Don't you hate when you have a brilliant idea that later turns out to be so obvious it stands out (to quote that great gastronome Raymond Chandler) like a tarantula on a slice of angel food? To wit: The tale of the city of Chicago's ... how you say ... lack of interest in the foie gras ban, well-reported on this blog, hit the news wires in a big fat AP story Tuesday. Scanning the different headlines and puns ("Liver let liver"; "Eateries duck foie gras ban"), I thought for the 900th time that this city is finally living up to its gangster-era rep in a clear way. Instead of brandy in coffee cups and knocking thrice, it's free livery amuse bouche and the Fwah Graa at Hot Doug's winky-winkeroo.
The AP author made the same connection (of course): "Evoking Chicago’s Prohibition-era past, when a password could gain entry into a speakeasy, at least one restaurant is rumored to be serving foie gras to customers who ask for the 'special lobster' dish." It's a pretty juicy article; there's even a hilarious quote from David Richards of Sweets & Savories claiming, "I kind of feel left out" (his restaurant hasn't been investigated, although he's apparently received The Letter). There's also another satisfyingly just-the-facts-ma'am quote from Health Department spokesman Tim Hadac: “We need to focus as much as possible on things that actually make people sick and kill people. Our mission is to protect human health and not the health of geese and ducks.’’
Which leads me to my point: although the Prohibition comparison may soon be evoked to the point of tedium, I can't stop thinking about the major Broadway musical we can expect within 10 or 20 years. Or perhaps a Bolcom opera. A kind of Chicago/Untouchables/Gatsby/Scarface/Some Like It Hot/Kurt Weill/Love Me or Leave Me type of thing. With an Eliot Ness restaurant inspector, a Ruth Etting-style sous chef who just can't give up the fatty liver her gangster boyfriend provides (although she really loves a PETA rep), two drag-wearing dishwashers on the run after witnessing a lobe being smuggled into a kitchen, a big boss Richard M. type lurking powerfully in the background, renegade ax-wielding gavage protestors freeing geese by cracking open their barrels, Roxie Hart restaurant PR flaks jumping in front of the cameras. It would write itself! Evoke all the glitz and corruption of the roaring 00s. Bring back the Charleston--I mean, the Cha Cha Slide. Win a Tony. All that. What should we call it?