As a general rule, I try to throw away things that have been sitting in my refrigerator for six months. But when a Michelin-star chef tells me to eat old poultry, I give him the benefit of the doubt. Chef Frederic Chabbert of Petrus gave me the goose liver terrine as a gift in December last year with the strict instruction: “zee longer you keep it, zee better the flavor.” Now, I don’t know much about terrines, but I know that it can indeed age well if kept in an airtight container. But who knows, perhaps Fred has a secret vendetta against food writers I don’t know about? So, I resorted to the oldest trick in the book—I asked the chef to eat it first. It was a torturously humid day when I schlepped the palm-sized jar to the restaurant. Within minutes, it was warming up to room temperature. Worried, I tried remembering the information they drilled into my head when I was taking a food safety test in cooking school. What was the “danger zone” when food could kill you again? Something like over 40°F, which was definitely the case here. But when Frederic brought his ears close to the jar, he nodded in confidence. “It’s a good sign,” he winked. (No sound of leaking air.) Then he unhooked the clasp and pulled on the plastic rubber seal holding it all together. The top catapulted off. “Another good sign.” A few sniffs later, and he signaled it was safe to dig in. I had just reached out for a slice of toasted baguette when I saw him frown. “Oh no, it’s poisonous, isn’t it?” I thought out loud. Apparently, no. But sitting on cushy chairs in a formal dining room with gold-rimmed charger plates was not the way to eat country terrine. This was, after all, Frederic’s grandmother’s recipe. And it was to be enjoyed the old school way, sans white table cloth. We resorted to eating it standing at the countertop in the kitchen, sharing a knife and plate. The first bite was a layer of goose and pork meat speckled with fennel and peppercorns with a dash of cognac. Next, an unctuous hunk of foie gras. The best part, however, was the layer of fat that had risen and solidified on top, perfumed with the scent of bay leaf and orange zest. Simply put—it kicks butter’s ass. “This is typical peasant fare,” Frederic said while recalling dreamy memories of his hometown in the south of France. It was the first time I heard anyone call foie gras “peasant food,” but I got the gist. There’s a romance about eating food in this straightforward way—without pretense or intimidation, or napkins. It’s the way grandma would’ve served our meals, and those are the meals that we all spend the rest of their lives trying to find again. “What we need now is some very cheap wine,” suggested Frederic. We looked over at the sommelier, who apologized earnestly. Unfortunately at Petrus, they don’t carry crappy bottles of red.