My neighbor looked at me one day and asked, “Where did you learn to eat all these strange foods?” I told him I guessed it was two sources: the home of my childhood, and my marriage to a Jewish man.
I eat things that other people won’t. I eat liver, sautéed or in pate or chopped liver, though I hated it as a child. I can cook it now so that it’s really good but no one will eat it with me. I grew up on kidneys and bacon. Wanted to try them again recently but the market says you have to order a case. Uh, no thanks. I know I don’t have that many friends who would eat them with me. At the deli, I love a corned tongue sandwich or pickled herring.
Top to bottom: half a tongue sandwich, chopped liver, pickled herring. Photo by Mary Russell Rogers; food courtesy of Carshon’s Delicatessen, Fort Worth TX.
I can eat escargot, though they’re not my favorite. I’d really just as soon have the French bread and buttery garlic sauce without the actual snails. I tried mussels, haggis and neeps (mashed turnips) in Scotland and liked them all, though I would not want haggis too often. Calamari? Often too chewy, but I’ll try. I love anchovies and sometimes I mash up sardines with onions and lemon for a sandwich spread. I make a killer caviar spread sometimes for Christmas, and I love oysters, raw or fried. (Won’t touch oyster stew—my folks always had it on New Year’s Eve.)
As a child, I disliked potatoes, eggs, and pickles—the latter mostly because we never had them at home. Now, I only wish most of the good ways to fix potatoes weren’t fattening and eggs didn’t raise your cholesterol, because I love them almost any way you can cook them. And pickles? There’s nothing better to me than a crisp kosher dill. But olives? Nope. I really don’t like them, no matter that they’re passion food.
Judy’s secret to cooking liver: My mom was an outstanding cook, and much of what I know about cooking comes from her. But, bless her, she cooked liver, then believed to be good for you, until it was tough and, of course, my brother and I were commanded to eat it. Now we know it’s not so good for you, but occasionally it’s a break from routine menu items. Here’s the way I cook it now:
Take a fresh, thinly sliced piece of calf liver and coat both side generously with lemon juice; let it sit for a few minutes. This gets rid of the gamey taste. Melt butter (use real not margarine and definitely not a soft spread which has too much water content). Over medium high heat, sauté the liver quickly—you don’t want it pink but you want it soft. Remove to a plate and cover to keep warm. Add chopped onion to skillet and cook until softened. Add more butter and lemon juice, sauté briefly, and serve over the liver. Great with browned onion rings, mashed potatoes and a green vegetable or salad.
Just email me if you want to know about cooking kidneys. I honestly did make a beef and kidney pie once.
LOL, Judy! I think the only weird food I make is a tuna sandwich.
Before Kelly can get fit together the pieces of the dangerous puzzle, she helps the family of a hostage, rescues a kidnap victim and attends a wild and wonderful wedding.
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Thank you, Judy, for sharing weird food and your new book!