Dear Foie Gras,

I don’t blame you completely for keeping me from getting that waitress job at the swanky Soho restaurant I applied to, but I blame you enough to demand that you claim some accountability in the matter. How was I to know what you were, Foie Gras? I’ve never eaten in a fancy restaurant. I don’t speak French. How was I to know they gave prospective wait staff competency tests asking them about obscure high-cuisine dishes? If it makes you feel better, I am also writing a letter to oysters regarding another question on that same test, one asking me to name three types of oysters and three adjectives that could describe them.

So I know now that you are not a wheatgrass pasta dish resembling risotto. I never actually thought you were that, but I had to write something down. In fact, I don’t really know what risotto is, either, but I have a sneaking suspicion it is some sort of rice and has absolutely nothing to do with pasta at all. I’ve discovered through inquiry that you are duck liver and that you can be quite tasty when cooked correctly. If I’d been the type of person who actually shops at the designer stores in Soho, I probably would have known that right off the bat.

So here is where I need your help, Foie Gras. You are served in many of these fancy-schmance restaurants. Surely you must know something about them that can help keep me from repeating the incident where I wrote on one of those quizzes that the difference between champagne and sparkling wine is that the latter has “more bubbles.” I need a contact in one of these places so I can make $400 a night to do the same (if not less) work I did in that Indian restaurant I used to work at where the owner referred to me as “the girl” and people gave me tips based on what they thought was appropriate in an ethnic restaurant of that sort.

Not to be offensive, but I wish your name were easier to pronounce. As I stated earlier, I can’t speak French. It might have saved me a little face in the corresponding interview for the aforementioned waitress job if I had referred to you as “fwa graw” (as you like to call yourself) instead of “foy grass” (which is how I assumed you said it). I don’t think it would have erased the wheatgrass screwup, but at least I could have walked out of there with some pride.

I know you are French and thus very sophisticated. I know you laugh at the 37-cent generic boxes of macaroni and cheese I buy for dinner and eat with cut-up bits of hot dog for added flavor. But I’ll have you know I do know a little something about “haute cuisine.” For example, I have eaten gelato. I have also eaten hors d’oeuvres.

Briefly, I’d like to mention that during my childhood I was acquainted with your kinsmen (kinsducks?), Donald and Daisy, who moved to the north of France to be greeters at an upscale theme park sometime in the mid ’80s. How is that working out for them?

I don’t really expect you to respond, because I know you are busy making many restaurant entrepreneurs happy in your role as a high-priced entrée (side dish?). But it would be nice to have some tips to help me on my next restaurant quiz. Cross your fingers, ‘cause if all goes well, someday I’ll be serving up a nice big plate of you to some high-society types who’ll be drooling all over themselves to devour you on the spot.

Thanks so much for your time.

Jennifer O’Reilly