Can There Ever Be Humane Foie Gras?

"Fat liver" is the literal translation of the French foie gras, the highly prized (by some) and much maligned (by others) food that is produced by force-feeding confined geese until their livers are 6 to 10 times their normal size. Highly prized because these fattened livers are considered a delicacy in French cuisine; and much maligned because of the animal cruelty associated with it.

But can there be such as thing as humane foie gras? Can a goose consume enough food in natural conditions to yield the "fatty, sweet, silky" taste that is so revered by foie gras aficionados?

Dan Barber, last year's James Beard award winner for Outstanding Chef, says yes. Speaking to a live audience at the 2008 TED Taste3 conference, Barber talks about his introduction to Eduardo Sousa, a Spanish farmer who has found a way to honor the "gooseness of the goose" (to paraphrase Joel Salatin) and still be able to produce award-wining foie gras.

Do yourself a favor: take 20 minutes to watch this video of Barber's talk. Be patient; it starts slow, but builds to a final few minutes that are well worth the wait.