Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Love It or Hate It?

Liver. It seems people either embrace or abhor it. In my lifetime, I've done both.

As a child, my mother made liver occasionally and I was a pretty typical kid in my dislike of the dry, mealy shoe leather she delivered to our dinner plates from time to time. The bacon and onion accompaniments were fine but, eeewww, don't ask me to eat the liver!

Until I met Mrs. Jenkins.

Mrs. Jenkins was a plump, gray-haired lady who babysat for our family in Patuxent River, Maryland when I was very young. She didn't come to our house, we were dropped off at hers, rather a good notion as she was on her own turf and we had been taught to behave when in other people's houses. She'd make us dinner and put us to bed in her spare room until our parents came to collect us, bathed and drowsy and already in our PJs, ready to be tucked into our own beds. We wouldn't have dreamed of misbehaving at Mrs. Jenkins' house - she was just too nice a lady.

One evening, I asked Mrs. Jenkins what was on the menu for dinner - liver. "Ugh, we hate liver!" we wailed. "That's because you've never had my liver," she replied with serene confidence, "Just wait until you taste it." I was pretty skeptical so I watched the whole procedure with a critical six year old eye and I can recall it to this day.

After crisping and draining the bacon, she poured off most of the bacon fat, then sauteed the sliced onions in the same wide frying pan. While the onions were emitting delicious smells, she removed the membrane from around the edge of the calves' liver with a sharp knife and a gentle peel, then scored the meat with shallow cuts in a diamond pattern, dredged the meat in flour seasoned only with a little salt and pepper, added a little extra butter to the pan and lightly fried the liver just until it was pink in the middle and still moist. We couldn't wait to get home to tell our mother about how delicious Mrs. Jenkins' liver was!

With a single meal, she made converts of us all.


7 Comments:

Blogger katiez said...

That's just how my mother made it: crisp on the outside, pink in the middle. I've always loved it. Is it any wonder that I took to foie gras so well?

Wednesday, January 30, 2008  
Blogger cookiecrumb said...

I just don't like the flavor. I'm drooling over the technique, though.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Katie, big yes on the pate', too!

Cookiecrumb, I'm that way about kidneys - just don't care for the flavor.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008  
Blogger namastenancy said...

Sorry, zoomie dear but it's the taste I hate! My grandmother was a superb cook and cooked liver the way you describe but I simply could not eat it. Ditto for oysters. But look on the bright said - that leaves more for you!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008  
Blogger Zoomie said...

NamasteNancy, yes, people seem to either love it or hate it. I'll take your share of oysters, too!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008  
Anonymous Mrs. L said...

Didn't like liver when it was cooked for me first...then I had it at a local restaurant (Original Joes with onions and bacon) and loved it. But I will only eat it there.

Friday, February 01, 2008  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Mrs. I, Marin Joe's does a great job with liver, too. Try their mesquite grilled version with onions and bacon - killer!

Friday, February 01, 2008  

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