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Everything posted by derricks

  1. Hm, that's amusing. I hadn't caught the genetic engineering comment. Doing it that way would've been quite the feat: the structure of DNA was only figured out in, what, 1953? And an understanding of how proteins are generated from DNA was a few years later. Maybe the turkey farmer was just way ahead of his time
  2. I bought all my copper in various trips to Paris, and the price I paid for it there was roughly equivalent to what I'd pay for non-copper cookware here. I'm not willing to attribute the 2x cost here to just shipping costs, but perhaps it's one of those high-markup/low-volume things here in the U.S. Because most people don't buy copper, they have to charge more for it to cover their costs. Though WHT's comments about commoditization make a lot of sense as well.
  3. I wrote the article. Sorry for the confusion.
  4. This is totally a plug for myself, so be warned, but Issue 67 of The Art of Eating (due in stores early Novemberish; don't know your timeline) has an article on wineries in (mostly) western Paso. Notably, it has addresses and contact info for a number of them (um, 11? 12? 10? I forget). And Saveur did one roughly a year ago. And of course eGulleteer DoverCanyon would have some good insight Sounds like an awesome trip, by the way!
  5. Well, I don't know where you read it, but you might call Heritage Foods and see if they'd be willing to put you in touch with a local source. Both Patrick and Todd say they're eager to help the farmers, so they may be willing. You might also try your local Slow Food convivium. Here in NoCal last year, a local effort was available for people who wanted to buy from a Sonoma County farmer rather than some arbitrary turkey farmer. And I agree about the birds. I've had them two years running for Thanksgiving, and they've been fantastic.
  6. We honeymooned in the region and ate a casually rustic meal at Auberge de la Mangeoire (on the south side of the river, on the main road that takes you out of Saumur). Our hotel keepers (who I would recommend with heartfelt emotion if they weren't closed for the winter) recommended La Toque Blanche, on the north side of the river between Saumur and Angers. I don't think it was even in our Michelin guide, but it was a delicious meal. They also recommended Auberge de la Reine de Sicile, but we didn't get a chance to try it. There are lots of one-stars that are a relatively short drive away.
  7. As it is for me. Your explanation makes sense, though. Come to think of it, I don't know if there's an actual definition in the EU for "foie gras" by itself. There are definitions for various preparations that include foie gras (percentages of foie and such) but I wonder if you're safe as long as you don't use one of those terms. And they may just be in France; I can't remember if it's EU-wide or not. Hmmm. Something to figure out when I get home.
  8. No, but I don't think Cheeto's make good foie gras. Too orange.
  9. By the way, thought you'd guys appreciate a follow-up on this. I've been talking to their customer service department trying to get some info on this. They stopped selling it two years ago, they can't recommend any chefs who have worked both with it and force-fed foie gras, and they can't or won't tell me if their product is exactly like foie gras except for the smaller size. And they didn't exactly trumpet the product to begin with, when I would think it would be one of the hottest press releases a company could release about foie gras. Imagine the demand! So I remain skeptical, but I'd love to hear differently. Obviously the UK wouldn't need to conform to whatever rules the EU has about the term foie gras.
  10. The second link worked for me at the time; it's the EU's report from 1998 on the well-being of birds that are force-fed, the favored document of people opposed to foie gras. I find it more biased than it seems; there are places where it's obvious the authors spun the original papers to sound more negative. There's also a tendency to put the negative points early in the paragraph and bury the positive points. Of course, some English members of the committee told me (off the record, alas) that the recommendations would have been more severe if the French members of the panel weren't so numerous. So it's sort of biased in different directions.
  11. I stand corrected. Thanks for the info, though I'm curious to hear the dismissal of American foie gras. I did know HVFG still does the four-week version (they use funnels with little motors attached, which simulate the sticks gaveurs used to use to work the corn down the tube). In fact, HVFG often seems to struggle with labor issues because in order to keep the feeder the same (keeps the ducks comfortable, as has been mentioned earlier in this thread), the feeders have to work for the full time. I think it's a stretch to say that it relates to the traditional method of 5000 years ago; the funnel/tube combo I'm pretty sure only goes back to the Roman Empire. SFG does the two-week version, but its livers end up about the same size.
  12. All the U.S. producers use corn. It's the most common feed used, but there are some French producers (a very small number) who have gone back to using figs, the traditional feed for foie gras (iirc, foie comes from the word for fig through some convoluted etymology). There's a question of cooked corn versus uncooked; cooked is considered superior by some.
  13. Indeed on both counts. I don't remember seeing Ginor say the ducks come willingly to the feeder in his book, but it's been a while since I read it, so perhaps I should re-examine. My old brain cells don't work like they used to But if they're not doing force-feeding, as the piece claims, that would be a huge expense saved, so it might work out.
