It seems miracles do happen. In a bizarre but welcome about-face, the Chicago City Council voted yesterday (37-6) to reverse its 2006 ban on foie gras, clearing the way for goose and duck liver to be served throughout the city starting, well…now. Celebrations are going on at restaurants all over town, but nowhere are they louder than at Hot Doug’s, a shrine to encased meats located in my old neighborhood. The owner of that venerable establishment, Mr. Doug Sohn, was the only restaurateur to actively resist the ban, and became the only person to be fined under the law. It’s probably too late to get his money back, but then glory is better than gold (anyway in this instance it is).
Of course a good many animal rights activists are crying fowl over the decision. Be that as it may the city had no right to assert its legislative authority over menus to begin with. The initial ban wasn’t even democratic, having been foisted onto an agenda vote like an earmark onto a federal appropriations bill. I hope a lesson will be drawn from this by all those seeking to impose subjective laws on perfectly legitimate food items. I “hope”, but I won’t hold my breath, since similar measures on everything from veal cutlets to shortening to cheeseburgers are even now pending in states and municipalities across the nation. The illiberal dietary scolds of the world are certain to stage a comeback.
But until then long live Mayor Daley and long live the foie gras dog!!!!