Monday, October 08, 2007

Let Us Don the Livery of Good Health

There's a recipe in More-with-Less called "Our-Children-Love-Liver." Underneath, Mama wrote in blue fountain pen, "We do too!"

Liver! Yes, it's the body's version of a tarry filter for our blood -- but a happy, nonsmoking cow should have a happy liver, unlike an antibiotic synthetic-hormone crack-smoking cow. When I inquired about beef liver at the deli counter over at New Seasons, I was told to go check the frozen pet food section. "It sells better as pet food," said the sympathetic butcher. What's the matter? Liver has a distinctive flavor and texture, but so do other things we all learn to like (guacamole, leftover pizza). Perhaps it's the reputation. Perhaps it's the fact that liver is healthy.

Oldfashioned nutritionists fall all over each other to tell us just how healthy it is. Everyday Foods (home-ec text from 1949) gushes about the nutritional value of liver, what with all its iron, copper, niacin, and Vitamins A, B1, D, and G. Sally Fallon adds that liver has zinc and antioxidants, too!

"Wait, Vitamin G?
Is that Spanish for Vitamin P?" "Not actually. Back in the good old days when butter was one of the Basic Seven food groups, riboflavin was called Vitamin G." "Riboflavin stinks." "Yes, honey, I know."

Liver is easiest to slice when partially frozen. I then follow Sally Fallon's advice to marinate it in lemon juice (today it was lime juice), which improves the texture and draws out impurities. "Our-Children-Love-Liver" calls for thinly sliced, well-seasoned liver fried in bacon fat -- not such a far cry from Housekeeping in Old Virginia, which recommends frying thin strips in hot lard till browned. If you're concerned about the fat, Cooking for Engineers has a lovely article on saturated fats that might persuade you to join with the housekeepers of Old Virginia.

When frying: keep the pan hot and uncrowded. Frequently be flippant, and briefly cook beef liver -- but cook it till it's browned. Place the done strips on something that can blot up the oil till you've finished all the batches. Serve with sauteed onions or crumbled bacon.

1 comment:

Gene & Gloria said...

Hi, Rosanna. Your mother sent me a link to your blog. How lucky am I? On my birthday, October 8, you write about a dish I thought only I ever made from More With Less--and yes, all four of us actually liked the dish, so much that I always made liver that way.

Keep writing--I'm delighted to be invited to read.