Re Sarah DiGregorio's 'Is Foie Gras Torture?' [February 18–24]: I just read your article about foie gras. Thank you! You have restored some balance to this discussion.
It's not often that I e-mail a writer after reading his or her work—actually, I never have. But I am truly impressed by the balanced presentation and lack of bias in your highly informative report.
No doubt you have provoked a deluge of bile from people who have prejudged and will not be swayed by facts, as I was when I read your article.
Now, if only I could afford a nice plate of tagliatelle with foie gras and truffles. Damn this downturn!
At last I read some refreshing news on the foie gras industry.
Since being a child, I have known people in France who produce this gift from the gods, and, frankly, all the bad press it gets in the U.S. is mindboggling.
No matter how you report on this, the PETA crowd, uninformed as always, will try to wring your neck. Luckily, there are more people who understand the industry than those who scream bloody murder. I am not involved in its production; I am one who has always enjoyed the product.
One very important factor that you did leave out concerns duck fat. Do some research, and you'll find out that it does not contain any bad cholesterol. Quite the opposite: It contains only the good cholesterol, thus making it extremely healthy. I use the fat with many recipes. Try frying potatoes in it or adding it to lentils. It's also used as a thickener in many sauces.
Many thanks for a great reporting job. I will send your review to many people I know in the restaurant business.
I am a student at the Institute of Culinary Education in NYC. I'm also a career changer, so foie gras wasn't new to me in the past few weeks when it appeared in recipes. I am an avid supporter of sustainable, local food production—I fish, and my parents raise and slaughter chickens. My brother is an avid bow hunter. But even I was squeamish about foie gras, for exactly the reasons you outline.
Thank you for giving me a tour of the Hudson Valley Foie Gras farm. I will happily support their enterprise and no longer wonder if I am supporting the torture of ducks.
Thank you also for printing Chef Brassel's quote regarding the hypocrisy of protesting meat while wearing Uggs and leather coats. It's easy to jump on a bandwagon—and, lucky for us, even easier to be pushed off. Keep up the good writing!
'Guantánamo's Final Days' [Tim Elfrink and Jesse Hyde, February 25–March 3] offered a fairly measured approach to the urgent task of closing Guantánamo, with the writers focusing largely on Omar Khadr, detained since he was 15 years old. Indeed, the evidence in the Khadr case certainly does not suggest he was among "the worse of the worst" and, in fact, Canadian officials have found he is "salvageable" and "non-radicalized" despite the traumatic uncertainty of his cruel and unusual detention. This would be true for the large majority of detainees who have festered in those cages.
However, I am troubled by the assertion that Khadr's sister in Canada "has publicly advocated jihad." It's hard to know what is being said, because "jihad" takes many unobjectionable forms, and support for defensive action against attack or oppression does not suggest support for terror itself. What specific opinions are being found suspect? Moreover, while their views may or may not be cause for concern, Khadr's family's solidarity with others who they feel are unfairly prosecuted should not be used as evidence that they are dangerously "radical"—I suggest that they are advocating for justice against the hype of the fear-inebriated media.
Finally, I wish to point out that the word "radical" comes to mean so many things. Who and what gets labeled radical or radicalized in a negative way? Was the neo-conservatism of the Bush years not radical? Also, "radical" can have positive connotations as well as negative. Bush and Cheney's cruel and unusual approach to the challenge of political violence has radicalized us and roused us all to find a smarter response to the threat of terror.
Muslim Consultative Network
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