The Kitchen Think: Foie Gras Farewell


Mama’s always harping about how important it is to get your kids to help out in the kitchen. I’ve always done it, and last night was a good example of why I’m glad I practice what I preach. (Well, most of the time, anyway.)

Carlos has been in and out of Afghanistan for the past several years. Every time he walks in the front door, I silently thank God… and then immediately ask if he’s hungry. I know he’s been dreaming about food, reading about food and mentally anticipating and preparing meals in his head for as many months as he’s been gone. He loves food. Especially good food. Always has.

Carlos Eating Mussels, Paris 1991

When he’s home, we constantly talk about preparing a dish from the latest, greatest cookbook I’ve acquired (this time it was “Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking” by Nathan Myhrvold)… but it is always just talk, we never seem to get around to it. Too many last minute meals, too many new restaurants to experience, too many friends to see.

Last night we actually walked the walk.

Maybe Elizabeth Cotton’s bluesy vocals on the iPod had something to do with setting the mood, but being in the kitchen with him was special. For me, the distraction of cooking has always made it easier for my kids to talk and share confidences (especially as they’ve gotten older). You can stir a sauce or measure an ingredient while measuring your thoughts and words at the same time.

Five Spiced and Roasted Main Lobster with Port-Poached Figs and Sautéed Moulard Duck Foie Gras

We chopped, diced and sautéed, just like always. But, we also connected on a deeper level—talking, reminiscing, and laughing about everything and nothing at all.

What was different? Hard to say. Perhaps it’s because he’s a more accomplished cook now and knows what to do by instinct (which frees up his mind for more considered conversation). But I think it is as simple as this: He’s an adult now with life experiences I’ll never know. He’s grown and matured and moved on to that place your kids go where, you hope, they relate to you as a confidant… someone trusted, who will listen without passing judgment.

Ultimately, we prepared Thomas Keller’s Five Spiced and Roasted Main Lobster with Port-Poached Figs and Sautéed Moulard Duck Foie Gras from his “The French Laundry Cookbook” (1999, ISBN-10 1579651267). The dish was decadently rich, sweet, incredibly earthy and happily satisfying.

Just like the lucky few hours I got to spend cooking with Carlos… before he flies away again.

Carlos, Afghanistan 2011


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posted under The Kitchen Think

8 thoughts on “The Kitchen Think: Foie Gras Farewell

  1. angie

    How fortunate you were to have that time with him. I am actually teary thinking how special that must have been for you!

    1. Mama Post author

      I am very, very lucky. It was hard to say goodbye… especially since he did a lot of the marketing and cooking!

    1. Mama Post author

      Not brave at all… willing to give it a try and happy to eat our mistakes (as long as it’s not too burnt!).

  2. C Chavez

    I am sure that being with your son brought your High Strung
    condition down a notch or two? Beautiful, caring, thoughtful
    piece. Thank you.


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I’m Christina Chavez

I was a TV journalist for many years, but with a house full of kids I decided to come off the road, go to culinary school and follow my passion for cooking. Mama’s High Strung is all about food… everything from creative recipe ideas to some really cool kitchen gadgets and cooking tips. I live in Chicago, but I love to travel and write about my food discoveries! You can reach me by email: