Contested Tastes: Foie Gras and the Politics of Food

An inside look at the complex and controversial debates surrounding foie gras


Dec 4, 2018
6.12 x 9.25 in.
10 halftones
Buy This

In the past decade, the French delicacy foie gras—the fattened liver of ducks or geese that have been force-fed through a tube—has been at the center of contentious battles. In Contested Tastes, Michaela DeSoucey takes us to farms, restaurants, protests, and political hearings in both the United States and France to reveal why people care so passionately about foie gras—and why we should care, too. Bringing together fieldwork, interviews, and materials from archives and the media on both sides of the Atlantic, DeSoucey offers a compelling look at the moral arguments and provocative actions of pro- and anti-foie gras forces. She combines personal stories with fair-minded analysis and draws our attention to the cultural dynamics of markets, the multivocal nature of “gastropolitics,” and the complexities of what it means to identify as a “moral” eater in today’s food world. Investigating the causes and consequences of the foie gras wars, Contested Tastes illuminates the social significance of food and taste in the twenty-first century.

Awards and Recognition

  • Winner of the 2016 Distinguished Scholarly Publication Award, Consumers and Consumption Section of the American Sociological Association
  • Winner of the 2017 Mary Douglas Prize for Best Book, Sociology of Culture Section of the American Sociological Association
  • Winner of a 2017 Gourmand World Cookbook Award, National Winner in “Culinary History”