Ahhhh! This morning we have the delectable Ms Winslet, arms held aloft in prayer to the almighty, roped to the bow of yet another creaking tub full of screaming hysterics convinced that the end of the world is nigh.
Yes, she is the figurehead for PETAs latest voyage into the treacherous waters surrounding ‘other people’s eating habits’.
It is not enough for the PETA hysterics to confine themselves to a diet of Brussel sprouts – they want everybody else to join them, force fed, no less.
Even looking as she does above, on a bed of fur, cruelly ripped from the body of some weasel somewhere (she was duped I tell you, she was duped, they told her it was fake fur, and the daft bint couldn’t tell the difference) (besides, the pictures were good for her career, and she is an artiste) but even looking as delectable as that was not sufficient to keep husband Sam Mendes in her bed after seven years of sharing the marital pit with the after effects of his wife’s exclusively Brussel sprout diet.
Now she has ‘lent her voice’ – not her body, you understand, after being duped once you cannot be too careful – to PETA’s anti-Foie Gras campaign.
I live in the centre of Foie Gras country – and in the centre of the French tobacco industry, too – we are multiple sinners round here. I know a thing or two about the sheer reverence with which those Geese are treated.
Kate is not alone in her vocal opposition to the trade; there is a miserable band of Peruvian jumpered, plastic sandaled, grey faced English women who hang around a nearby supermarket every Saturday morning, in a vain attempt to collect signatures for their petition to ban not just the rich and famous in far flung capital cities, but the entire world, the entire world, I tell you, including the entire population of the Dordogne, from eating Foie Gras.
They are convinced that the farmers round here keep a happy flock of Geese strutting round the plum trees in the sunshine, waddling their way, of their own volition, to the feeding sheds in the evening, as a front to conceal an evil trade which results in the ‘animals becoming sick and unable to move naturally’. I have yet to see a French farmer carrying his Geese to the feeding sheds.
She says ‘no one pays a higher price than the Ducks and Geese who are abused and killed to make it’.
One thing about the French is that they do not abuse and kill any animal for a small part of that animal. Not for them the sanitised packets of cellophane wrapped skinned chicken breast. They sell them here, but you won’t see any self respecting French woman buying them. They buy the entire animal and use every last part of it. They have a reverence bordering on religious obsession with the quality of their food.
The local butcher’s shop will routinely tell you who reared each and every piece of meat that he sells – he needs to know, for the housewife will ask. Did it graze on Pierre’s waterside meadows, or feed on John-Paul’s slightly rougher grass? The answer will dictate how she cooks it.
In October the conversations begin as to who has reared the finest Geese. Addresses will be swapped, journeys made to far flung farms, and the foie gras will return home to be soaked overnight in the finest Monbazillac, simmered for a brief few minutes, anxiously watched, and then placed in the prized family foie gras presse; sealed with goose fat, and placed in the larder for Christmas. It is as much a ritual as making the foul treacley Christmas pudding is for the English.
I cannot speak for the Brussel sprout farmers up north and Kate is right to be cautious at lending more than her voice to this campaign, for I doubt PETA have told her anything of the fate of the Brussel Sprout.
I have heard dark tales of the raising of Brussel sprouts. They live in the cold, hard, and waterlogged clay of Northern lands, deliberately left out in the harsh winter frosts merely to improve their flavour. They say you can see them trembling in the fields, nervously waiting for the day when they will be plucked, still alive, by noisy mechanical hands from their Mother’s arms.
Hurled into rough wooden crates, they may wait days to be collected by Lorries and transported hundreds of miles to factories where they are frozen solid and forced into plastic bags before being stored in sub-zero temperatures in a supermarket.
Come Christmas time, whilst the French are enjoying their Apero et amuses bouches on a still sunlit terrace, the English are shivering in their rarely used kitchens, thoughtlessly chucking those Brussel Sprouts into boiling water in order to fill their marital bed with noxious sulphur fumes. It is as much a ritual as eating good food is for the French.
I might have left it too late to be duped into posing naked on a fake fur spread, but I reckon I could still lend my voice to a campaign to save the Brussel sprout.