The Year in Food 2007

Much Ado About Liver

Skewered by the media and animal rights activists as the worst thing since the Black Plague, foie gras started to stick up for itself a bit. Food ethicist and best-selling author Michael Pollan (The Omnivore’s Dilemma) last year wrote a scorching essay in the New York Times pointing out that compared to the nightmarish environments of chicken and pork factory farms, foie gras farms are downright ducky. That said, celebrity chef and restaurant magnate Wolfgang Puck issued a ban on serving the stuff in his restaurants this year, telling the Washington Post that it was a question of foie gras being too rich and too tired, not too cruel. Earlier in the year, Chicago restaurateurs made a clever end run around their city’s ban, giving it away for “free,” and thereby circumventing the law as it was written. Meanwhile in Britain, the city council of Bolton took a symbolic stand against goose liver, prohibiting its serving at council events. The foie gras kerfluffles are sure to continue; it’s unlikely that news about anything this controversial and delicious will fade anytime soon. —James Norton