Monday, May 14, 2012

Unreal Foie Gras.

The debate about foie gras and the ethics thereof does not look like going away soon, and neither does my interest in ‘mock’ foods. I have no desire to enter into the debate about the cruelty or otherwise involved in the production of foie gras, save to admit that I have eaten it and enjoyed it in the past. Foie gras has popped up many times in blog posts here at The Old Foodie - especially as a dish on historic menus, but it has had, if I remember correctly, only one story dedicated to its soft, unctuous self (here).

Today I want to once again enjoy the idea of foie gras, and indulge my interest in mock foods, without risking abusive emails. I give you ‘Mock Pate de Foie Gras’ to make if you wish, and impress or deceive your guests if you wish. 

Mock Pate de Foie Gras.
Pâte de Foie Gras, though universally admitted as a delicacy of the highest order, is rarely consumed by the modest middle-class families of England. Its very high price is the very simple cause of this fact. We have thought, therefore, that it might prove useful, if we were to indicate how a very good substitute could be made at a more moderate cost. It is impossible to dispense altogether with the fowls’ liver; but two livers from either goose or turkey will suffice for a good sized terrine of what we will term “mock pate de foie gras.” A stuffing or farce must be made from 1 lb. of suet or fat of pork, with an equal quantity of calf’s liver, obtained as white as possible. The suet, cut into small pieces, is melted on the fire, and incorporated with the calf’s liver which has been skinned and cut up. Add pepper, salt and spice, and place the dish on a very hot fire for five or six minutes, during which time the saucepan must be constantly shaken. When this has been allowed to cool, it should be forced through a sieve with holes of moderate size. The farce thus made, a part of it should be spread in the terrine or gallipot which is to contain the foie gras. The livers of the goose or turkey are then added, accompanied by a good deal of seasoning, and the terrine is finally filled up with the remains of the farce. On the top will be placed two laurel leaves, and the whole carefully covered with a layer of lard. The terrine may then be closed, and placed in a saucepan only half filled with water, so that the ebullition should not enter into the pot. By boiling the water, the foie gras may thus be safely cooked.
The Food Journal (London, 1870)

Quotation for the Day.

I tell you it will be more tolerable for the Fejee that salted down a lean missionary in his cellar against a coming famine; it will be more tolerable for that provident Fejee, I say, in the day of judgment, than for thee, civilized and enlightened gourmand, who nailest geese to the ground and feastest on their bloated livers in thy pate-de-foie-gras.
Herman Melville, Moby Dick (1851)


Unknown said...

Fabulous piece about Foie it!

The Old Foodie said...

Thanks Debra! I am not convinced of the cruelty to the geese and ducks - they dont have the same sort of gag reflex that we have, and can swallow huge fish etc which distend their throats until they 'go down'. I listen to the debate with interest.