This & that: Liver and ice cream

FEATURE – So I participated in my first Huntsman World Senior Games this year. I don’t feel “senior” but I do experience “senior moments.” Thank goodness for car alarms or I would never find my vehicle when I come out of Wal-Mart.

A few years ago someone brought fried chicken livers to a church pitch-in. My first thought was that no one will touch chicken livers. The dish was even labeled to ward off anyone who would mistake them for something the slightest bit edible.

I had a bad history with liver at the dinner table. I grew up on a farm. We had chickens. And that meant delicious fried chicken once or twice a week. But that also meant once a month we had fried chicken livers.

I could usually gauge the timing on the number of chickens we had eaten. When we had eaten five or six chickens, we could usually count on a meal within the week of chicken livers. I would do whatever I could to get out of it. But moms are smart. No matter what I tried, and the list is long, I would always end up looking down at a plate of the disgusting morsels.

My mother would try different recipes to, as she put it, augment the taste of the liver. For a long time I thought the definition of augment was “to hide or destroy.” Smothered with gravy, seasoned with hot pepper, or doubling my misery by adding dreaded onions. It did not matter.

Anything I did was also futile. Plug my nose. Chew quickly. Swallow it and chase it with Kool-Aid. Somehow that taste would always find its way through to my buds.

My mom would always have ice cream for dessert on chicken liver nights. And I could not have dessert unless I ate the liver. She was conniving that way.

So back to my church pitch-in story.

There they sat. Many people had been through the line but no one had touched the chicken livers. I felt a little bad that no one was eating them, but really the fault lied with the preparer for actually labeling them. To prevent that person further embarrassment, I took one.

As I sat and ate my meal, you know the delicious meals concocted by more reasonable sisters – hamburger helper, green bean casserole, fruit salad – I stared at the liver. When it was finally the only thing left I decided to take a nibble. Probably more out of morbid curiosity than anything else. I liked it.

The sad thing is, I don’t remember it tasting any different than when I was a kid. It tasted the same. But now as a late 40-something adult, that taste was somehow enjoyable. I stuck the whole thing in my mouth and chewed. It was delicious.

I made a beeline back to the table. I did not bother to get back in line. I just wanted more liver, and if memory serves me correctly no one else touched them. There were a few left, and not wanting to appear greedy, I just took a couple more. It felt as though I had a secret. Liver tastes good.

Then I came clean on Facebook. I got the usual ribs from my friends calling me a geezer. I did not mention that after devouring the liver, I treated myself to some delicious ice cream. Some traditions you just shouldn’t break.

Darren Cole is a developing columnist and otherwise sports writer for St. George News. Any opinions given are his own and not representative of St. George News.

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