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Saturday, August 16, 2014

Foods I don't like....... so far. Number 1: Liver

As a child, we were not given a choice of what we wanted for dinner. The food was put on the table and we ate it!  End of story! I think this is why my brothers and I will give most any food a try.  Luckily for me, liver was not a mainstay at our home.

Liver and onions, Aunt Tassie's Thanksgiving rice and liver dressing, French goose liver pâté, liverwurst, etc... My dad happens to like liver, but we never had it at our house.  He tells a story of going to a coworker's house for lunch and the mom served liver.  His friend had told my dad that his Jewish mama made the best liver and onions in the world. Well, if someone makes the "best" my dad wants to try it.  Off they go to a special lunch.  Dad eats his steak rare (as do I), but he has never had liver steaks cooked rare.  How did the mom cook them you may wonder?  ...very rare. For once, my dad was at a loss of what to do.  Being taught to respect elders, eat what you are served, etc... he did what anyone would do. He ate a bite of the liver, told his mom it was delicious, and when she left the room, promptly, gave it to his friend who had already polished off his serving with gusto.  HAHA!  Yes, that's my dad.  I may have not told the story verbatim, and I may have embellished it a bit, thoughtfully omitting his descriptive "blood dripping off of every bite" and the like comments, but nonetheless, my dad can tell you in his own words if you just ask.  

I have a few liver stories of my own.  I have many friends and relatives who are Jewish and liver seems to find its place on many tables at several occasions.  I cannot tell you how many times I have heard: "she makes the best chopped liver in the world". By gosh, if it's the best, I want to try it.  Try it I do!! I must have tried the "best" liver hundreds of times, yet I still don't like it.  

While living in France, I stayed with a wonderful lady who wanted me to experience all of the traditional French foods.  Tried them all with the gusto of a world traveling gourmand until..... the beautifully presented pâté de foie gras. Goose liver!  There it sat on a plate, sliced from the perfect rectangular mold, mocking me as I stared it face to face.  I knew I would like the French bread...that's a given, but the liver? Oh my... I'm sure I was asked if I liked liver. "Biensur" (of course) I like anything BEFORE I try it (unlike many children who say "I don't like it" before they have even tried it) and I had not had homemade pate before.  In the back of my mind, the haunting of other liver episodes reared their ugly heads into my conscious mind.  I tried it and there it was, the unmistakable liver taste that I just can't bring myself to enjoy.  The old adage of "try something three times and you will like it" just hasn't worked with the liver. I've tried it so many times, I've lost count.  One thing that I do enjoy, which at first glance, looks like a rustic "oh my gosh, not again!" liver pâté is pork rillettes.  It was an occasion, where to be polite, I was going to HAVE to eat that darn liver. What a pleasant surprise, when it wasn't liver, but pork! Yes, good ole pork.  I could eat that all day with French bread and little cornichons.  It's made of all things pork except for the liver.  If the liver is there, I certainly would taste it.  Another liver adventure...... 

My aunt Tassie makes a traditional Thanksgiving stuffing using giblets, liver, and rice. Since it's a family tradition, I will always eat some.  Yes, it has bits of liver in it, but also cinnamon.  The cinnamon saves the day. Those specks of liver and gizzard are discretely hidden on my plate, or sometimes, I can tolerate them, barely though. It's an interesting combination to say the least. My eldest brother would always have a pot of it to take home since he loved it so much. He would forgo the turkey and just eat the dressing I do believe. 

The photo that goes with this story, was taken at a restaurant in Chamblee, GA.  I saw "rabbit livers" and a few of my friends were saying that they like liver.  Me, on the other hand, had visions of liver and onions sitting in the line of a southern cafeteria, crackers with liverwurst, baguettes with pate, chicken livers sold in little margarine-like tubs with a happy chicken on the container (why is it happy, it's missing it's liver?) and I quickly remember that I don't really want to spend $$$ on something that with all probability I won't enjoy. I had the risotto with vegetables.... including BEETS! Oh my gosh, it's another food that I will eat to be polite.  Beet stories for next time. 

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Ingredients I must have in my kitchen (It's a long list, but I try and have these items on hand)

  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Cheese
  • Cumin
  • Curry
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Fresh Bread
  • Fresh Cilantro
  • Fresh Fruit
  • Fresh Garlic
  • Fresh Parsley
  • Greek Oregano
  • Kalamata Olives
  • Lemon ( At least 3 or 4 ALWAYS)
  • Peppers (Wax, Jalapeno, banana)
  • Red Wine Vinegar
  • Regular Olive Oil
  • Rice
  • Salad Ingredients
  • Sea Salt
  • Spanish Olives
  • White Balsamic Vinegar
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