Foie Gras. It's controversial. It looks gross. It's delicious.
This weekend I did the Frenchest thing I have done to date and I learned how to make it!
I gathered with my CIEE folks in one of my professor's apartment (which was adorable as many French apartments seem to be) Saturday night and step by step, transformed a pink ball of fatty liver into a smaller browned ball of fatty liver The actual cooking of foie gras isn't complicated at all. Although, as with most French food, it is an art within itself. Watching my professor scuttle around her small kitchen, mumbling French words here and there to herself , I felt like I had gone through some Narnia-Esq portal into the heart of real French cuisine. Subtle things like measuring salt into grams instead of tablespoons and sipping homemade vin chaud transformed my night into something out of a movie.
All it really takes is some simmering water and spices. You submerge it in the hot water for five or six minutes and then dunk it into cold water. Next you salt it (better to have more than less in this step) and finally you smoosh it down into a dish where it will sit for a few days in the refrigerator until it's ready to be eaten with some good wine and toast. It was as easy as pie! So easy I almost forget how it's prepared before we obtained the liver in the market...
I completely understand why it's a touchy subject. It's prohibited to import in India. It's illegal to produce in Australia, Argentina and Brazil. It's illegal in countries all over Europe including the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Finland, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland, Turkey, Norway, and most of the Austrian provinces. Thanks to general animal protection laws in Ireland, Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom mean that production is essentially banned there as well.
Before I spend my evening creating such an iconic French food, I was right there with these countries. Now I am caught between my feelings on the process and the artistry of it all. Yet, at the end of the day, foie gras will still be around and even if I am not completely supportive, I am glad I got to experience just another one of the delicacies that French life has offered me.