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By Michaela DeSoucey

Who cares approximately foie gras? because it seems, many do. within the final decade, this French delicacy--the fattened liver of geese or ducks which have been force-fed via a tube--has been on the heart of contentious battles among animal rights activists, artisanal farmers, teams, politicians, cooks, and foodies. In Contested Tastes, Michaela DeSoucey takes us to farms, eating places, protests, and political hearings in either the us and France to bare why humans care so passionately approximately foie gras--and why we must always care too.

Bringing jointly fieldwork, interviews, and fabrics from information and the media on either side of the Atlantic, DeSoucey deals a compelling examine the ethical arguments and provocative activities of professional- and anti-foie gras forces. She combines own tales with fair-minded research of the social contexts during which foie gras is enjoyed and loathed. From the barns of rural southwest France and the headquarters of the eu Union in Brussels, to particular big apple urban kitchens and the govt. workplaces of Chicago, DeSoucey demonstrates that the debates over foie gras contain heated and arguable politics. Her wealthy and nuanced account attracts our recognition to the cultural dynamics of markets, the multivocal nature of "gastropolitics," and the complexities of what it capacity to spot as a "moral" eater in modern-day nutrition world.

Investigating the reasons and outcomes of the foie gras wars, Contested Tastes illuminates the social value of foodstuff and style within the twenty-first century.

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Additional info for Contested Tastes: Foie Gras and the Politics of Food

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Foie gras was becoming a new hot-button issue in the politics of food. As a target, foie gras offered animal rights activists something relatively incomparable within the multi-trillion-dollar food industry. ” It also lacked institutional resources. None of the four farms in the United States has had strong ties to national poultry or meat industry lobbies. This meant that activists could ostensibly own the issue. They anticipated that they could harness enough public indignation to make foie gras disappear completely.

Such episodes are situated in time and place, which can lead to very different outcomes in different social contexts. Gastropolitics can also be quite divisive: as I have found, food consumption can quite literally create bonds or erect barriers between people. I was not the only person inspired by the Tribune article. A few weeks after the story first appeared, a populist Chicago alderman introduced a bill in the City Council calling for a ban on selling foie gras in the city’s restaurants. As I detail in chapter 4, the ban passed in 2006 but was repealed two years later following sustained lobbying from activists on both sides, the filing of several lawsuits, resistance from some chefs and diners, and amused derision from local and national media outlets.

Several other countries—including Israel, Australia, and Britain—saw bans proposed, as well as protests, vandalism, and the harassment of chefs and shopkeepers. Ducks were tugging at heartstrings in polarizing ways. I was hooked. What was so significant about foie gras that people were protesting in the street, writing hate mail, contacting politicians, and even willing to break laws over it? How and why did duck liver, which seemed like such a marginal issue, turn into such a hotly contested and emotion-laden political symbol?

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