Tuesday, April 17, 2012


Ancient Romans believed the liver was the seat of the emotions, but to me, liver is the seat of only one emotion and it's not a particularly pleasant one. So recently when my loving husband asked me what I planned to do with all the liver in the freezer, I wanted to say "Throw it to the dog" but I knew that would be the wrong answer.

What are we doing with all this liver in the freezer? Periodically we purchase sides of beef from our neighbors, really good locally grown grass-fed antibiotic-free beef in a variety of cuts, from ground beef to stew beef to steaks to exquisite roasts.

And then there's liver. There's always liver--not a lot, but over the course of several years our freezer has amassed two or three pounds of beef liver. I've never cared much for liver; the flavor is blah and the texture can be rubbery if it's not prepared just right and it makes the whole house smell like liver, but I used to cook liver regularly when we were first married at my husband's request. The only liver recipe I ever enjoyed eating involved searing the liver quickly in butter with garlic and rosemary, and even then I wouldn't touch the leftovers because the texture turned dreadful.

I don't believe I ever made a conscious choice to quit cooking liver, but I'm sure I haven't touched it in at least 15 years. Why would I bother cooking something that pokes so painfully at the seat of my emotions? At some point liver eased out of my life, and I never even managed to say "Good riddance."

But here we are with all this liver in the freezer, and here was my husband, cookbook in hand, telling me he'd found an interesting recipe for a whole lot of liver. I reminded him that the only way I like liver is seared with garlic and rosemary, but he said, "I thought you might want to try something different," which is his way of saying he wanted to try something different. So I said, "Fine--you cook it."

Which he did.

And it was not totally dreadful.

The vegetables were terrific and the parslied new potatoes were dreamy and the liver was edible when drowned in the piquant sauce. "Was it worth all that work?" I asked, and he answered, "Well, it's still liver."

The fact is that he doesn't like liver any more than I do. Well, maybe a little more. He tolerates it while my feeling moves more toward disgust. I asked him why he wants to eat liver if he's not really fond of the flavor, and he said, "There are some things you have to do whether you want to or not."

"But there's no moral obligation to eat liver."

"True," he said, "but it's good for you."

"Not that good."

But I have fulfilled my moral obligation to eat liver and somehow I survived. There's a whole lot of leftover liver in the fridge which I would be happy to serve to anyone who arrives with an appetite.

And this time I'm not ruling out the dog.


LJL said...

I bet Hopeful would like it. Instead of buying possibly-contaminated dog treats, dry the liver out in a low oven, cut into bite-sized chunks, and the dog will love you forever.

Bev said...

Considering that she's capable of getting really excited about dried-up roadkill, I'm sure she would be overjoyed with liver. Right now, though, she's sort of occupied with the groundhog she caught the other day.