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7889**US** Getting raked over coals a good recipe for writer

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  • Rebecca Ortinau
    Apr 7, 2005
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      John Kass, Chicago Tribune
      April 7, 2005

      Today, readers mock me for being pro-choice on foie gras and for not knowing the drinking habits of Hannibal Lecter. Oh, and other readers want me to broaden my mind and change my socks.

      You owe Charlie Trotter a big gravy-soaked thank-you for giving you several columns. But a true bean soup man wouldn't waste half a keystroke standing up for the consumers of foie gras. I do believe you are an elitist, revealed in your true glory like a stubborn escargot that Charlie lovingly coaxed from its shell! E.C.

      Dear E.C.--Hey tu, I only serve the finest liver sausage. But Trotter had the last laugh. I once compared him to the fictional character Hannibal Lecter for Trotter's threats against a rival chef's liver. Then, in Wednesday's column, he offered to make Kass' Beer Can Chicken if I purchased a ridiculously expensive wine, an $18,500 bottle of Chateau Petrus. I didn't comprehend his sarcastic humor. I've since learned the wine was a favorite of the Lecter character, who also was a connoisseur of liver. "Ol' Chaz was zinging you," wrote a colleague. "You should have laughed knowingly, put on your best James Bond accent and remarked offhandedly, `That wine is quite excellent. In fact, for such a grand meal as beer-can chicken I would have expected a claret.'" For my failure to get the joke, I deserve an imperious stare from Chef Trotter, and public humiliation, but I hope he cares enough about his customers to make my chicken.

      Your vilification of Charlie Trotter for speaking out against inhumanely force-feeding ducks to provide a fat liver for foie gras was disrespectful. There are many of us who agree with Mr. Trotter. P.R.

      Dear P.R.--I admire his talent. We simply disagree on philosophy. For those of you who, like me, think that every American should have a right to choose, there is an elegant T-shirt on the market: a happy duck, with the caption, "Stop Tofu Abuse, Eat Foie Gras." Jo Lynne Lockley, an agent for several chefs in San Francisco and a foie gras advocate, told me about the shirt, which can be found at creativeorigins.com. This just in: North Side Ald. Joe Moore (49th), former watchdog against City Hall corruption, chose a safer target at Wednesday's City Council meeting by introducing anti-foie gras legislation in Chicago. Brave Joe Moore.