Saturday was the last official day of legal foie gras sales in California, celebrated through a number of foie-specific menus at restaurants as seemingly disparate as Beer Belly, which offered deep-fried foie Oreos, and The Royce, where chef David Feau prepared 30 courses with the delicacy over two days. At Culver City art space Royal/T, New York performance artist and food obsessive Keil Borrman debuted part two of “A History of Foie Gras and Its Ethics,” a rambling overview of the ingredient’s origins and present polemics attached to a menu designed for foie lovers, as well as an alternative, somewhat sadistic spread for vegetarians (“Part one” of Borrman’s performance was performed in Pennsylvania last August).
The start of our state’s foie prohibition was not commemorated by the liver being ceremoniously placed into a casket or falling from the sky, but in an exploration of foie’s place in historical diets and the ongoing controversy of its production, which stretches back to ancient Egypt.
Learning foie history from “self-professed expert” Borrman, who admitted his knowledge base is potentially “full of holes,” is a little like learning the facts of life from the playground, though it proved enlightening to hear him dispel the myths employed by foie’s biggest opponents, even as he insists he is “not for foie or against foie.”
To go along with his speech, Royal/T’s kitchen competently demonstrated the strengths of foie and its alternates, giving the ingredient a proper send-off. Come take a look at what we learned in our slideshow of Keil Borrman’s “History of Foie Gras and Its Ethics, Part Two.”