Sunday, 28 October 2012

Foie Gras - the feeding place

I remember when I was in my last parish, someone had left a brace a pheasants on the door handle for me. You see people quite like shooting them, but then have no real idea what to do with them after that. Well, neither did I, so I did what all self respecting people do when faced with an unknown quantity - I looked it up on the internet.

I soon decided that I was having none of this plucking nonsense, and that I would skin the things.

So there was I, one Sunday morning, before my first Mass, standing at the kitchen sink, with a sharp knife in one hand and the scrawny neck of a pheasant in the other, wearing a cassock and a butcher's apron. I did think at the time, if anyone sees me now!

The first head was chopped off no problem, but the second made me stop and wonder what sort of nonsense was going on. For as the knife went through it's throat, maize and grain came out. Completely undigested. Now I was not expecting this, and was momentarily taken aback. I then thought of gullets and the like.

Birds store food in their crops or craws to digest later. this is what had happened to the pheasant and this is what happens to the geese at the foie gras farm. At the beginning of the week, they are fed I think about 750g of food, by the end it is 2 kg. Of course this is not shoved down their throats into their belly, but put into their craw. Later, during the day, the birds digest it.

The foie gras man said that if the geese were hurt or distressed, then they would not digest it. And yes I know he is the foie gras man and so would say it, but it does make sense. The increase is great over a week and it causes the liver to process food at a rate that it becomes fatty. this is internal and does not cause the goose distress. After all, a hardened drinker is distroying his liver, but does not feel terrible liver pains.

The goose then goes outside for a few more days and is then killed.

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