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Dec. 27 2009 - 4:37 pm | 61 views | 0 recommendations | 7 comments

My Quest to Make Chicken Liver Acceptable

liverChopped liver or liver in general seems to be one of those things that unless you grew up eating it, you’re just not a fan. I was quite a picky eater growing up, but it was always around for the holidays. Now that I eat pretty much everything (except spiral ham), I love the stuff — as you may have been able to tell thanks to my how-to Caselulla video — ith the mineral-packed funkiness and richness … best on grilled bread with a sprinkle of good salt on top.

So, seeing Mark Bittman’s New York Times piece today about French Pâté, essentially Frenchified chopped liver seasoned by a non-Jew — face it, there ain’t much punch in traditional Jewish food — and a breeze to make. Perfect, right?

Not so much.

The quandary I often find myself in is that the things I love as appetizers — chopped liver included — aren’t the easiest sells at cocktail parties. So, making it is generally a futile effort and I’m left with a pint of cholesterol-bomb for myself.

I’m sure many people would like it — love it, even — if the word liver wasn’t in there. The minute “liver” is uttered, you stand to lose 80% of the general eating public. So, my thought is that the national chicken liver association or whatever board there might be out there needs a new marketing plan, a la “sweetbreads.” Mmmm, sweetbreads — that delicious thing that chefs and foodies love … which is really thymus glands. At the core, it’s a brilliant job at masking what they really are and getting people to feel less squirmy about chowing down on their offal-y scrumptiousness.

So let’s pick a new name for chicken liver in the hopes that people will be a bit more flexible with it. What do we say? If thymus glands can be “sweetbreads,” should chicken livers be something like “funcakes” or “cuteloafs”?

Let’s do this, people.


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  1. collapse expand

    As someone who loves liver in all forms, I kind of like the fact that outside of specific forms, such as foie gras, there hasn’t been any successful clean-up of a term like “chicken livers”. I don’t think “liver and onions” would have the same ring named something else.

  2. collapse expand

    Mike,reliving your 2009 T/S posts:
    1. We had the potato chip debate (terra is neither a potato nor acceptably chippy)
    2. The quest for the best ice cream flavor (Roston and I were right, everyone else was un-right)
    3. Your obvious adoration for e-g-g-s
    4. And now, blech, liver.

    If ever we are to dine together, what would we eat? Is there any food we would agree on? Umm…pickles: green, half sour or sour?

    • collapse expand

      Great question, Andrea. I myself am a full sour guy, but can live with half sour. New/green pickles are pretty useless to me if eaten as a standalone pickle, but lightly cured has its place in certain culinary applications (i pickle my own cukes/onions/beans).

      I’m certain we have similar tastes on something

      What’s your seafood tolerance? All the way with oysters aplenty?

      In response to another comment. See in context »
  3. collapse expand

    New/green pickles are useless?!? Hrmph.
    We can call a food truce, though. Yes to seafood, all the way.

  4. collapse expand

    There is only one way to make chicken liver.
    Put it on the end of a fork and roast it over an open flame till medium rare, then sprinkle kosher salt over it and…..EAT IT!!!!!!!

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    About Me

    Oysters. Bone Marrow. Spanish hams. Fish tacos. Shanghai soup dumplings. Sea urchin. Summer tomatoes still warm from the sun. There, my favorite foods are out of the way. To cut to the chase, food is in my genes. My father, grandfather and great grandfather were butchers. I've cooked for fun and pay since I can remember, helping out at my dad's catering company/butcher shop and eventually the catering wing of Zagat's highest-rated restaurant in the country (you've never heard of it). Why am I not a chef or caterer? I'm just too much of a pansy. I didn't want the hours/heat/instability to ruin my love for cooking, so now it's pure recreation. Since ditching the chef idea, I've written for many major news networks and magazines, spanning everything from a blood-soaked Marine invasion into Fallujah to Britney Spears' underwear (lack of, actually) to properly sourcing pork. I hope to share the deliciousness of life with you. Also, pancakes suck.

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