Gnawing on that chewy chicken stomach was my initiation into the family’s unofficial Organ Eaters Club. I didn’t know I should be grossed out. It’s just what you did growing up down the road from your grandparents’ farm.
Later in life, I graduated from gizzards to heart salad and its equally delicious variant, heart-and-tongue salad. Every New Year’s Day, my grandma would boil then grind up the heart and/or tongue from that year’s freezer beef. She’d add mayonnaise, pickle relish, and onion and serve it cold. I’m telling you, a Ritz cracker has never been better topped.
In the last decade, my culinary adventures have shifted away from organs to the realm of raw fish, but I haven’t completely abandoned the rites of my upbringing. Just the other night, I made liver. Liver Fiesta, to be exact.
While my husband—like others who have married into our family—has never tried our New Year’s Day delicacy, he isn’t entirely opposed to beef liver. I’ve made it a few times over our 17.5 years of wedded bliss, opting for the traditional flour-dredge-and-fry method with onions thrown in.
When I recently warned him I was thawing liver, he cringed then suggested I find a new recipe. I obliged, cranked up the Google machine, and found a 4-year-old Yahoo!Answers chat string featuring an entry for “Liver Fiesta.”
As it turns out, even if you cover liver with a can of tomatoes, cumin, oregano, red wine and crumbled bacon, it’s still liver under there. My husband choked down half a serving, then issued this review: “If I had to eat it to live, I would.”
I admitted it was no fiesta for me either, but I had my organ-eating rep to maintain. So, I ate my full serving, as well as two more big helpings the next day for lunch and dinner.
Guess where the rest of the leftover liver went? Mom and Dad were happy to take it off my hands, proving the old adage: “A family who eats organs together, stays together!”
(Well, I doubt anyone says that, but it sure would make an interesting bumper sticker.)