fois gras day

If I am perfectly honest, there are just some foods here that, well, scare me. But I decided to face one of those fears head on. I figured it was sort of a once-in-a-lifetime event for me and, well, what the heck. I’d also promised to go with a friend who is real into food but a little hesitant about attending the event… as he’d be the only man there.

The food fear du jour (so to speak) is fois gras. Fois gras, if you don’t know, is duck or goose liver. Made so incredibly fat that it’s simply not natural and even some French think it just might be a wee bit cruel to force feed the birds so that their livers become so enormous. A group I belong to here and normally go to museums or shopping outings with hosted today’s culinary event: the preparation of fois gras and truffles. The chocolate kind, not the kind pigs sniff out in the woods.

First omen of the day: my friend cancelled. His in-laws arrive for their first visit tomorrow and he doesn’t feel anywhere near ready. Ok, I can appreciate that. But I’d made such a big deal about going myself to see this preparation for myself, I couldn’t very well back out. Which I seriously wanted to.

I got to the fois gras preparation event just in time. They started by making chocolate truffles. Those look and smell good. The preparation is, well, normal. Not in the least bit disgusting.

Then, we moved into the dining room for the main event. The fois gras.

The hostess hoisted this giant, tan blob onto the table and announced this was the fois gras. This is what all the fuss is about. A big, ugly blob that weighed nearly two pounds and in no way could come out of any ordinary duck I’ve ever seen. Then she pried it apart and said that all you have to do is carefully pull the veins out. It took her quite a while and nearly every nose in the room turned up at the idea and then at the sight. Once she’d decided she’d pulled all the veins out, she pressed the two halves back together to form it into it’s original giant blob state and then she marinated it (poured salt, pepper and wine over it) then wrapped it in foil and declared it ready to sit in the fridge for two days. When I have something that looks like that in the fridge, I throw it away, I don’t treasure it.

Like Rachel Ray, she then pulled a marinated one out of the fridge and said it was ready to cook. All that needed was a pressure cooker…. and a good cold to prevent being able to smell… and in a few minutes… voila! Fois gras. Still not ready to eat, oh no, you have to stick it back in the fridge so you can enjoy it cold. And I use the word enjoy liberally here.

Naturally, there was a finished one ready for us to taste. No — two finished ones. And to enhance the demonstration, one still had a vein in it so we could all see what that looks like… if you’re wondering… it looks gross.

I tried eating my slice, I really did. I put it on the bread, took a sip of wine, and took a bite. It really tasted ok… just like incredibly fatty butter. But all I could think about was the way it’s prepared with the yanking of the veins… and I nearly gagged on each bite.

At least I hadn’t agreed to buy one to try to make on my own at home. Not only does that mean digging around for the vein yourself… it means forking over 25 Euros (or so) to do it!

Another French tradition I don’t have to worry about missing when we move back to the states.

One Response to “fois gras day”

  1. D.A.D. says:

    I would have left as soon as the blob appeared and she said she needed to de-vane it. You have demonstrated a stomach far beyond what I thought as my daughter you would have!

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.