Foie gras—pretty sounding words in French. But, foie gras, translated into English, means “fatty liver.” Fatty livers are unhealthy livers. Fatty livers are, in fact, diseased livers. Yet the words foie gras make diseased liver sound elegant, upscale, expensive, a delicacy.
To get diseased livers, ducks and geese are force-fed through tubes inserted down their throats so their livers increase to the diseased state necessary for harvesting. Of course, to harvest these diseased livers, the birds must be slaughtered. So, first we make the birds sick, then we kill them, then we eat their diseased organ.
Some communities in the United States have banned the sale of foie gras, and some countries in the European Union have banned the force-feeding of ducks and geese. The technique of force feeding (gavage) dates back to 2500 BC when ancient Egyptians began keeping birds for food.
Just as drinking cow breast milk possesses a strong “ewww” factor so does eating diseased bird liver. Petit fours, also French, is a sweet, a confection often eaten at the end of a meal—or anytime anyone has a serious sugar craving. They are elegant, upscale, expensive, a delicacy, and, most importantly, humane. When you think about it…eating something with a French sounding name should uplift us—eating petit fours does, eating diseased livers doesn’t.