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Wednesday, Mar. 4, 2015

No Foie gras and no Bull

Monday, July 9, 2012

"Is it just me, or does anyone else find it amazing that during the mad cow epidemic our government could track a single cow, born in Canada almost three years ago, right to the stall where she slept in the state of Washington? And, they tracked her calves to their stalls. But they are unable to locate 11 million illegal aliens wandering around our country. Maybe we should give each of them a cow." (Larry the Cable Guy)

Le Mars will soon have all 53 of the attractively decorated five foot-tall fiberglass ice cream cones in place around the city, plus just one cow. She probably thinks, "Where's the bull?" In 1999, Chicago's Cows On ParadeTM, had nearly 300 life size cows placed around that city.

The Days Inn we visit in Chicago brought one of those cows into its entryway and for many years we patted it for good luck. Alas, no more. "Removed to the conference room," was the explanation. "It was too attractive a target for mischief."

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Remember the tiny "Where's the beef?" lady? Clara Peller was born in Russia and came to the USA, legally, and sans cow, at the age of 5 with an uncle. She was a manicurist for 35 years on the North side of Chicago where Wendy's was shooting a commercial. They needed a manicurist's hands - and a star was born. Clara died in 1987.

Speaking of ice cream, Bobtail's homemade on North Broadway in Chitown is almost as good as Blue Bunny. Almost.

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Some people in California, at the bottom of the left coast, are complaining that you can smoke pot openly but you can no longer sell Foie gras, (French for 'fat liver'). The law banning its sale was passed 8 years ago, but didn't go into effect until July first of this year.

Foie gras is harvested from the liver of a duck or goose that has been specially fattened. This fattening is usually achieved by 'gavage,' although outside of France it is occasionally produced using natural feeding.

The force feeding technique of gavage dates as far back as 2500 BC and usually takes place 12 to 18 days before slaughter. The duck or goose is typically fed a controlled amount of corn mash through a tube inserted in the animal's tough, flexible esophagus, taking about 15 seconds.

Foie gras is a popular delicacy in French cuisine. Its flavor is described as rich, buttery, and delicate, unlike that of an ordinary duck or goose liver. French law states that "Foie gras belongs to the protected cultural and gastronomical heritage of France," and nearly 80% of the delicacy is produced in France.

Savage-based Foie gras production is controversial due to the force feeding procedure. Several countries have banned Foie gras, including Italy, Britain, Germany and Israel. In 2006 Chicago banned its sale, but that ordinance was overturned just two years later.

The practice is still legal in Iowa, and I have no doubt that Timmy Rasmussen, with his good relationship with several ducks and geese at the Municipal Park pond, could add Foie gras to your next catered event.

Animal rights and welfare groups such as PETA, and the Humane Society contend that Foie gras production methods, and force feeding in particular, constitute cruel and inhumane treatment of animals, but the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Association of Avian Pathologists have concluded that Foie gras is not a product of animal cruelty. Regardless, I'll stick with liver and onions -- if my cardiologist would allow.

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Other California laws include the California Dream Act which expands eligibility for institutional grants and fee waivers at the state's university systems and community colleges to certain students who are in the country illegally. California is also the first state to mandate the teaching of gay history.

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We could tell that Chicago's economy is still suffering, for a large number of inhabitants cannot afford shoes. Flip-flops are everywhere. Bicyclists, motorcyclists, pedestrians, joggers, dog-walkers, all wearing foot thongs. While the shoe stores suffer, podiatrists salivate like Oprah with a porkchop on a stick.

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The giant scoreboard at Wrigley Field is 75 years old and steeped in tradition. It is three stories high, made of steel and has no air conditioning. It has been tended by three generations of the same family -- only by men, for it has a funnel, not a toilet - they do everything by hand, on ladders.

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Don Paulin, 2carpenterdon@gmail.com, 7557 30th Av, Norwalk, IA 50211 - 515-201-7236

By Don Paulin
Been There, Done That