You recently read an article in the Kowloon Voice calling for a ban on the French delicacy foie gras in Hong Kong. Foie gras is goose live that comes from geese that are forced to ear large amounts of corn before they are killed. Write a letter to the editor supporting or opposing the article’s call for a ban on foie gras.
I refer to an article on 1st November, 2015 of Pat Li in the Kowloon Voice, titled “Slaughter for delicacy”.
It vividly depicted how the French delicacy, foie gras, was made by forcing geese to eat large amounts of corn before they were killed. The article condemned such cruelty and called for a ban on foie gras.
I am not here to argue that whether the process is inhumane as the fact is already conspicuous and undebatable. Yet, I am here to defend the value of foie gras, as a resemblance of exquisite French cuisine.
Foie gras is the food that mostly represents French food culture. All you may know concerning foie gras is how brutal it is to kill an animal, yet, you may have ignored the procedure to turn a blood-dripping liver into a delicacy that captivates millions of tongues in this world. It has to be kept frozen to maintain the best condition of liver. Chefs also need to use bare hands to remove all fibre of the liver. It is because only human hands can execute such precise work while not damaging any of the tissue of the liver. Only by this can it create the lightness of foie gras and melt on our tongues. Time is also the gist of cooking foie gras. If it is cooked for too long, the fat of foie gras will all be lost, resulting in a dry petite foie gras. Only top chefs will have the expertise to cook a foie gras that is oily, yet not greasy, and looks full. These clumsy procedures represent the meticulousness of French food culture. A direct ban on foie gras is a great hit on French food culture, merely focusing on the preparation of livers but despising the effort that chefs made to create this delicacy that represents France.
Other tha the scope of culture, in a more practical level, a ban on foie gras will hinder the business of local French restaurants. Foie gras, as one of the most popular French cuisine, can be wither served alone of as side dishes. There are various combinations with foie gras and it is definitely a hindrance if a ban is suddenly implemented. Restaurants need time to adjust the menu and think of new dishes as replacements. Also, a French restaurant without foie gras may not be as attractive as before as foie gras is one of the crux of French cuisine. Fewer customers will be willing to dine at the restaurant and this will affect the business. Also, citizens have to consider whether they can allow a French restaurant without foir gras, like Chinese restaurants without dim sum or Japanese restaurants without sushi. The ban will cause immense nuisance to society and requires thorough discussion.
I understand that the preparation of foie gras is inhumane, yet the Chinese way of preparing chickens is no better. Chickens are cut-throat and left for death after the last drip of their blood. This is of equal cruelty with foie gras. Merely condemning the exquisite foie gras but neglecting a common Chinese dish at home is gauging with two different yardsticks. Of course, both of them are equally brutal and both of them should not be encouraged. Yet, we must strike a balance between animal welfare and our needs for food. Hong Kong can voice her opposition by limiting the import of force-fed goose livers but no suddenly banning on foie gras with no exception. This can not only show our concerns for animal welfare, but also fulfill the needs of people.
The French law makes it explicit that foie gras is one precious tradition of France. Banning on foie gras is not only about food, but the whole French culture. Hong Kong as an international metropolis should evaluate carefully before implementing such important policy. Hong Kong, a place renowned for diverse culture, should retain this tradition but not disrespecting other cultures. At any rate, different cultures should have a place in Hong Kong but not being isolated and despised.