In some regards, foodie culture hasn't progressed much from caveman times. Then as now, bringing home a good cut of meat can impress a crowd. These days, however, barbarian tastes are disguised in more civilized ways. Here's a primer on how to sound sophisticated while ordering savagely. When it comes to hors d'oeuvres, think about foie gras. We refer to it by its French name, but it's still the same liver praised by your mother as being good for you. Make sure your slice of heaven hails from the Hudson Valley of New York, too; it does make a difference. Seasoned pros will order this starter with a small glass of Sauterne, a nectar-sweet wine that elevates foie gras to an ethereal level. If looking for other alternatives, try a Pinot Noir, Sangiovese or Beaujolais (Gamay), which offer flavor and palate-cleansing acidity. In the same family of high-end snacks, consider sweetbreads. Yes, they're made from a gland best kept a mystery, and preparation should never be attempted at home. Nevertheless, its fans often claim that a slight lightheadedness accompanies its digestion. This appetizer is often accompanied by a waiter's quiet nod of approval, particularly if you can do your own wine pairing. Sweetbreads, considered a white meat, are well matched with whites like Chardonnay, Albarino and Graves-style Sauvignon Blanc.
On to the Main Course
Foodies embrace the concept that, at least when it comes to meat, fat is good. Its primary virtue is its ability to ward off dryness in cooking. Steaks of lesser pedigree than a filet mignon will earn a place at the table just by being well marbled with fat. Although tougher in texture, marbled fat provides juicy flavor. Today, butter is the gold standard in boosting fat, usurping lard in all but some circles. Look up "lardoons" in Joy of Cooking, and you'll find a clever little method of injecting pork fat into a lean steak before grilling.