Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Joy (and or misery) of cooking! => Part I : Vive le Foie! (aka: Long Live Liver)

The frogs have a long standing tradition of eating strange things. I doubt I'll get to all of them, but I will do my damnedest. Today's lesson... FAT ORGANS, namely Foie Gras.

The basic principal here in case you aren't up to speed is you're eating goose liver. A giant, FAT, goose liver.

You can actually SEE the fat on it. My photo illustrates it poorly (here's a good one), but there's a large chunk of YELLOW jelly-like goo on top of the slices. (I'm shuddering just thinking about it.) But this is actually normal. It's supposed wear its fat on the outside. It's proud of its curves. Me? I'm imagining those tiny jaune globules making their way to my thighs every time I take a bite.

I'm wondering who first cooked up this idea. Seriously, who says to him or herself...

Soulless Chef: "What if I force-fed a duck until it got so fat it burst?"

Soulless Chef's friend: "Sweet." (beevis laugh)

Soulless Chef
: "Wait, I'm not done! What if after..." scratches chin, "I know, I KNOW! What if after, we ate its liver?"

Soulless Chef's friend: blink, blink blink. (Throws up).

Obviously the dark forces worked overtime to concoct this delicacy.

I was amazed to learn on Wikipedia that
French law actually protects this dish, considering it an essential ingredient to the heritage of French gastronomical marvels. Really? Liver?? Liver, that is four times fatter than normal organs, needs protection? I guess it makes a certain sense. If you didn't have a law to protect it who would put fat-bearing-liver products at the top of the list of things that need preservation? Hmm. Wonder what punishment would be for not serving it at xmas... I put my money on Guillotine.

Now, I've tried it. It's pretty good with a nice chutney or fig confiture, but I still don't see what all the fuss is about. At holidays and special occasions, foie gras shares the same degree of requirement as Champagne (see blog "Bit of ze bubbly").

It's usually served with a sweet wine, like Sauterne, to bring out the flavors. In my case, it's an excuse to drink Sauterne, but I'm a wino. My alcohol-induced opinion probably doesn't count. (A little SAT prep for you: Sauterne is to Shannon as Beer is to Homer Simpson.) Give me a straw and a bottle of Sauterne & I'm one happy (drunk) camper.

Apparently France produced 18,450 tons of it in 2005. Yes, TONS. That's the weight of your average semi. Of FAT LIVER. Someone explain to me how these people are skinny? Me no get.

When it's all said and done, you're still just eating a goose who gagged on corn for a year. I hope I haven't just spoiled it for you connaisseurs.


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