Many people my age had parents who thought it was a smart idea to feed their children liver. They knew it was a good source of iron, something everyone needed. Once a month in my house, platters of liver and onions circulated the dining room table. I could smell it frying in the pan an hour before dinner was to be served, and I would contemplate my escape. The nights I was forced to eat liver with a side dish of succotash (lima beans mixed with corn) was pure hell on earth. Even a kid knows that the grouping of those two foods is a terrible, unpalatable combination of flavors, and I would have sold my six-year-old soul to get out of eating one spoonful of it. I tried slipping it under the table to the dog, but Mom caught on to that real quick—especially when the dog started gagging. He didn’t like that junk any more than I did. My next trick was to fake cough between bites and spit it into my dinner napkin. Problem was, my siblings were doing the same thing, and after awhile my mother figured  out what was in those large, wadded-up napkins she kept finding in the trash.
     Fast foward forty years to my own kitchen, a liver-free zone, even though I’m married to a liver connoisseur. We should have included a liver clause in our wedding vows exempting me from ever serving the vile meat in our house. My husband found a kindred spirit in our neighbor, who shares his taste for liver, and fries it up just the way he likes it—smothered in onions. I don’t care what you smother it with, whether it’s ketchup (which makes everything taste better) or seasoning—nothing is going to cover up the fact that you’re eating organ meat. Just the thought of it makes me want to consider vegetarianism.
     I was anemic with all of my pregnancies, and the doctors encouraged me to increase my iron intake through various foods and supplements. For me, liver was never an option. I stuck with spinach and beets to boost my drooping energy. A lot of doctors recommend additional iron in the diet during menopause to help beat fatigue, and that includes the consumption of liver. The meat, which is high in B12 and protein, might be good for premenopausal women, but for older women, the high levels of iron can increase heart disease. The liver is the filter system in the body, and it can be full of pesticides and hormones. It is the organ that produces the nasty, yellowish-green bile that helps with digestion. Who in their right mind wants to eat that?! It’s gross to look at, it smells weird and it has the texture of chalky meat. Doesn’t that just sound like something you’d want to chow down on? The next time you order a plate of calf’s liver, just remember you’re porking out on ol’ Bessie’s baby cow. That’s about as appetizing as an offering of blood sausage with cod liver oil on the side.
     After twenty-eight years of marriage, my husband still begs for liver and onions. I tell him to go to the neighbor’s house for it. When he comes home in a liver-induced coma, I thank the Lord for de-livering me from liver.
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36 thoughts on “DELIVER THE LIVER”

  1. My mother tried to make me eat liver just once. When I sat there with tears running down my cheeks with this wad of disgusting meat stuck in my mouth because I couldn’t get my throat to open up to swallow it, she relented and never tried again. That was one decision of hers that I applauded!

  2. My father-in-law loved offal; heart, kidneys, liver he could eat mounds of the stuff. As for me, I don’t share your aversion for liver, although it is not a food I would seek out. But well-cooked and smothered with onions & gravy, yes I could eat it. And after all, those of us who are not vegetarian probably eat cows’ arses – how gross is that!

  3. It filters poisons, people. It FILTERS POISONS.

    On the other hand, it’s a good diet. In retrospect, I suspect my stepfather was trying to starve me to death with that once a week liver and onion meal, and he came very close to succeeding. wish I could still fit into 31 waist pants, but liver is now allowed in my house.

  4. I threw up a little in my mouth while reading this…My mother used to make liver and onions, and I used to eat it until I realized what it was. Yuck!!!!!!!!!! I’ll get my iron from spinach, thank you very much.

    1. Don’t you love how parents trick us into eating stuff without telling us what it is? That’s how I discovered what escargot and caviar tastted like. Still hate them both to this day.

  5. Well, MM, you did it. I always loved liver, but now I don’t think I’ll be able to eat it again. 🙁 Can’t stand beets or spinach. When I was in the hospital after delivering my son, I knew it was time to go home because they put both beets and spinach on my plate. Yucky!

  6. My mother burned everything she cooked, so it was possible that I ate liver at every meal…which could explain my hyperactivity and aversion to anything of a yellow-green hue…

  7. Gotta agree with you there. My mom used to make it, but only my dad ate it. Can’t even stand the smell. Lucky your neighbor will feed your husband.

    1. She cooks it for him about twice a year and the hubs always encourages me to try it. The onions smell great and I DO try to nibble on it just to see if I’ve changed my mind…..but nope! Still disgusting!

  8. I like food and I like to eat. I have rarely encountered a food that I can’t eat, even if I don’t particularly like it. Cilantro tastes like soap to me, but if I accidentally end up with something that has been cooked with it, I’ll probably eat it and make a note to myself to be more careful from now on.

    I love succotash and brussels sprouts.

    But I can’t even stand the thought of putting liver in my mouth. Even the smell makes me nauseous. The only kind of liver I have ever been able to stomach was some chicken livers that a friend of mine made, that were well disguised with sauce and spices. Any other kind of liver makes me retch.

    My mother must have hated it, too, because we were never subjected to it, even once. Thank you, Mom.

    1. Lucky you!!! I can’t stomach chicken livers but I DO like goose liver pate…..yeah, who can afford that stuff nowadays?!? I’m just steering clear of anything with the word “liver” in it.

      1. I’ve only been able to stomach chicken livers the way my friend made them. I avoid them, like I avoid all other liver. I can’t even stand liverwurst.

        On the other hand, give me succotash and some Beano to take away the gas and I’ll love it!

        1. Ohhhhhh I forgot about liverwurst! I actually liked that stuff as a kid, as long as it was in a sandwich and covered in mayo! Okay, I’ll stop talking because I’m afraid everyone will start gagging now……

  9. I’m with you! My grandmother used to make it, ugh. The taste reminded me of the rusty water that came out of the old, broken drinking fountain in our school. Kind of like what sucking on a rusty spoon would taste like. I would rather eat blood sausage. Or blood.
    Luckily now they tell pregnant women NOT to eat liver, for exactly the reason you said, because of the liver’s function. Happy to oblige doctor’s orders for once!

    1. OMG a rusty spoon—yes, that’s just what it tasted like!!! I took iron pills when I was pregnant and just laughed at my doctor when he suggested I eat liver. Crazy man.

  10. Uh-oh. Here is where we separate the liver-lovers. I love liver! My Mom always cooked it in milk to cut the strong flavour. It worked, because we kids consumed it with its side dish of onions as if it were our last meal on earth! Long live liver lovers! Say that ten times really fast . . .
    P.S. We can still be friends because I’ll eat your share, too! 🙂

    1. Oh NOOOOOOOOO say it ain’t so, Diane!! Okay I’ll tell you what—soak it in milk, cover it in a flour coating, fry it up and serve it with LOTS of ketchup and onion rings…and then MAYBE I’ll eat it for dinner. Maybe.

  11. I was thrilled when I heard that liver is NOT as good for us as they once believed. Liver is nasty, we are kindred spirits ♡

  12. We had liver quite often. My dad loved it! As I got older, someone told me to soak it in milk before cooking it. Doesn’t that just sound deliverish!

  13. Gross. I’ve never tried it and never will. I’m picky about meat as it is and you’re hard pressed to get me to even eat a hamburger without goodies piled on it at least 6 inches high.

    I don’t eat organs. That’s like a motto or something.

  14. Oh God, I had forgotten that smell. Once I left the nest, I never ate liver and onions again. I’m convinced there is enough iron and B12 in Skittles.

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