When you were young, you may have been one of the many children who hate being served liver - and it was only the threat of 'no dessert' that made you force it down. What is it? The largest internal organ in an animal. (The only larger organ is the skin.) The livers of many domesticated and wild animals are eaten. With some breeds of duck and goose, the liver is the primary purpose for raising the animal - the birds are force fed, which enlarges the liver and turns it into foie gras. What to look for? Like most internal organs, fresh liver goes 'off' quickly, so it should be stored in the fridge and cooked within a couple of days of purchase. (Fresh foie gras is sold in vacuum-sealed packs, which keeps it edible for longer; once the seal is broken, the liver should be used quickly.) Cooked liver - in the forms of pate, liverwurst and sausage - keeps longer than raw meat. In fact, pate that is sealed with a layer of clarified butter can be kept for months in the fridge as long as it was cooked and is being stored correctly. What else? The best canned foie gras product is labelled 'entier' and is made of the entire lobe, rather than being composed of small pieces or made from a puree. Check the ingredients list: foie gras entier should contain just foie gras and seasonings such as wine (often sauterne or armagnac) and truffles. How to use: fresh liver from all animals should be cooked briefly - if it's overcooked, the meat gets tough and grainy. Pork liver is delicious when poached: slice the liver about 5mm thick then blanch the pieces in boiling water for 30 seconds (leaving them slightly pink inside). Drain the liver and place on a platter, add a mound of fresh coriander leaves, julienned spring onions and ginger, drizzle some soy sauce on top then pour hot oil over everything so it sizzles and wilts the aromatics. Chicken liver has a smooth, delicate texture and, as with other parts of the bird, is delicious fried. Trim any dark spots and connective tissue from the liver then season it with salt, pepper, paprika and a little cayenne. Dredge it in flour then dip in beaten egg and dredge again. Fry the liver for a few minutes in hot oil then drain on paper towels.