It Was the Best of Meals, it Was the Worst of Meals

Being the matriarchal hero of my family that I am, I set out to make a dinner with the most nutrient-dense, vitamin-laden food we could muster, and present in a delicious and desirable fashion.

Several nights prior to that, however, I pulled the last of our home-raised meat chickens from the freezer and prepared it spatchcock style in the cast iron skillet, alongside potatoes and zucchini for a complete roasted meal.

It was one of, if not THEE, most delectable meals I’ve ever made. It was truly delicious and made me long for the days when we can once again raise and process our own meat chickens and fill our freezer with them. 

Riding the waves of my culinary masterpiece, I set out to continue the dinner delicacies with a meal I had never made before, but was determined to make masterfully.

I took a package of beef liver from the freezer and transferred it to the fridge to thaw. Only then did I realize it was a two pound package, and the recipe I had chosen called for one pound, but when something so nutritious is on deck, the more the merrier. 

When the night came for the liver entree, I was nervous, but a little excited. Here I was cooking up the most nutritious meal of meat a person could eat, and my family was privileged enough to partake!

I cut the bag open and something within me could not simply reach in to remove the pieces to chop. At least, not until I put a glove on with which to handle it. 

I have been cooking and handling raw meat since I was a pre-teen, so this hesitancy was something I had not ever experienced before. But I’m glad I put the glove on, because the liver was a little tricky to handle. 

It’s texture is unique, to be sure, and I could feel it sliding beneath the knife I was using to cut it into the bite-size pieces the recipe called for. But I carried on. After all, the recipe specifically stated this was one way to prepare liver that no one would turn their noses up at during mealtime! 

It took me a (very) long time to get through all two pounds and then it was time to coat them in a seasoned, flour breading. Once coated, they were fried in the cast iron and set aside while the rest of the meal was prepared (an Italian style sauce, to which the liver would be added, and everything dished up over noodles).

Once the meal was completed, I must admit, it looked quite tasty. I served everyone a plate, we said our mealtime prayers, and it was time to dig in.

The person who wrote the recipe either lied, or had lost their sense of taste.

It still very much tasted – and felt – like liver.

My children, may the Lord richly bless them, powered through with minimal complaint. I did not make them finish, but they ate a majority of their meal.

Hubs and I finished our plates, though I could not get through it without half a Costco-sized container of parmesan cheese, and a hefty gag-session halfway through the meal. 

Every bite of liver conjured an image of what it was while slicing it, and how the knife slid and grated through the soft, slick, almost bubble-like meat.

I am still a proponent of eating nose-to-tail, and consuming as much offal (funny how that’s what they call it, isn’t it?) as possible. However, I am also empathetic to those who simply cannot do it. It is no easy task.

As healthy as it is for us, and considering I have three more two-pound packages of liver in the freezer, I will be finding other ways to consume it. Perhaps next time, I’ll grind it up and add a (very) little bit to ground beef and make nutrition-boosted burgers, or gravy-smothered patty steaks. 

Because I’m me, I can’t live with myself if I throw it out or don’t use it. We have it, and therefore, I must use it. So I will find a way. Somehow. Lord, help us.

That was my first time ever preparing and ever consuming liver. I don’t know how people can willingly order a plate of liver and onions from a restaurant, and pay to eat it. I couldn’t do it when it was covered with flour, tomato sauce, or Parmesan cheese.

But we lived to tell about it. And perhaps, that’s only because we (forced ourselves to) consumed all of that nutritious, vitamin-rich offal. 

It was the best of meals, but really, it was the worst of meals. 

Italian-Style Beef Liver will not be a repeat recipe. 

Thank you and amen.

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