First, a hearty thank-you to everyone who left a comment on my! first! GIVEAWAY! I had so much fun reading all of your coffee (or, hot-drink-of-choice) stories. It was a fantastic range of experiences; the accounts spanned the globe, and involved grandparents, first loves, aunts-in-law, and little sisters. So, like the judge of the middle-school talent contest, I would say, “You’re ALL winners,” except that you’re not. In the end, after some comments were removed, either by self-stated lack of desire for the frother, or by being directly related to me (ahem… Dad, you didn’t really want the frother, right?), I was left with numbered entries matched to names that I fed into a field at random.org, and it spit out a number. That number was (according to the website) randomly attached to Sarah, in California, who will soon be enjoying her bargain Capresso coffee topped with a little frothed milk. Congrats, Sarah!
Outside of my Santa-like responsibilities yesterday, I had an experimental day in the kitchen. Since reading skimming much of Nourishing Traditions, I decided we needed to try and incorporate some organ meat into our diet. Mainly, I had in mind, for the Wee One, who is now 14 months and will eat just about anything, especially if it has a little banana or applesauce added. Honestly, I didn’t even seriously consider the rest of the family eating organs until I came across this post from Kimi at The Nourishing Gourmet. It’s a recipe for chicken liver paté, and she made it sound so un-paté-like. Translation: edible. See, I grew up in a world where paté was the stuff of Silver Spoons (who else learned about the world via 80’s network television?), not my home in Clinton, Mississippi. I probably couldn’t have answered correctly the definition of paté had it been on the SATs.
But a few years ago, for our fifth anniversary, Tim and I splurged on an unbelievable dinner in Atlanta, at a little place called Bacchanalia. I can’t begin to describe it, or I’ll get carried away to a fantasy land of emotional culinary recollection (if you’re just dying to read about it, I can happily fulfill that need for you). But it is true that, start-to-finish, our least favorite dish of the night was the paté. It’s hard for both of us; more for Tim than me, but still difficult. My earliest memories of liver involve fried ones, from Kentucky Fried Chicken. My mother loved them, and would occasionally treat herself to some, and always offered to share. I vaguely remember taking her up on it — once — and never again. I’m not good with gamey. A pun, when I think about it, since it really comes down to a mental game for me. I associate the flavor of the liver with the function it provides in the body: cleaning out toxins.
Last weekend, I purchased my first package of livers from pastured chickens. They are really cheap — go figure — so it seemed like an inexpensive way to experiment. Yesterday afternoon, I delved into paté-making. It involves sautéeing onions, garlic and spices with the livers, then adding some wine, anchovies, and other spices before puréeing in a food processor. The sauté step was much better than I expected (though the raw livers are just weird to handle and turn a scary red color just before browning while being cooked). The smell was pretty much like cooking chicken. But then I transferred everything to the processor, and gave it a whirl. When I opened the lid, my processor was filled with what can best be described as canned cat food. I half-expected my old cat Millie (who now lives with my generous sister since we have a little one with severe cat allergy) to show up and start licking the bowl. I girded my loins and proceeded. Lining three ramekins with plastic wrap, I began to fold the creamed meat into the saucers. At this point, with any other dish, EVER, I would taste it (the meat, mind you, is fully cooked — it just needs to refrigerate to set) — but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I just stuck everything in the refrigerator, quickly shut the door, and hoped that sometime before I pull it all out I’ll have decided that it’s different. That it’s for me to spread on a cracker, not to feed to my phantom feline.
Tim got home from work, and saw the fallout from my afternoon excursion. Have I mentioned before, that he really is a very good sport about all of this? So he and I have a discussion, about why we don’t like liver. About the whole lint-screen-for-the-human-body thing. Tim considered the process of making paté — didn’t it just involved mixing the meat with enough other flavors that you couldn’t taste the meat? — and wondered about why in the world we eat something that you don’t want to taste. Darned good question. Needing a pep talk, I was reading this morning again about why livers are even good for you. Oh, right. They contain large concentrations of the vitamins and minerals that help our livers remove toxins. So, there is, in fact, a purpose.
So here I am, on a Friday morning, blogging about a food I don’t want to eat rather than actually trying it. I think I’ll go by The Goose this afternoon and pick up some of those incredible rosemary artisanal crackers. Maybe those will do the trick; spread the thinnest possible layer on the heavily-scented crackers, hold my nose, and hope for the best?
Better yet, consider this a taste of my own medicine. We are not softies at the table when it comes to our kids’ dinner; while I don’t expect them to eat spicy (or livery) foods, they must at least try the sweet butternut squash. When they pitch a small (or large) fit, we usually quote that line from the end of Dr. Seuss’s Green Eggs and Ham. And when they do finally try, there has been about a 50% success rate of them actually liking it, and eating the rest. So I hereby pledge: this evening, with my family chanting Dr. Seussisms in support, I will try it, and I may. Try it and I may, I say.
But only if I can get those rosemary crackers.