I love trying new foods, but organ meats are an exception to this rule. I had a few brief and terrifying encounters- mainly the chicken heart and liver that my mother occasionally left in her red-simmered chicken. It looked deceptively like dark meat until you bit down into the chalky horror of heart or liver.
So while I willingly ate duck tongue, chicken feet, fermented stringy soy beans, kim chi, raw egg, raw fish, and broiled fish skin (none of which are gross but I know it's not for everyone), I drew the line at organ meat. That would be disgusting!
About four years ago I read Sally Fallon and Mary Enig's Nourishing Traditions and my world changed. I had done tons of reading on nutrition, taken nutrition classes, and flipped through the book expecting to hear the usual advice. What I read there blew my mind, and it left me with the overwhelming desire to feed my growing children liver, and lots of it.
I know there are supplements for different vitamins, and there are even dried liver capsules you can buy if you are so inclined, but I'm not a huge fan of supplementation. I would rather eat my food. I asked my dad to eat chicken liver pate with my kids, and they loved it. It made me a little nauseous just watching. That stuff looks and smells shockingly like cat food. Not in a good way.
A few years later I read Deep Nutrition by Dr. Cate Shanahan and decided to give liver another try. I had frozen beef liver I wanted to eat if I could. I followed the recipe given in the back of the book, and the result smelled amazing. Loads of pepper, soy sauce, and garlic had the whole family salivating. But no. It was like eating old socks.
Andrew Zimmern from Bizarre Foods always tries food twice. If you've never seen it, he travels to exotic lands and tries the "best" that they have to offer. Instead of mocking it like I would have expected, he really enjoys it, saying things like, "You know, this is really the best chicken testicle I've ever eaten! And trust me, I've eaten all kinds of balls." I respect that, so when a friend fed me chrysanthemum recently I ate it even though I knew I didn't like it. And you know what? I liked it.
Here I am in 2014 and I eat chicken liver pate. I eat beef heart. I eat sweetbreads. I eat chrysanthemum. I just don't eat beef liver.
So this morning when I took out the beef liver that I had defrosted for the chickens and saw that the old sock smell had dissipated quite a bit, I felt a grudging desire to give it another try. It didn't look too bad, and it's loaded with iron and fat soluble vitamins A and D. I could try it. How bad could it be?
And you know what? It was delicious.
Garlicky Beef Liver for One
This is the recipe as I remember it from Deep Nutrition. Just remember, liver is disgusting raw, and it's disgusting overcooked. Be brave!
2-3 ounces beef liver thinly sliced
3 enormous cloves of chopped garlic
butter or olive oil
fresh ground pepper
Heat a saute pan over medium heat. Drop in a generous dollop of butter and add a little olive oil as well if you like. Scoop in the chopped garlic, and when it turns golden, put down the liver in one layer. Almost as soon as you are done, flip them all over. Pour on a generous amount of soy sauce and take it off the heat. Pepper it plentifully and serve it with steamed rice.
I love trying new foods, cooking, and gardening. I hope to share these experiences on this site. Thanks for taking a look!