingy, it wouldn’t matter if he ate it or put it in his coffee. Once you order something there is less of it in the kitchen, thereby creating the need for more of it.
  • When you need more of it, you must order more, and pay someone to force feed more geese until their livers nearly (or maybe they do) explode. And if you have no idea what I’m talking about, go to Stop Force Feeding, and as usual, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
  • Therefore, when you don’t order foie gras, you really are saving geese–just not the geese slaughtered for the particular foie gras sitting in the kitchen of the restaurant you’re in.
  • I write letters to local restaurants that still serve foie gras to tell them–very diplomatically–that I will no longer be frequenting their establishment. I’m so happy to return, however, when they stop  serving foie gras. You can find a list of restaurants in your area that still serve it here.
  • FYI: The force feeding of geese has been banned in many civilized countries, including Italy, Norway, Denmark, Poland, and Finland, and similar bans can be found in Israel, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK.
  • Bills have been introduced in a handful of states to ban force feeding of birds, and Chicago has become America’s first foie-gras-free city.

Check out your local restaurants, see what’s happening at the legislative level in your state, and do something kind for ducks and geese.

One Comment Post a comment
  1. tater tot #

    It is our earth, not yours or mine or his. We are meant to live on it, helping each other, not destroying each other. – J. Krishnamurti

    September 22, 2006

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