Saturday, September 5, 2009

Do You Have An Itch For An “ISM”?

By Rich Kozlovich

How many have tasted foie gras or even know what it is?

Its liver, but not just any old kind of liver; its goose or duck liver; but not any old kind of goose or duck liver. It seems that when you force feed a migratory goose or duck species (this doesn’t work on non-migratory species) that it gets a large…really large liver…. which supposedly tastes really great. Foie gras, (pronounced fwa gra) is French for “fat liver”. This is achieved through a process of force feeding that goes back to ancient Egypt. “Foie gras is described as rich, buttery, and delicate, unlike that of a regular duck or goose liver.”

Now clearly this isn’t the kind of liver that my parents and grandparents generation doted on. That generation will go to a restaurant with a huge menu and go into rapture because liver and onions is the special the day! Of course that is usually beef liver, but they even like chicken livers as the special of the day.

I am 78 and you don't see a lot of people from my generation getting all that excited about liver, smothered in onions or any other way for that matter.  Why? There must be a reason why anyone would like liver, and I think I know what it is.  My parents and grandparents generation like liver, I mean really liked liver smothered in onions.  I think the only reason they liked it was because it was one of the few meats they could afford during the Great Depression years. Liver, gizzards, chicken wings and pork ribs were mighty cheap back in those days, sometimes free. In those days they used to make chicken soup with chicken feet as the base for stock. That is one ugly sight!

In years gone by, average people didn’t have meat three meals a day. During the depths of the Great Depression many didn’t have meat once a week. Those old enough to remember the Little Rascals will remember an episode when Alfalfa was all excited because he was going to have meat at dinner that night. Meat was a big deal and if liver smothered in onions (the only way it could possibly be eaten) is all you can afford, and you have it enough in your youth, you might have the tendency to think the stuff is pretty great. Personally, I have always thought that anything that tasted that bad must be toxic, kind of like kale, another bad tasting item some are euphoric over.

Enough about that,  back to foie gras! This is the liver over which gourmets are rapturous. As it turns out the animal rights activists are enthusiastic over it also. The difference is they want to ban it because they claim the raising process is cruel. There is an awful lot of green house gas being emitted by these people over this issue.

People who buy their food at the market and have never lived or worked on a farm should have nothing to say about this or anything else farmers do. None of these things ever became an issue until there were so many people living in the cities and so few living on farms. One hundred years ago over fifty percent on the population was involved in agriculture of some sort. Two hundred years ago most of the population farmed or at least raised some of their own food because the population in the cities was relatively small. Industrialization changed all of that, especially after WWII and that changed attitudes. 

It was a process of incrementalism.   One step at a time. The reality is that they are against eating any part of any animal.  Foie gras is just one step in the process. Today foie gras, tomorrow the goose, the next day ducks and then chickens and so on until the eating of all animal flesh is banned. At least that's their goal, but make no mistake about it, f they hadn’t chosen animal rights it would be something else.

Take the Swiss for example. The Swiss have really gone over the edge. They added an amendment to a law that requires the Swiss to recognize the dignity of all living things to include…..plants. Yes, even the “decapitation” of wildflowers at the roadside “without rational reason”, will be punished. Folks, we have to stop being so anthropomorphic. Placing human values on non human things is irrational.

What if someone starts a movement that claims plants feel pain during harvest and therefore we shouldn’t eat bread? Would that be called Doughdoughism?

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