Liver and Onions

There are only two ways to look at this dish, I think, beginning with the family into which I was born. You love it or you hate it. Daddy and I loved it. Mama and the other three girls hated it. Mama’s prejudice was so strong she could barely stand to be in the room where it was cooked.

Country church members knew how much Daddy liked the dish and saved him a share of the liver when they killed hogs. Naturally, it was one of the first dishes I learned to cook when I was about nine years old. Daddy and I savored the deliciousness while Mama and the girls were stuck with a piece of ham or some sausage to go with their mashed potatoes and vegetables.

Moving forward to the days when I was grown and stayed with my parents while Al finished basic training, we came to a day when Mama had an all-day meeting. Daddy had seen fresh liver in the grocery store and planned a treat. He answered a knock at the door in the living room as I sliced the onions in the kitchen. I heard his fellow pastor say, “I can’t stay long. I have some errands to run.”

Thinking Daddy would be through in plenty of time for lunch, I went right ahead braising the liver and paring potatoes. I enjoyed the preparation and the aroma, anticipating sharing the dish with a fellow liver aficionado with no disparaging remarks from Mama or my sisters. Daddy’s visitor lingered and lingered.

Finally, not wanting my treat spoiled, I went into the living room and said, “Brother Benefield, we’re having liver and onions for lunch. Would you like to join us?”

 He said, “I smelled them. I was waiting, hoping you were going to ask.”

When Mama’s Alzheimer’s Disease required her to move into a care facility, we passed along what she had always told us – she would eat anything but liver. When it was on the menu, they carefully prepared something else for her. We knew the disease had taken her memory when one of the caregivers apologized one day that she had been given liver by mistake. She had eaten it without comment.

The picture for this blog comes from the public domain and, unfortunately, is not mine since I no longer cook it but looks much like mine. We’ve given it up. Shortly after I convinced husband Al that liver and onions was a treat, somebody discovered that it also raised cholesterol significantly. And just when we thought it was good for us!