Chris Cosentino is one of my favorite Bay area chefs. His restaurant Incanto is great and he has an amazing salumeria in the Ferry Marketplace called Boccalone that I often crave for its cured meat goodness. He’s also a pretty good TV personality on the Food Network and has been featured in Travel Channel shows with the likes of Anthony Bourdain and Andrew Zimmern. With that said, the video above is brilliant. WELL DONE, COSENTINO. I couldn’t agree more.
I have a lot of vegan/vegetarian friends and never have I scoffed or mocked what they eat or don’t eat. More often than not, I accommodate to them (even though my friends are cool and say I don’t have to). We go to vegan restaurants (which are delicious) and never have I dragged them to a meat-centric place where I know they’ll feel left out. However, in the past couple of years that I have started writing more about food and getting to know chefs and diners around the city, I have met some pretty hardcore people. I have witnessed intense debates on the matter and sadly, have read hate mail or seen violent behavior from animal activists in regards to this topic. Violent behavior! Destruction of property! Harassment! I honestly would consider both sides better if this small group of trouble-makers would only chill out and have an open dialogue about it.
Not all vegans and vegetarians are hateful and freak out at the thought of foie or a juicy steak the same way not all meat-eaters are senseless carnivores with no regard for life. I am thankful that I am friends with people who have different opinions on food as I do, and I am especially thankful that they respect my personal decision to consume what I choose. However, as a meat eater, I think more people need to become more responsible. There needs to be a shift in the demand for good, quality, sustainable meat. That is why I am picky when I am at the market. This is why I spend the extra money on grass-fed, hormone-free, free-range, pastured, whatever else– whenever possible. As Cosentino said, we’re missing the big picture here — the average household doesn’t even know what foie gras is; but they do know what factory-farmed ground meat, antiobiotic-riddled milk, and genetically modified produce is.
Addendum| Here are a few interesting links on ethical foie gras and the chefs who support it: