Late Night FDL: Happy Mardi (Foie) Gras

 

I loved Bea Arthur, one of the funniest women in comedy. Maude, her 1970s era sitcom spin-off from All in the Family was groundbreaking. Golden Girls made her an icon. And as the below (semi-NSFW) video, her last performance shows, she never lost her stride.

The day after her death, on April 27, 2009  a letter was released by PETA, the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals, from Bea Arthur to acclaimed chef Curtis Stone, pleading with him to stop using foie gras. That was, according to PETA, her dying wish. Arthur was an honorary director for the animal rights group.

Arthur also campaigned to get foie gras banned in California, and that ban will take effect in July of this year. Chicago tried the same thing in 2006, passing a law than forbade the sale of fatted duck liver. The ban lasted four months. During the verbotten time, foie gras was neither gone nor forgotten: Chefs simply got around the restriction by offering expensively priced salads and entrees with a gratis garnish of gras. Which is exactly what a couple chefs I’ve spoken with in Los Angeles intend to do.

The California law, signed by then-governor Arnold Schwarzenegger would not prohibit the sale of foie gras but also its production. There are  only three farms, all USDA certified,  that fatten ducks in the United States, two in New York, the other is in California.

The most dire affect of the ban will be on Sonoma Valley’s Sonoma-Artisan, that will be forced to stop production completely by the date the ban goes into effect. Currently, Sonoma-Artisan supplies about 10%–15% of the domestic foie gras market, according to Guillermo Gonzalez, co-owner of the business with his wife, Junny. Sonoma-Artisan is a family business and the couple’s daughter, Helena, is now involved, as well. The Gonzalez family has been in Sonoma County since the 1980…The last 10 years have been increasingly difficult for them and their business. While sales are stable, the cost of grain continues to rise faster than conceivable increases to the sale price of foie.

And because I can! And because this headline writer did:

They just write themselves, don’t they? Maybe for Lent I’ll give upmake poop jokes….nah.

New Orleans: Krewe of Dead Pelicans March in Protest

During New Orleans monthly art walk, the newly formed Krewe of Dead Pelicans staged their first parade through Julia Street, New Orleans’ gallery district, to mourn and protest the BP oil spill. Traditionally krewes parade for Mardi Gras, itself a final celebration before the sorrow of the Lenten season.  The KoDP was organized by real estate agent and carnival costume designer Ro Meyer in late May who told the Times-Picayune

The thing is out there in the Gulf circulating and we don’t have any power. We’re not even able to go anywhere to get out of the way. Nobody appears to be doing anything about it, and I don’t have the power to do anything about it, and I don’t know anyone who’s stepping up, saying they have the power to do anything about it…

I just needed a place to channel my frustration and I felt like, ‘If I feel that way, other people must feel that way.’

Ro set up  Facebook pages for the krewe and march which now has over 6000 friends from around the country. Several hundred–some in costumes, others dressed in black and blue to represent the ocean and oil and wearing shrimp boots–participated in the march which included a coffin, banners recycled from Katrina tarps, signs, flags featuring pelican (the state bird) and of course jazz bands. The parade permit was paid for by  country music singer Sammy Kershaw a conservative candidate for Louisiana Lt. Governor (seems there are some Republicans who are putting “conservation” into the conservative platform…).

The krewe will be marching again, and a wing has formed in Tennessee. Expect to see other wings and supporters in Halloween parades across the country as well.



all photos: Infrogmation,via flickr creative commons


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