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.