Foie Gras

July 16, 2014 by  
Filed under Food

This article was written by Samuel Phineas Upham

Foie Gras is perhaps one of the most controversial delicacies in existence. It has been enjoyed since ancient Rome, and it was shared with the Greeks too. There are references to the paste in Homer’s Odyssey. Specifically, a dream sequence involving Penelope depicts her dream to have twenty geese fattening in her farmyard. The Greek word for liver even translates to “stuffed with figs,” an apparent reference to their affinity for foie gras.

Fattening was always meant to produce larger domestic animals with more meat and a stronger flavor. The Greeks perfected this practice on geese, where intensive and sometimes force feeding was carried out.

Some accounts place the origin of foie gras with the Egyptians. They were known to be the first civilization that noticed geese would gorge themselves before migration. As geese became domesticated animals, the practice grew naturally as a side effect of keeping them.

Foie gras was served differently depending on who prepared it. It was often served at the end of the meal as a digestive aid, believed to be superfluous by some. It was usually served with a lightly toasted piece of bread. Some cultures served foie gras as the main course and provided sides like green leeks or scallops to help complete the meal.

The French did not like the taste of goose liver. They would often use chicken as a substitute. Their version is highly regarded as the definitive foie gras, a dish the British inherited as time went on.

Samuel Phineas Upham

About the Author: Samuel Phineas Upham is an investor at a family office/hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Samuel Phineas Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media & Technology group. You may contact Samuel Phineas Upham on his Samuel Phineas Upham website.


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