Chicken livers .... are they truly an acquired taste?
I call it …. craving the detested.
So I ask you: Do you have a deep, dark secret, one you’re afraid to admit?
Or had a secret love affair you were ashamed to acknowledge?
I do.
And I’ll share it with you.
I love chicken livers.
Yes, that’s what I said.
My grandmother turned me on to them. I don’t remember how. She loved them, too, and used to cook them for me. No one else in the family would touch them. Most would run from the house when she began cooking them.
But not me.
I developed a strong taste for them. When I was a kid growing up in Massachusetts, my family used to go once a year to Meredith, New Hampshire, home of the great Hart’s Turkey Farm Restaurant. In addition to all those great turkey dinners, they had ….
…chicken livers. It was nirvana.
I also love cooking them. I take a pan, put in some butter, and fry them up. Why do I love cooking them?
Because my cats come running into the kitchen whenever I do that, and purr and rub against my legs. The smell of chicken livers drives them crazy. They wait impatiently for me to share them.
Sometimes I end up eating only a couple of the chicken livers because my cats get them all. They’re awfully demanding when chicken livers are available.
I wonder who has the best recipes for cooking chicken livers? Hart’s used to cook them with bacon, quite nicely. My grandmother would cook them with onions, brilliantly.
I have a hard time telling others about this. They look startled, then eye me with an ominous, suspicious glare, as if I’ve just said something completely off the wall … outrageous … almost inhuman. That’s how strongly they feel about those chicken livers their mothers made them eat when they were a kid. It’s as if I was admitting to enjoying being tortured. It’s a subject not easily broached. The emotions you stir in others, the bad childhood memories you raise, are too difficult. So I avoid this subject.
I never order chicken livers when I’m dining at a restaurant and spot it on the menu if I’m eating with others, because I can predict their sorry reaction. They’ll begin to turn green and nauseous when they see me eating them. It can be sooooo humiliating to see how close they come to calling Ralph on the big phone just because of a couple of sweet lil’ ol’ chickie livers on a plate. So I order something bland and inoffensive instead, so we can keep the entire dining experience happy and peppy.
But deep down inside, my mind is racing: how would their livers compare with my grandmother’s? Or Hart’s Turkey Farm’s? What would my cats think of them? I can see my chicken liver-lovin’ kitties like my cats Alice Mae and Pudding Pie, sitting at a table, judging those livers, like the judges on “American Idol.”
Several months ago one of my co-workers, Beth, came to work and sat at her desk, which is right next to mine … and then it happened. My nose perked up. I smelled glorious chicken livers.
A fan like me of the little beauties, Beth had gotten a plate of them for lunch from the fried chicken restaurant next door to our office in downtown Haines City.
I was in paradise. It was like a personal triumph to know I wasn’t alone.
I’ll tell you another deep, dark secret.
I love Brussels spouts. That’s another much-maligned, much hated meal our mothers made us eat, much to most folks’ chagrin. But not me.
I’d love some chicken livers and Brussels spouts for dinner.
And maybe have an Egg Cream to drink.
But that’s another story.
How come nobody in Orlando makes good Egg Creams like they do in New York, except for the Drunken Monkey on Bumby Avenue and, of course, TooJays?
But that’s another story, too.
It can be lonely to have eclectic, even eccentric tastes in food. Trust me on this one.
Contact Mike Freeman at


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