for me, an important part of this blog is to consider the idea of ‘sustainability’ in food. sustainable is a word i use often, despite the complexity of issues surrounding the idea of sustainable eating and the difficulty of even defining the word as used to describe food and food production. the owners of incanto, where i ate last week, address this topic and much more in a lengthy letter on their website entitled Shock and Foie: The War Against Dietary Self-Determinism.
i highly highly recommend reading the letter – it’s well-written, thoughtful, illuminating, and touches on so many issues important to those who care about what they’re eating. according to incanto chef chris cosentino‘s blog, his business partner mark pastore wrote the letter in response to threatening letters from anti-foie gras protesters and to explain why incanto actually began serving foie gras: ‘because we believe both that individuals ought to decide their own morality and that those who dedicate so much energy and animosity toward fighting [foie gras] simply have their priorities wrong.’
pastore goes into a long and detailed summary of how ample research shows that foie gras is neither cruel nor inhumane, but why that isn’t really the central issue – rather, it’s how protesters use the debate as a wedge issue to gather support for their political goals. he addresses the fact that so many other food-related and non-food-related societal practices cause harm to animals and people on a vastly larger scale and could be fought to the much greater benefit of humanity. he mentions the whole issue of sustainability as a goal as well as a marketing technique, and how all food production relies on both destruction and creation and that sustainability speaks to the balance between the two. he covers these ideas and more, and even manages to touch upon relativist ethics and philosophical pragmatism (seriously) without sounding like a pretentious asshole. rather than me trying to paraphrase him, you should just read the letter yourself.
yes, it’s long, but it’s totally fascinating (and clearly i am not one to speak to long, being the queen of verbosity). it’s not full of complicated bullshit – it’s honest, well-reasoned, and i’m totally behind him, as i think anyone with a brain would be after reading his letter. lots of food for thought (ha), and i am so down to eat what incanto is serving.