Salt, Time, Smoke

Stand up for Foie!

Foie gras is life-changing delicious-ness

The time draws near. July 1st will begin the ban of sales and production of foie gras in the state of California. This ridiculous Hollywood-backed bill signed into law by Hollywood personality-turned Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger has won this battle against one of the best practitioners of animal welfare in the meat industry.

No animals were harmed in the making of this beefcake....well maybe just a few

No animals were harmed in the making of this beefcake....well maybe just a few

Which one you ask? Artisan Sonoma Foie Gras. There is only one producer of foie gras in the state of California and the law will specifically ban the production of foie gras in the state. So this is in effect an assassination on one of our brethren, somebody who’s doing it all the right way. These people handle their ducks with greater care and humanity than most who raise ducks as pets.

Without any grounding in science, the proponents of the ban have resorted to emotional appeals and Hollywood personalities to persuade the unknowing public to support their campaign. Their long sappy internet videos make me sick, not from their content but from their low quality of thought. It’s quite easy to make a villain out of that which is misunderstood and most people simply do not understand what foie gras is or how it is raised.

Foie gras or fatty liver is produced by force feeding ducks or geese (usually ducks) in the final weeks of their lives. Avians, like pythons, will store food in the esophagus for a slow digestion process. They use this mechanism to consume whole fish. They are very different physiologically from humans or other mammals. For example the trachea of a duck extends out through their tongue and they are in no way choked or gagged by the force feeding process. These animals also naturally store fat in their skin and livers to be stored for long migrations.

Anthony Bourdain did a great segment on No Reservations on the topic.

The truth is foie gras is an artisanal product and its producers are some of the more ethical in the industry. The anti-foie gras movement found them to be easily bullied because of their relatively small voice and lobbying power. Tyson Foods is a far greater villain and these people know that but it’s a hard target. But imagine the backlash if America couldn’t get its frozen chicken tenders in the freezer aisle.

Furthermore this is not just an anti-foie gras campaign but an anti-meat campaign. This is just one step toward painting meat eaters into a corner and they know very well that they can’t tackle the whole industry at once. Thus one by one, your choices will be taken away from you.

So! In defiance to this encroachment of personal freedom and in solidarity with our friends in the foie gras industry I will create a foie gras theme brunch menu on Sunday, July 1st. This will surely be even more epic than the Epic Brunch at the Slagles’. Now clearly this is no great act of courage or defiance as nobody is trying to ban foie gras in the Philippines but it will be a hell of a good time. Comment below if you’re interested, six seats available.


  1. Steve Hill says:

    I’m a vegetarian – and have not (knowingly) eaten meat, fish or seafood for 33 years.

    I’m writing in support of your piece on foie gras. I am happy to accept the humane production of meat and poultry.

    Foie gras is probably like any other animal farming/hunting. It’s about the particular case.

    I would not want it myself, but it the animals are contented in their lives and are killed humanely then I have no desire to ban it.

    There are more important targets.

    Best regards and bon appetit!


    • Jeremy says:

      Ironically there are egg farms in which the birds are treated far worse than those raised for foie gras. I think this energy could be better spent going after specific producers who practice inhumane farming rather than banning the entire production as this actually undermines the cause of improving the treatment of animals.

      Thank you for your comments, Steve!

  2. claudia says:

    Thank you for your comment. I enjoyed reading your post as well. This ban just brings to light all of the reasons I don’t do politics. This a foie witch hunt, with no witch. Sad. Are you really in the Phillipines?

    • Jeremy says:

      Hi Claudia,

      I am indeed in the Philippines. My interest in California food politics is due to the fact that I worked in the San Francisco restaurant scene for several years. I really believe that this ban serves no one, including the ducks. It’s disheartening to see the bully tactics of the anti foie camp win the day.

      Thank you for visiting. I will be sure to upload all of my post July 1 foie gras pics…

  3. Dionne says:

    People always give me the worst looks whenever I start telling them how much I love foie gras! That brunch sounds interesting! Go Jeremy!

  4. Jeremy says:

    There is no shame in good taste! I’ll send you an invite when I have more details on the brunch.

    Thanks Dionne!

  5. Rachel says:

    Thank you! This is why my mother and I daydream of leaving not only California but the U.S. We live under the oppressive thumb of the snotty and the unreal. It’s a sad day, and I’m glad I’m not a kid today growing up in such suffocating circumstances.

    • Jeremy says:

      California is still a great place to live despite its drawbacks and frequent bouts of insanity. I miss it a lot. Otherwise you can always come to the Philippines!

  6. bobbybognar says:

    Just read your blog post, and wanted to thank you for stating the argument against the ban so simply. The fact that there is only one such producer in the state of CA, and they are being singled out (even thought their handling of the animals is above reproach) just shows what an absurd issue this is.
    That said, I stand with you in your event on July 1st. My restaurant will be serving an “all foie” tasting menu on the 1st, to make the statement that foie gras production is not cruel, and that we should have the right to sell, buy, and eat as we choose.

    • Jeremy says:

      Hi Bobby, This ban is truly misguided. I’ve been serving Sonoma Artisan Foie Gras for years and still attest to the quality and integrity of their product. It’s disturbing that these people have been arbitrarily targeted out while so many factory farms remain in California.

      Is your restaurant in LA? I wish I could attend, were I not so many thousands of miles away :)

      Thanks for visiting!

  7. Katrina says:

    I just learned about your site today through my friend, Joey, of 80 Breakfasts, and I’m hooked. I had meant to be a good girl, for once, and go to bed before the sun rises, but once again I lost track of time, thanks to my blackout curtains and your posts. I had to leave a comment on this post, in particular, because foie gras is one of my favorite things to put in my mouth. I do try to eat ethically — for example, I gave up Chilean Sea Bass (yes, I know: Patagonian Toothfish) when I heard it had become over-fished — but I could not possibly give up foie. Besides, there’s no reason to, as you pointed out. When this topic comes up, I like to quote what Joey once quipped, defending her carnivorousness: We didn’t work our way to the top of the food chain for nothing! 😉

    • Jeremy says:

      Hi Katrina, thank you for visiting and your feedback. I also swore off Chilean sea bass however ducks are far from endangered.

      • Katrina says:

        It made me sad to give up Chilean Sea Bass, because it’s one of the few kinds of fish I really love. When I see it on the menu, I’m sometimes still tempted to order it. But there’s a big difference between force-feeding farmed animals and driving them to extinction. However, I’ll be honest — one can rationalize almost anything, yet I hardly even tried to find a reason to keep eating Chilean Sea Bass; with foie, though, I spent hours researching the issue so that I could continue indulging with a clear conscience! 😀


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