  14. Yes, what we eat today isn't exactly what got eaten 5000 years ago. The gavage, which created foie gras versus just liver from a fat goose, started around 2000 years ago. I'm inclined to agree that it wasn't what we know today. For one thing, there was a practice about 300 years ago of blinding geese and nailing their feet to boards to make foie gras. It almost certainly wouldn't have made a good foie. And you're right about the migrating habits of the ducks, by the way (good memory!). Muscovies are tropical, so don't migrate. Mulards are a (as you say, sterile) cross between Muscovies (from which they inherit the ability to make foie gras) and Pekins (from which they get their size). And they've only been around for a handful of decades (and definitely manmade; Pekins don't mate with Muscovies for much the same reasons polar bears don't eat penguins). It's an interesting point about being sold the "historical" food product when its current form is (probably) vastly different than what got made 2000 years ago. I'm just suspicious that with all these places banning force-feeding and not foie gras explicitly (and in the case of Israel, foie gras was a sizable chunk of the economy), and with France facing a potential ban in 14 years, no one has said, "Hey, wait! These guys have figured out how to do it! Let's do it that way!
  15. Sure, but there's a difference between fattened liver from a bird that's gone through gavage, and a fattened liver from a bird that's been fattened through some other means (like, just being given the chance to eat a lot). French foie gras de canard tends to be about 450-500g. American foie gras de canard tends to be about 600g. This is sort of accepted, but I've rarely seen anyone put forth theories about why that is (I have some thoughts, but they're only hypotheses; I don't have anything to back them up).
  16. Are you thinking of his "foie gras and Champagne issue" (no. 48)? From the issue: I wouldn't classify that as "come running to the farmhand when they show up". But perhaps you're thinking of a different source? And the eggs they produce. Mustn't forget about those, which is where the real horrors are, if you believe Michael Pollan. From the NYTimes Magazine a couple years back:
  17. So it's not even as big as French duck foies gras, which usually are in the 450-500-gram range. I wonder if what they're selling is just fattened livers and not foie gras, but they're calling it foie gras as a marketing effort. Hmm. I'd be curious to see what they're working with.
  18. Yes (sort of) and yes. Currently the only reliable way to make foie gras as we know it is to force-feed the birds. There has been some research to find alternate methods, but the only method that's worked is to lobotomize the bird to give it an endless appetite. This is obviously a much worse tactic, and though I'm sure some would do it, it's also not manageable on a large scale. Research is being done on this score, but no alternates have surfaced. Gavage (using the tube for getting in large volumes of food) has been around for 2000 years (fattened livers have been around for 3000 more). We're certainly not the first to question the ethics of this; that debate goes back something like 1800 years. And still no one's found an alternate approach. But maybe these days we have more knowledge and can pull it off.
  19. Regardless whether it was a typo or not, SB 1520 did indeed get signed. No big surprise, but it's too bad. SFGate coverage
  20. Was that a typo? There is an AB 1520 in front of him, a bill that started in the assembly. SB 1520 is the force-feeding one. Sheesh. Can't they put these things on separate numbering systems? Status of AB 1520.
  21. True, but the precedent has already been set to some degree. You can't serve (or sell to consumers, I think) horse meat legally in California. Getting a raw-milk cheese under 60 days old requires knowing the people at a cheese store intimately, and even they get it from smuggling it in. Iranian caviar. Even foie gras from France at the moment (though that's likely not permanent). There's already a list of banned foods.
  22. Good point. I was thinking of 2012 (when you'll hopefully still be able to order from Hudson Valley), not necessarily 2020 (when an EU ban may or may not kick in). Most of the European countries that stopped production didn't really produce any to begin with (Poland being the notable exception), and the ones that still do have at least a grace period until 2020. I think getting it banned in France without the EU's mandate will be tough. Not impossible, of course. I imagine there'll still be plenty of places that step up to producing it. China? South America? There are a lot of countries out there (not that SA is a country, of course ). I feel like some is produced in China, come to think of it, but it's been almost a year since I read that book (Serventi's Le Livre du Foie Gras). I also can't imagine big livestock states here banning the production and sale unless there's a national initiative. So I don't think it will necessarily be outlaws who get it, but it might require a bit more work. Of course, if it can't be sold in CA, that means you'll never eat it in a restaurant without providing it yourself. I wonder how that applies to the various "underground" restaurants? I guess they're operating outside the law anyway.
  23. There'll be at least one legal source. Consumers can still order it online. They could probably even order it and work with a restaurant to prepare it. As long as they're not ordering it from in-state, I don't think any laws are broken.
  24. We used to have to have a dishwashing break in the middle of a big dinner party. Then we got married
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