Foie Gras au Torchon/photos by Donna Turner Ruhlman

I spotted a tiny news item in this morning’s Plain Dealer, culled from The San Francisco Chronicle reports, and was thrilled to see people like Thomas Keller, Michael Chiarello, Tyler Florence, and scores of other chefs beginning to protest California’s hypocritical and uninformed ban on foie gras that goes into effect this summer. (Watch news story video from KCRA.)

While likely begun as self-aggrandizing soap-boxing by former state Senator John Burton in 2004 (read his LA Times op-ed reasoning), as it was done by Chicago City Council Alderman Joe Moore in 2007, embarrassing the city, which repealed the law in 2008, we’re hoping that California legislators evaluate their actual motives for the ban. If they truly care about the humane treatment of the animals we kill for food, they would do this country a better and real service by focusing not on the hundreds of thousands of ducks raised for foie gras (in relative luxury), but rather on the billions, I repeat, billions, of chicken, hogs, and cattle that are rushed through the industrial grinder so that Americans can auto-gavage on cheap, tasteless meat and their heaping platefuls of crap at Applebees and Cheesecake Factory, Burger King and McDonalds, and all traffickers of cheap, unhealthy food.

This should be a wake-up call not for chefs but for politicians to educate themselves on industrial livestock framing, and not use their own and their staff’s time shutting down farmers who are actually raising animals humanely. Do any politicians do ANY good anymore? Could we start a list? It might take a long time, because it’s likely to be a short one.

Educate yourself by reading Mark Caro’s extremely balanced and well-reported book, The Foie Gras Wars.

Purchase foie from Hudson Valley Foie Gras, make your own Foie Gras au Torchon (pictured above), and serve it casually at home! Have a look at Bob delGrosso’s visit to Hudson Valley Foie Gras, nice slideshow.

Be smart.

This image shows the underside of the two lobes of a foie gras (fat liver) from Hudson Valley Foie Gras, before deveining it for the torchon preparation above.

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© 2012 Michael Ruhlman. Photo © 2012 Donna Turner-Ruhlman. All rights reserved.