I believe that the government needs to play a role in our food safety. Without the FDA and the USDA (why there are two is beyond me) we would see many more cases of food born illnesses and death. Without the CDC we would probably not know what it was that was making us sick. I think that this is an appropriate role for government. We will not discuss the farm bill today. That is a month of ranting.
As much as I would like to see something done about the way chickens and cattle are raised, it is the demand of our people that make it necessary to treat cows and chickens the way they are currently being treated. It is not possible to keep up with demand and have all grass fed, free range chickens and cows. It takes too long and takes up too much land. We need to get back to that place, but there is no legislation that will make us demand less meat and poultry and nor should there be.
California Senate Bill 1520 becomes law July 1. The California bill that goes into effect this summer bans the force feeding of birds for the purpose of increasing the size of their livers. It also bans the sale of the product from this process. The process is called gavage and has been part of the French culinary tradition for 4500 years. Ducks and geese are force fed corn meal for the last two weeks before slaughter. Because the birds do not chew their food they have no gagging reflex, therefore they are not bothered by this procedure. Now you know. If this puts you off then don’t buy Foie Gras.
In California, there is a grand total of ONE farm that produces Foie Gras de canard (Duck Liver). Goose Foie Gras is not raised in the United States as the geese are too prone to disease. So an entire law was drafted, debated, revised, fought over and eventually signed into law by the Governator in order to put one little farm in Sonoma out of business. Are you beginning to understand why this pisses me off?
Foie Gras is a very dense, rich and absolutely delicious dish. I happen to love it. I only eat it once every three or four months and that’s usually at our favorite little French restaurant in New York, so this law will not curtail my foie gras consumption. But the idea that it will stop anyone from eating something that is not poisonous, hallucinogenic or otherwise dangerous in any other way seems to violate my rights.
I don’t eat a lot of red meat and when I do I try to make it grass fed. I understand why others choose not to eat meat for moral reasons. I don’t struggle with those ethics, I choose free range, organic and grass fed because I know they are an healthier way to go. Everyone needs to be informed and then make their own decisions based on that knowledge. The same can be said of foie gras. Now that you know the process, you should be able to decide for yourself.
If you decide that it still sounds yummy, come on over. I will be serving it July the 4th in celebration of our inalienable rights.
And for dessert:
I have been going on about leftovers but have not addressed dessert. There are two desserts that take advantage of leftovers. I have already given you the recipe for Banana Bread (April 13, my son Harrison’s birthday). That uses bananas that are too black to eat but perfect for bread.
This dish does the same for berries. We regularly eat blackberries, blueberries and strawberries, but too often there will be a half of a container that starts to go a little soft because they have gotten pushed behind something in the fridge. As long as they are not yet growing things, they are still good for this dessert. Dead simple to make and, when I made it last night, all I found this morning was the empty dish in the fridge.
- 3-4 Cups Leftover Berries
- 1 Cup Sugar
- 1 Cup Flour
- 1 Stick Butter
- Pinch of Salt
- Cinnamon (optional)
- Mixing Bowl
- Pastry Knife (optional)
- 2 Qt. Pyrex Dish
- Paring Knife
- Pre Heat oven to 350.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the sugar, flour and salt.
- Cut in butter and mix with a pastry knife or two regular knives until the texture is coarse and even.
- Wash all of the fruit. Trim strawberries and cut them into small pieces.
- Butter the sides of the baking dish.
- Spread berries evenly in the bottom of the dish.
- Spread flour mixture evenly over the top.
- Optionally sprinkle cinnamon sparingly over top.
- Bake for 45-55 minutes, until the fruit starts to bubble up into the crust and the top turns golden brown.