A Trip to Flavor Country

October 5, 2010

Régis Tienda

Every now and then She Who Must Be Obeyed surprises me with some previously unknown tidbit about food or cooking. On more than one occasion she had mentioned that the son of one of her work colleagues was spending a year abroad in France, staying at the home of a family that ran a restaurant and was one of the region’s foie gras producers. I didn’t think much more about it until she brought home a video cassette from the restaurant, loaned to her by her friend.

The tape, titled Voyage au pays de la saveur: Comment préparer son foie gras, avec Régis Tienda, looked interesting, but was unwatchable due to it being recorded in an incompatible format. (The French use the SECAM standard, parts of Europe use PAL, and the Americas use NTSC.) She Who was absolutely determined that I watch this purported masterpiece, so she had the tape converted to DVD at a local remastering facility. I no longer had an excuse; I had to watch the thing.

While I waited for the conversion, I translated the title, which in English is “A trip to flavor country: How to prepare foie gras, with Régis Tienda.” Using Google I translated the rest of the cover text:

Located on the borders of Limousin, Gold Country Farm continues a tradition of products through the art of ancestral knowledge. The farm, with its lush greenery in the heart of an apple orchard, raises their ducks to meet exacting tastes.

Béatrice and Régis Tienda are eager to share their passion for the culinary gem that is foie gras.

Seared terrine, torchon, or canned, this tape will deliver all the secrets of these recipes.

To celebrate your palate, all of the techniques, from cutting the duck to decorate your plate, are detailed in this film. A safe and effective method to achieve your own foie gras preparations.

Much to my surprise, the DVD was both entertaining and informative, Régis certainly knows his way around a duck, and he clearly knows how to cook foie gras. Rather than describe his presentation, I have broken the video into its individual chapters, which I provide here for your viewing pleasure.

Chapter 1: The Cutting

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Chapter 2: Cooked Foie Gras

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Chapter 3: Deveining

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Chapter 4: Seared Foie Gras

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Chapter 5: Foie Gras Conserve

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My knowledge of French is limited to cooking terms and menu translations, but I was still able to follow along with the demonstrations. Although the tape is seventeen years old, the basic principles of foie gras preparation haven’t changed: cook it simply and pair it with accompaniments that balance the richness and texture. I’m looking forward to celebrating my palate by trying one of Régis’ recipes.

I’m still having trouble with the notion of having foie gras to put up in jars. In what magical realm can one utter the phrase “extra foie gras”? I want to go to there.

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