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Liver: It’s what’s for dessert. April 14, 2011

Posted by ourfriendben in wit and wisdom.
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Silence Dogood here. Our friend Ben is fairly broadminded when it comes to food—generally appreciative, not too fussy—but there’s one food that practically makes him break out in hives at its mere mention, and that’s liver. Calves’ liver, to be precise. (He cherishes very fond memories of sauteed and fried chicken livers, and a delicious chicken-liver pate that his beloved Mama made every Christmas with sauteed onion, peppercorns, port, and bourbon.) The texture of calves’ liver was apparently the problem; he simply couldn’t endure it.

I felt the same way, but am texture-sensitive so a lot of foods have that effect on me, even now, including peas and scrambled eggs. I felt pretty much that way about steak, too, but OFB very sensibly points out that my parents always served it well-done and I might have felt quite differently had it been cooked medium-rare or rare.

But I digress. I was reading an interview with Julie Powell of “Julie and Julia” fame this morning when my concentration was broken by a series of horrified exclamations coming from the direction of OFB.

“Ben! What’s the matter?”

“Liver.”

“Your liver? I told you not to drink that second Manhattan last night.”

“Not my liver, calves’ liver! This is unbelievable! Calves’ liver has taken over the front page of The Wall Street Journal! What is the world coming to?!”

Sure enough, there it was: A front-page article by Clare Ansberry, “Cue the Organ Music! Liver Lovers Shiver at the Dish’s Decline.” (The headline alone is enough to cause shivers on the part of writers and editors like OFB and yours truly. Ouch!!! Please, cut that out.) Ms. Ansberry goes on to relate how liver lovers in the U.S. and Canada feel so isolated that they seem compelled to form clubs of like-minded folks to head out for monthly lunches of liver and onions from the few establishments that still serve it.

The members of these clubs, which typically bear alliterative names like Liver Lovers Luncheon Club, take their passion to extremes, coming to gatherings costumed as liver and onions, writing liver-promoting jingles which they sing to tunes ranging from “Walking in a Winter Wonderland” to “Jesus Loves Me” (I somehow doubt that Jesus appreciated the change in lyrics), and holding potluck liver picnics. Liver picnics?! Mercy on us.

Ms. Ansberry notes that most of the liver produced in the U.S. is shipped overseas, primarily to Egypt. (In 2010, the U.S. produced 108,771 metric tons of liver, shipping 89% abroad.) Egypt?! Who knew.

Liver and onions may be the flagship liver dish, but it’s apparently by no means the only one. According to the article, there are also “take-out liver burgers, consisting of a slab of liver on a bun,” Kung Po Pork Liver for fans of Chinese food, and liver with potatoes and turnips. (Isn’t liver alone bad enough without adding turnips? Yikes.) But the most astounding revelation in the article concerned a dessert prepared for one of the liver lovers’ clubs: liver mousse with pureed blueberries.

Poor OFB. I have a bad feeling that his birthday will never be the same again. Prior to this article, I would lovingly ask him if he’d rather have angelfood cake with berries and whipped cream, pecan pie, or chess pie for his birthday. Now it’s clearly going to be liver mousse with pureed blueberries, or rather the threat of same. It’s enough to put one off birthdays altogether. And since fresh blueberry tart is my all-time favorite dessert, no doubt I’ll be threatened in my turn. Scream and scream again!

Still, the article left what I considered to be the biggest question unanswered: What on earth are the Egyptians doing with all that liver?

             ‘Til next time,

                           Silence

Comments»

1. the Manic Gardener - April 14, 2011

What are the Egyptians doing with all that liver? Not making mousse, I expect. Mousse for birthdays has long since replaced cakes around here, but we tend to stick to the chocolate variety. In fact, my husband just made some for my (delayed) birthday dinner. I guess I’ll be staying home, rather than dropping in at your place…
–Kate

Ha! Well, happy belated birthday, Kate! And I guess you’d better keep an eye out in case OFB decides to flee the premises and drop in on you for HIS birthday!


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