Contested TastesFoie Gras and the Politics of Food

Contested TastesFoie Gras and the Politics of Food

Michaela DeSoucey

Print publication date: 2018

ISBN: 9780691154930

Publisher: Princeton University Press

Abstract

Who cares about foie gras? As it turns out, many do. In the last decade, this French delicacy—the fattened liver of ducks or geese that have been force-fed through a tube—has been at the center of contentious battles between animal rights activists, artisanal farmers, industry groups, politicians, chefs, and foodies. This book takes the reader to farms, restaurants, protests, and political hearings in both the United States and France to reveal why people care so passionately about foie gras. Bringing together fieldwork, interviews, and materials from archives and the media on both sides of the Atlantic, the book offers a compelling look at the moral arguments and provocative actions of pro- and anti-foie gras forces. It combines personal stories with fair-minded analysis of the social contexts within which foie gras is loved and loathed. From the barns of rural southwest France and the headquarters of the European Union in Brussels, to exclusive New York City kitchens and the government offices of Chicago, the book demonstrates that the debates over foie gras involve heated and controversial politics. The book draws attention to the cultural dynamics of markets, the multivocal nature of “gastropolitics,” and the complexities of what it means to identify as a “moral” eater in today's food world. Investigating the causes and consequences of the foie gras wars, the book illuminates the social significance of food and taste in the twenty-first century.