Sunday, June 7, 2009

Foie Gras Wars: How a 5,000 year old Delicacy Inspired the World's Fiercest Food Fight

Foie Gras Wars: How a 5,000 year old Delicacy Inspired the World's Fiercest Food Fight, by Mark Caro provided a look at the controversy around the production, eating, and ethical issues of Foie Gras. I didn't expect to read such a balanced book about the subject, because it is so controversial. The debate made national news starting right here in Chicago when the 49th ward Alderman Joe Moore proposed a ban on the sale of Foie Gras in Chicago. The ban was successful and the restaurants of Chicago were no longer allowed to serve Fois Gras. I expected either a straight expose about the evils of the subject, and how Joe Moore was such a good person for introducing a ban on the product, or an narrative about how wonderful the product was and we should all go out and eat it. I got a bit of both, and neither at the same time. Mark not only speaks with both sides of the issue, but reviews their materials and takes a serious look at the claim that each makes. He visits national, local and international producers of various styles of foie gras, from a manufacturer in Minnesota to a small farm in France. I appreciated that he discussed the issue with Joe Moore, although the book did not leave me with a positive feeling towards my former alderman. Mark, with journalism as his primary profession, does an excellent job of not pushing any particular opinion on the reader, but allows the reader to start seriously thinking and possibly drawing his or her own conclusions on the matter, or at least desiring to do more research on the matter for the readers self. At the end of the book, I'm not sure of where I stand on the matter, but I feel that I am beginning to grasp the basics of the arguments and am in a position to go do my own research and make my own judgements.

I feel as if the goal of the book, is not to enjoy a nice narrative about an experience with foie gras, but to head out there and learn more, and become ready to draw personal conclusions about the product.

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