Liver. The dreaded food. In a recent survey on the CTF Facebook page, half of the people who responded stated they just can’t do it.
And that was the moms, not the kids!
My first several years of eating traditional foods, I couldn’t bring myself to try it, either. I had a high gag factor to anything I thought was gross. It wasn’t until I began healing my gut that I got serious about consuming it. OK, well, I thought about it hard. I got online, talked to friends and looked over recipes. I finally settled on a nice chicken liver pâté and bought some grass-fed livers from my local farmer.
Then I let them sit in the freezer for a few months while I got up my nerve.
OK, I promptly made myself forget their presence.
My Liver Quivered
You knew that line was coming, didn’t you?
Finally the day came we cleaned out the freezer and my husband notified me they had received their eviction notice- cook it or throw the package in the garbage. So I dutifully cooked and blended it up, all while trying not to look at what I was doing. I spooned it into condiment cups, plastered a BIG smile on my face, walked into the dining room, plopped it on the table and backed up behind them to see what would happen, my face hurting from the fake grin. They sniffed, eyeballed me and asked what it was. I responded with a bright “Pate!!!!” with all the cheerfulness I could muster, as if pâté was a normal menu item they should recognize. The ‘come on, honey! You’ve eaten it every week of your life since you started solids!’ tone and the plastered smile convinced them to pick up a cracker.
My son scooped up a huge glob and took a big bite. Within two bites he had cleared his small bowl and asked for a refill. My daughter shrugged, saying it was ‘ok.’ She needed a little encouragement, but she ate hers and came to like it. When they were done, they hopped down and went back to playing.
I sat down and stared at my untouched bowl. I swallowed hard and told myself to cowgirl up.
Suck it up, Buttercup!
Mind over matter!
Quit pussyfooting around!
EAT it, already!
My initial impression was, ‘needs more bacon.’ I ate it without ‘yuck’ ever crossing my mind. No gagging, no twisted faces, no forcing it down. To my surprise, it was not hurl-worthy. Later that week I made it again and added more bacon. I actually liked it once the bacon was better balanced and I got the saltiness right. That pâté recipe is here.
The Big Secret
Here’s the big secret about liver: You don’t have to eat a lot of it. I know some folks just cringed in horror at that statement because it’s considered to be such an all-powerful, sacred food in traditional food circles. But think about it for a moment. If we were all living in a traditional culture and eating an awesome diet, how much liver would you really get? If you eat a whole chicken over two meals for a family of four, you’d each only get one bite of liver in those two meals. A beef liver weighs 10 or so pounds compared to a body weight of 400+ pounds.
Yeah, you wouldn’t be getting much liver. You have my permission to eat only a little. The key is to make it a small but consistent part of your diet.
So, how do you do that? Break out your food processor and some ice cube trays. Take your half-frozen beef liver, cut it into pieces and pop it into the processor. Pulse it until the beef is in tiny pieces or mostly ground. Scoop it into the ice cube trays, pack each cube lightly with the back of a spoon and freeze. Once they’re solid, pop them out and transfer to a freezer container for long-term storage.
Now any time you are going to cook ground beef, take out a cube or two when you pull the beef to thaw. Combine the thawed liver with the ground beef when you mix or cook it. Use only one cube for more delicately flavored dishes and two for stronger dishes like spaghetti or tacos. If you have a super-taster in your family, leave it at one cube until they adjust.
See? That really didn’t hurt. And now you can make sure your kids get liver and it’s hidden. They’ll never have a clue.
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