Handbags, Books...Whatever

Handbags, Books...Whatever (http://www.vickibatman.blogspot.com) is the website of Vicki Batman, sassy writer of sexy and funny fiction. Handbag lover. Avid Jazzerciser. Mahjong player. Yoga practioner. Movie fan. Book devourer. Choc-aholic. Best Mom ever. And adores Handsome.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Judy Alter on weird food: tongue, liver & more AND her book Desperate for Death #murdermystery #cooking #MFRWorg

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.

Find Desperate for Death at: Amazon

Find Judy at: Website

Thank you, Judy, for sharing weird food and your new book!


Angela Adams said...

My grandmother would have enjoyed sharing a meal with you! She used to eat the same foods!! Have a great weekend, Judy!!!

Cathy McElhaney said...

Oh my gosh! I am such a picky eater!Nope, sorry, not sharing meals with you any time soon, LOL! Although...I LOVE olives, so maybe was can work something out...LOL!

vicki batman said...

Hi, Judy! I was picky when younger; however, I adore tomatoes which a lot of people don't. And gave up eggs after eating vast quantities when I was nine and had pneumonia.

J.M. Maurer said...

Umm . . . The sandwich and pickle look great! :D
I used to make really thin egg noodles in chicken broth and put them over mashed potatoes to eat. My husband's family looked at me like I had two heads and even said, "Double starch." They didn't touch it, so I've not made it since.
Going to go eat some olives now; thanks for making me hungry. Have a great weekend.

vicki batman said...

Hi, J M! Was that combo sorta like potato chips and oreos? It's about how the food tasted?

Florence Cronin said...

Judy, I can relate. I am a first generation Italian so of course grew up on the usual Italian fair in food. But we ate steamed snails with garlic and parsley like clams and mussels. I devoured crabs and all other shell fish and all other fish ...

I was also raised in a multi=cultural neighborhood, lived in another with my kids and have loved food from every nation. I mean, who doesn't like sancocho or rice and peas? Or bistake ... a think stead sandwich flattened with a sandwich press? Or Tai or Chinese or Janapese and ... did I forget?

Many NY neighborhoods where you find Italians you find Jewish American and there was a battle each Friday afternoon to get to the Keyfood deli for fresh creamed herring. How about matze brei or noodle koogle? You name it and I've had it. The magic of my "tongue" is well developed taste buds. My middle brother married into a French/Safardic family and BAM great French and Safardic food, not to be confused with Eastern European ... this stuff if the best of the best. French Algerian to be exact.

My mother used to make a joke that I would eat anything as long as it didn't jump off my plate when I dug a fork into it :)

Love your cover and the blurb on your book. Keep writing and finding more great stuff to eat.

Judy Alter said...

Thanks all. I really don't eat these foods just to be weird--I really like them. Been wanting to write about this for a long time and thank Vicki for giving me the opportunity.

vicki batman said...

Hi, Florence! You're talking to this kid who didn't get pizza until a teenager. There wasn't a place in the little suburb I lived in that made it. However, my mom made the best friend chicken EVAH, wonderful with cakes and pies. We always had fresh corn, tomatoes, etc. To this day, I don't really eat canned veggies.

Judy Alter said...

PS to Vicki--tuna salad isn't weird. It's an everyday staple to me. Off to have one at LaMadelleine in a few minutes.

Michele Drier said...

Loved this, Judy! I was married to a Jew also and learned to eat pickled herring, but loved bagels and lox before I met him. I'm a Californian so always ate seafood, fish, calimari, artichokes (we used to get 50-pound gunnysacks of them from a relative who had a ranch near Santa Cruz) and my mother ate liver, brains and sweeetbreads. Can't manage any organ meats to this day.

vicki batman said...

Oh, Judy! I love a good tuna sand. Enjoy!

Hi, Michele! and so interesting about your food background. When I was growing up, the only seafood was catfish or salmon in a can. Good seafood was very expensive.

Thanks for stopping by and saying hi to Judy!

stanalei said...

Some very interesting food choices. My father was a chef, so in the small town where I grew up we had a variety of foods most of my friends never tired, whale blubber was even stranger then rattle snake. The blubber was sweetish tasting, I was visiting grandparents when my family ate the rattle snake, thank goodness. But I grew up to love artichokes. Great post!!

Arlene Hittle said...

My mom used to tell a funny story about me and liver.

We were at a restaurant when I was about 4, and I ordered the liver and onions. The waitress looked at mom and asked, "Will she eat that?" And I did.

I used to eat chicken hearts and chicken livers, too. I wouldn't eat them now, though.

Melissa Keir said...

My dad loves liver. Me? not at all! Although I have had crocodile, snake, and game meat... none really appealed to me. I can't eat shrimp either. I'll just stick with my plain old pizza!

vicki batman said...

Hi, Arlene! My mom ate the hearts and livers too. She would cut up a whole chicken and feed a family of six. How??? Thanks for visiting with us.

Judy Alter said...

OH, so many things to comment on. Michele, I never had artichokes until I was grown. Mom and I didn't know what to do with them. We once bought a pkg. of frozen, followed directions, and found them disappointing. I raised my kids eating fresh artichokes with Hollandaise and we all love them. Vicki, I od'd on pizza in high school--don't like it to this day except the rare "designer" pizza. Stanalei, not sure I could do whale blubber or rattlesnake but I do love marrow bones which are beginning to appear on trendy restaurant menus these days--I remember fighting with my brother for the marrow in the tiny bone in a round steak. Chicken hearts and liver? I mix with onion, salt and pepper, and a bit of mayo--my brother and I eat it and the rest of the family ignores us. Love fried chicken livers but they're so not good for you. What a fun post this has been. Thanks all.

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