Thanksgiving is coming! How about you fancy up your usual turkey dinner with a little diseased duck liver? “Yum, yum, give me some,” she honked. “With a side of cranberries.”
Diseased duck liver is more widely known as “foie gras” which sounds French and pretty but comes at the expense of scared ducks that are force fed until they die. It’s just one of many fancy menu items that actually have nasty little backstories that savvy marketing and labeling tamps down. Other foods highlighted by The Atlantic are veal and pork. Foie gras producers have actually said that the ducks come running when it’s time to eat. The Atlantic calls that spin “humane washing.”
It’s not just inhumane practices, however, that get run through the spin cycle.
Orange roughy, a popular fish, started as the slimehead. Chilean sea bass is much more appetizing than the Patagonian toothfish. Gawker takes fast-food marketers to task for saying that “chefs” are making the “anus burgers” that are being served and calls out snack brands for claiming they’re “artisanal.”
Local governments are now taking action to ensure that more farmers are giving their stock a better life. And a report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows that more people and businesses are opting for “local foods” in the hopes that what they’re buying is better for them and for the environment. Sales have topped $4 billion in that category.
We may actually one day reach a point where the food is as good as the marketing we consume.