Foie gras is a food product made from the liver of a duck or goose that has actually been specially fattened. By French law, foie gras is specified as the liver of a duck or goose fattened by force-feeding corn with a gavage, although beyond France it is periodically produced using natural feeding.
Foie gras is a popular and widely known delicacy in French cuisine. Foie gras is sold whole, or is prepared into parfait, mousse, or pâté (the lowest quality), and could also be served as an accompaniment to another food product, such as steak.
The strategy of gavage dates as far back as 2500 BC, when the old Egyptians began keeping birds for food and purposely fattened the birds with force-feeding. Today, France is without a doubt the largest manufacturer and customer of foie gras, though it is produced and eaten worldwide, specifically in various other European countries, the United States, and China. Gavage-based foie gras manufacturing is controversial due to the force-feeding procedure used. A variety of territories and countries have laws versus force-feeding or the sale of foie gras.
As early as 2500 BC, the ancient Egyptians found out that numerous birds could be fattened with forced overfeeding and started this practice. Whether they especially looked for the fattened livers of birds as a delicacy continues to be undetermined. In the necropolis of Saqqara, in the burial place of Mereruka, a vital royal official, there is a bas relief scene wherein employees comprehend geese around the necks in order to press food down their throats. At the side stand tables stacked with even more food pellets, and a flask for moistening the feed prior to giving it to the geese.
The practice of goose fattening spread out from Egypt to the Mediterranean. The earliest reference to fattened geese is from the 5th century BC Greek poet Cratinus, who composed of geese-fatteners, yet Egypt maintained its track record as the source for fattened geese. When the Spartan king Agesilaus checked out Egypt in 361 BC, he noted Egyptian farmers’ fattened geese and calves.
It was not till the Roman period, nonetheless, that foie gras is pointed out as a distinct food, which the Romans named iecur ficatum; iecur indicates liver and ficatum that comes from ficus, implying fig in Latin. The emperor Elagabalus fed his pet dogs on foie gras throughout the four years of his disorderly reign. Pliny the Elder (1st century AD) credits his modern, Roman gastronome Marcus Gavius Apicius, with feeding dried figs to geese in order to expand their livers.