Every country has its own unique culinary heritage that has developed over time and that has led to specific eating behaviors, eating patterns, and attitudes toward food. In this thesis, I aim to answer a central question: how have the culinary histories of France and the United States shaped their respective views of foie gras production, consumption, and legislation? How have these also impacted the cultural values placed on foie gras? The main objectives of this thesis are to analyze the culinary histories of France and the United States, to examine how foie gras has integrated into the two countries and how it is valued each, and to connect the value placed on foie gras in each culture with how the product is legislated. The methods behind this thesis include reading primary source documents, history books, legislative documents, and articles on the anthropology of food. Patterns and themes in terms of cultural attitudes toward food were noted from the research, from which conclusions and hypotheses could be drawn. Foie gras is a controversial product: in France, it is a prized national dish deeply embedded within the culture. In the US, it is a luxury product that is denounced by multiple animal rights organizations despite being relatively unknown. The value that each country places on foie gras has influenced the legislation surrounding it. For France, this means protecting foie gras from increased legislation by the European Union. For the US, this has translated to bans on foie gras in multiple states due to the industry being small and relatively powerless. The future of foie gras remains uncertain in the US while remaining relatively stable within French culture, though there are some potential strategies in which both sides may meet in the middle to preserve this cherished French dish.
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