('fw�-'gr�): (n.) the fatted liver of an animal and especially of a goose, usually served as a pate.
On any given night, if you walk by the right restaurant, you can see them. They travel in packs. They carry signs and bullhorns. They're selfless defenders of the innocent, of those unable to defend themselves: innocent ducks and defenseless geese. They're foie gras protesters. And they're so offended by people like me that they spend their nights of leisure not dining in restaurants, but picketing them.
I don't have quite so much free time. I spend my nights trying to earn an honest living. I don't torture ducks and geese, but I'm also not offended by those who like to eat their innards. And I certainly don't show up outside the offices of these protesters during their business hours and try to drive their customers away with disruptive yelling and graphic posters. Then again, maybe they're independently wealthy defenders of innocent poultry. Must be nice.
Maybe, though, it's not entirely their fault. Foie gras tends to inspire a certain amount of fanatical behavior all its own. I should know. My own moment of foie gras lunacy came a few years back when I was still a relative virgin in the world of trendy Philadelphia restaurants.
I was working as a server at a brand-new restaurant, being introduced to all kinds of foreign delicacies. The one I loved most was foie gras. I couldn't believe I'd never tried this stuff before. It was buttery! It was creamy! It was ... delicious!
I was hooked. For the week before the restaurant opened, during our staff tastings, I was the girl who was always trying to butter up the kitchen guys for a little extra foie. By the time we opened I'd developed a habit. I needed foie gras, and I needed it now. I started inventing ways to sneak it from the line cooks. I made them cappuccinos. I brought in donuts in the mornings. And then one day I crossed the line.
It was toward the end of the night, and there were only a few more orders to fill when I felt the need. I asked the sous chef for a little taste, but to no avail. Precious moments were ticking away--soon the kitchen would be closed. In a moment of sheer desperation, I offered one of the line cooks a covert deal: a quick peek at one of my twins in exchange for a little sweet foie gras lovin'.
His eyes got wide. I pulled out an eyeful of my right boob. They got wider. And then the foie gras was mine. Sure, it was a little crude. But in that moment I found myself satiated in a way those protesters will never, ever understand.