Californians have known this was coming for 8 years (the ban was signed into law by Governor Schwarzenegger in 2004) but, with a child's concept of time, have spent the intervening months convinced always that the dark day of the foie gras ban was still very, very, very far away. Now that the final hours are upon them, many of the state's more insufferable citizens are downing foie gras like it's the only food their bodies can process.
For the past few weeks, chefs have been adding special foie gras-based dishes to their menus, hosting 7-course foie gras dinners, and inserting foie gras into every food into which foie gras can be inserted and also many into which it can't, including: chocolate cake, cheesecake, jelly donuts, cotton candy, waffles, parfait, and toffee.
This kind of behavior is very déclassé. This is why Californians do not deserve fancy French things.
Foie gras is produced by force-feeding ducks and geese corn through a rubber tube in order to enlarge their livers, a process that sounds much more majestic when you describe it using the French term gavage.
The L.A. Times reports that some experts believe the method doesn't hurt the birds, as these BJ naturals have no gag reflex. Animal rights advocates claim the process does cause pain and is, in any case, inhumane.
A spokesman for France's foreign ministry noted that the country "can only regret California's decision," though the economic implications for France will be negligible, as most of the United States' foie gras comes from the United States.
French chef André Daguin suggested that the ban would create a cutthroat new black market for foie gras, before clarifying that he wasn't suggesting that, and then going ahead and suggesting exactly that, once more:
"This will spur consumption and people will make fortunes thanks to it. I wouldn't go as far as to say it will create a new Al Capone, but it's like that."
One can only hope that, eighty years from now, a premium cable channel will develop a television series set against the backdrop of early 2010s California, a place where foie was power and the only things bigger than the unnaturally-fattened goose livers stored in dodgy characters' Styrofoam coolers were the foie bosses' wallets and also their McMansions. ("A more elegant time," our grandchildren will text.)
But there may yet be a ray of hope for the poor, the persecuted, the foie gras aficionados of America's 31st state: underground revolutionary pamphlet The San Francisco Examiner is spreading the word that, like caring too much or being ugly on a Sunday, defiance of California's foie gras ban may be one crime that police are willing to overlook.
"This is not a crime that would be investigated by the LAPD or likely any other municipal police department," Los Angeles Police Department Officer KarenRayner said in an email.
"I'm not aware of any plans for us to enforce it," San Francisco Police Department Sgt. Michael Andraychak said in an interview.
A beautiful example of man's humanity to man in a time of terror.