This year has been a year of firsts: for starters, I got married to the most wonderful woman (this past weekend my wife and I celebrated one year of marital bliss); last September I became an uncle to the most delightful niece; and I think it was this Spring that I tried foie gras for the first time. Foie gras: goose liver. It’s a meaty, buttery, delicate food that literally melts on the tongue: a sort of “meat truffle”. But it’s a highly controversial delicatessen since foie gras is produced by a process known as gavage: the force-feeding of geese, causing their livers to unnaturally expand. Enter Dan Barber: executive chef and co-owner of Blue Hill Farm whose recorded presentation from the 2008 TASTE3 Conference in Napa, California, I watched last Wednesday night. In it, he shares about the best foie gras he’s ever tasted. It was the most edifying talk on food I’ve ever heard, and so I’m sharing it here, not because I think that you’ll find the topic of foie gras fascinating (that I’m even writing about it at all risks sounding pretentious). Ultimately, the talk is not about foie gras at all as the title under which it can be found on YouTube suggests: “A Surprising Parable of Foie Gras”. It’s a story about a Spanish farmer, Eduardo Sousa, who produces a natural foie gras and whose approach to farming (and the world in which we live) is the most refreshing antithesis to that of modern man’s approach to the world. Why don’t we let Barber tell Sousa’s story, and I’ll follow it up with some thoughts of my own (click below for the link):
Sousa’s approach to agriculture (and the world in which we live) represents a compete paradigm shift. It’s a shift away from the way we typically approach the world: away from Man’s domination of Nature to Man’s “listening to Nature’s instruction manual”, submitting to it, and then co-operating with it. And don’t you just love how it’s as if Nature itself responds to this approach by reciprocating with the finest foie gras in the world?
Throughout the video, Barber shares many wonderful, delightful anecdotes, but one of my favorites has to be when he describes how the herbs and spices on which Sousa’s geese feed are translated into the flavor of his product.
I don’t always know the direction these blogs are going to take until I start writing, but it seems a good time to share with readers that this “Surprising Parable of Foie Gras” is the story behind the products that Duba’s Steaks will be introducing to the marketplace. We are in the process of reaching out to ranches and farms that, like Sousa, raise livestock in harmony with “Nature’s instruction manual”. This is livestock, humanely harvested, whose flavor profile will include all those complex, interesting, and delectable flavors and aromas of their regional and exclusively plant-based diets.