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project on foie gras

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
hi, for my Soceity and culture class we need to do a personal intrest project that is worth 30% of our course, and to write an 8000 word essay on the topic.

being intrested in food, i thought of doing somethign with foie gras due to its history and the the things that come with the thouhght of foie gras (ethical issues, animal rights, etc)

the problem is, i dont know what i want to find out about foie gras. can any of you help me?

my other thing that i was thinking of doing was, Amongst foreign chefs, how much local influence is subjected towards the food that is served or vice versa for local chefs with forigen influences.

please comment on what you think, any help is appreciated.

thank you.

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post #2 of 14
Hi Piracer,

Basically, research papers answer questions. So why not start by generating a list of questions (no matter how basic) about foie gras? And at this early stage, don't restrict the questions in any way, and don't try to answer any of them yet. Ask questions about what it is, how it's made, when it first appeared as a food, where it first appeared and why.
Also you could ask how it is used in menus and is it a "home cooking" dish or more of a restaurant food and why.
Then there are the ethical questions you mentioned: what are the different objections some people have? What are the responses given to those objections? How do those objections affect producers, chefs, and the marketplace?
The last part of your posting was a little unclear. What exactly are you asking about foreign chefs (and what is a "foreign chef" in this context)? Are you asking about how much local feelings influence the use of a product on a menu?

After you've brainstormed as many questions as you can, then maybe some of the questions will interest you more than the others. And some questions will help build the answers to other questions. When you've finally found your major question, you'll have the focus for your paper.


"If you are not killing plants, you are not really stretching yourself as a gardener." -- J. C. Raulston, American Horticulturist


"If you are not killing plants, you are not really stretching yourself as a gardener." -- J. C. Raulston, American Horticulturist
post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
i live in singapore, and there are many chefs here whose food is supposedly 'influenced' by local produce and ideas in which they mix into their own way of cooking, such as french infused with chinese and such.

anyway, thanks for your help, i brainstormed those basic questions and this is what i came up with:
Foie Gras
•How is it made
•Why is it made
•When was it first made
•What are societies standing of foie gras? (be specific, look into certain cities and countries) contrast and relate.
•What is wrong with it?
•What is so good about it?
•Where is it made
•Why is it banned in certain countries?
•What is good and bad foie gras?
•Who is to believe in whether the birds are actually treated badly or not?
•Is this exploitation in a bad way or harmful neutral way?
•Moral ethics?
•Who produces it? What kind of people are they?
•Locations of farms
•Where is foie gras purchased? (country, city, restaurant type)
•Do you enjoy foie gras?

im still thinking, but thats all i got. the chef question was incase the foie gras topic didnt turn out well.
post #4 of 14
Good job!
Now that you've brainstormed, you can put structure to your ideas, and link up these questions into a coherent and focused thesis. For example, once you've exposed the food anthropology aspect of foie gras, you are now equipped to do a kind of cost/benefit analysis of its consumption. Weight the pros and the cons of having a foie gras industry, then the pros and cons of banning it. Both costs and benefits are gastronomical, economic and cultural to mention just a few. There is so much controversy surrounding the topic right now, particularly in the US, you'll have no trouble getting info and opinions. One place you might start is (online supplier of foie gras and other fine products). Arianne Daguin (owner) has been fighting the battle for a long time, and you might find her newsletters informative.
post #5 of 14
Another interesting question would be why foie gras exist? Why do ducks and geese grow such big fatty livers(hint - they're migratory birds). There's the naturalistic take on it without the human aspect.
post #6 of 14
I don't know what your deadline is for the paper, but, if you have time, don't rush this first brain-storming part. And be as specific as you can with your questions. "Ethics of foie gras" alone is a pretty large area for discussion with lots of questions attached to it.

But when you're finally all "questioned-out," start researching the answers to each one. At some point, one particular line of research will jump out at you as the most interesting. You will NOT be taking on all the questions on your list. That's just way too much and would make for a very unfocused, superficial paper. So follow the line of questions and answers that actually intrigue you and disregard the rest.

By the way, have you ever tasted foie gras? That would be helpful. :D


"If you are not killing plants, you are not really stretching yourself as a gardener." -- J. C. Raulston, American Horticulturist


"If you are not killing plants, you are not really stretching yourself as a gardener." -- J. C. Raulston, American Horticulturist
post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 
^ ha, of course ive eaten it, i love it!

the problem with this now is that its an 8000 word essay, although including introduction, the main body, and the bibliography. the problem is yea, i really dont know what th main point of foie gras im trying to find out is yet.

i have to use what we call society and culture research techniques, using surverys, questionaires, intereviews and such which also brings me to another problem on how to tackle the idea. and yea, things like 'ethics of foie gras' is a big topic thats gonna also be hard to answer...
post #8 of 14
Sounds like a tough assignment.

But if you need basic background on foei gras I would recommend "The COncise LArousse Gastronomique". A book a believe any chef should have on his bookshelf.
post #9 of 14
For a complete history and different opinions, as well as great recipes and pics, check out this book........
post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 
i got the foie gras passion book, and it only helped me a little bad, can u give me a basic run down on what this book is?
post #11 of 14
Larousse Gastronomique: Well it is basically an encyclopaedia on anything and everything food related! Every wanted to know the history of the tomato? Or why a Sacher Torte has that name? Maybe you just want the classically recipe for a Brioche? It has all of the above.

The Larousse Gastronomique was 1st published in 1938 by Prosper Montagné and has been considered one of the chefs bibles. Especially if you want to know and understand where a dish come from. Though the encyclopaedia does focus mainly on Classical French cuisine it does have a wide variety of other information concerning ingredients and dishes.:cool:
post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 
hi, i got my hands on hold of the book, unfortunately, theres only a very small section in it and the content was already in the foie gras... a passion which i bought alraedy. anyway, im sure it can be used for other things.
post #13 of 14

Foie Gras

I was reading this forum for some ideas for my own research essay on Foie Gras. I am a high school senior and for my English class i have to write an 8-10 page research essay on a topic of my choice. I want to go to culinary school after i graduate from high school and i have seen cooking shows on the food network that use foie gras and i know that it was a fattened liver. After doing some original research on foie gras i found more and more information on it. I have to write a paper on the ethics of Foie Gras. I am not sure if I disagree or agree with the force feeding of the animal in order to fatten the liver. So i was wondering other thoughts on Foie gras, and if anyone can help me with my project. you can either reply to this post on here or it would be easier if you emailed me at I have until June 5th to complete this assignment, but we have due dates along the way so as much help would be appreciated. Also if there are any books that i can pick up at our local library that anyone knows of I would love to hear about them. Thanks!
post #14 of 14
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