As we head into our fourth installment of Friday night dinner, I am once again required to use some creative license. This episode (s1:e6, Rory’s Birthday Parties) actually contains two Friday night dinners. (Re-watching the episodes with this bias has amazed me with how quickly the weeks fly by in the Gilmore world!) The first dinner only mentions dessert: pudding. What’s the big deal with pudding? A very big deal– in fact, it’s the driving force behind the entire episode. Emily is being more than a good hostess. This is an olive branch, a buried hatchet, a… Trojan horse? No! I won’t believe that of her!
In Lorelai’s understanding, “That would mean that she actually made a mental note that we liked pudding, which would mean that she actually listened to something other than the judgmental conga line going on in her head, and got over the fact that, to her, pudding is hospital food, and only acceptable when you’ve just had vital organ ripped out of your body.” Who knew that pudding could say so much? Say no more, homemade pudding coming up. I don’t have any crystal bowls, so a wine glass will have to do.
The second dinner is Rory’s birthday party, which Emily has insisted that they spend at her house, as it occurs on Friday night. After the pudding event, Rory hesitates to tell her mom that Emily has invited her entire Chilton class, to Rory’s humiliation. She arrives at the party already in a foul mood. When Lorelai asks her if she wants something to eat, Rory’s response is, “Everything smells funny.” There are no visuals or further elaboration on what is being served. However, when Lorelai and Rory regroup in Lorelai’s old bedroom, Lorelai reminisces about her last birthday party there as a child. She was pregnant and made Emily mad by saying “something at the table about the pâté smelling like Clorox.” There we go. Evidently, Emily always serves something at her parties that “smells funny,” so why not make pâté? I’ve never made or eaten pâté; perhaps it’s time.
There are two pieces of background information that you should know. First, I hate liver. This goes back longer than I can remember. One Thanksgiving, my mom decided to be creative/sneaky and added liver to the stuffing. Yankee stuffing is one of my all-time favorite dishes and the thing I look forward to most on Thanksgiving. I knew it instantly, and have never quite forgiven her for “ruining” my Thanksgiving dinner. It’s not been an acquired taste, either, but has persisted throughout adulthood.
I have hesitated about revealing the second bit of information this early, but it is so vital to the true painting of this pâté picture. I am newly pregnant with our second child. (Do you get the title now? There’s some sweet alliteration for you.) Now, I am one of those lucky (?) pregnant people who is only queasy when I don’t have food in my mouth. At first, then, I thought, “This is great. If I like pâté, it will be a nice, filling snack. Healthy, with lots of good iron for developing organs. It can’t taste too much like liver, right?” Well, even though I’m eating almost constantly, I am still prone to food aversions. Actually, I’m like that anyway. The first time I tried bulletproof coffee, I liked it, but just couldn’t get over the fact that I was drinking butter. Or being freaked out by a horror movie– what my brain does with it is so much scarier than the reality.
So, here we go. I got through the pâté prep without too much mental or physical nausea. The liver prep was kind of gross, but it smelled great cooking and even better when mixed with the butter and thyme. The recipe I used makes it look so appetizing, and the author swears that she eats it by the spoonful. I let it sit in the fridge for a day in an attempt to clear my brain of any liver connotations. Then I made up a fabulous cheese plate and took some pictures, studiously avoiding any taste of the pâté… yet.
Looks gorgeous, right? As I finished the mini photo shoot and brought the fork to the sink, I challenged myself: don’t think about it, just eat it… and popped the fork into my mouth. My first thought: “This tastes amazing!” Then, “Oh, maybe I taste the liver a bit…” I brought the cheese plate into the living room for our own TV dinner, and waited for my husband (who also hates liver) to be the true guinea pig. His first taste: “So good! A tiny bit of liver aftertaste.” I felt encouraged. His second taste: “Gross! Oh, yuck— livery, liver, liver!” That’s not helping my overactive brain! He worked up his courage for a third taste a bit later and said, “I just can’t do it. The first taste is amazing, but the aftertaste is always liver.” That did it for me. Done. My brain and stomach were both in knots just thinking about it. Into the freezer it went. I’m sure it will still taste like liver when defrosted, but I’ll save it for my in-laws when they visit, who actually like liver. Shudder. We ate this after Chompers was in bed, so he didn’t get a taste before it was banished to the freezer. I’m very curious to know if he would like it, though. (Plus, it’s a great form of entertainment to give your kids weird foods to try. I’m so terrible.) I’ll get out the Toddler Cam and give it a go when my MIL visits this week.
So, should you make pâté? It was easy, stores well, and may impress your guests. But will you like it? Only you can decide, but I made up a handy little algorithm to assist you:
Suffice it to say, I have learned that unless I have an overarching craving for it, I should stay away from food aversions during pregnancy. For this meal, I’ll stick with the pudding. This may be an added twist to the Friday Night Dinners. Emily had better be kind to me, or I might stick around only as long as Lorelai did when she was pregnant. (Don’t worry– you may have to suffer through a few stories, but this isn’t going to turn into a pregnancy blog!) The redeeming quality of making pâté? We had to buy brandy. Husband is happy. 🙂
I have to say my only experience with pate was at a French restaurant specializing in pate. I chose the pate a la orange. I found that a teensy schmear on toast points was amazing. Once it was 30% pate and 70% toast, I freaked out a little. But the very, very light, buttery coating I placed on my whole grain toast points was delicious. 🙂
You are so brave. In no world, ever, will I be touching liver or preparing it in any way for any one.
And eeek! Congratulations!!!
Ha Ha! I would have liked to have seen that whole experiment.
(btw – I like pate.)
Once again you have proved to be an adventurous gastronome! And can you already hear the oohs, ahhs and squeals of delight from your book club friends about the pregnancy? We are very happy for you, the hubby and Chompers.