Saturday, November 13, 2010


So with Daniel's many, many food allergies, we have been eating a lot of the same old foods. Chicken, potatoes, green beans. Oatmeal. Beans. More chicken, more potatoes, more green beans. Needless to say, I'm ready for a little variety. However, my primary concern is finding fattening foods that Daniel can, and will, eat, especially since he is currently not even big enough to make it on to the growth chart. Choices are limited when you can't have any dairy products, nuts, or wheat, all of which are the standard fare for fattening food. I have instead found myself reaching for animal fat and various meat products to try to bulk up the calorie count in Daniel's diet.

One of the new foods we have recently tried, which I have discovered is chock full of all kinds of vitamins and minerals, and fat, and protein, is liver. Yes. Liver. I know, it's not a food highly esteemed in today's food culture, and there are toxicity concerns especially when eating industrial liver, but I think it may be unfairly despised. Following some reading (library books and, of course, the internet), I purchased, at our lovely local farmer's market, a pastured pork liver. I thawed it (it was frozen when I bought it), and luckily stumbled upon a recipe for liver in a book I just happened to be reading.

I can honestly say I have never cooked liver before, and I have never handled a raw hunk of liver, that is, before I sliced open that package. It was squishy and slippery, and a sort of burgundy red color. I chopped my (farmer's market) bacon and cooked it, rendering the bacon fat into the pan, cooked my chopped onion in the bacon fat, and as the wonderful smell of bacon filled the kitchen, I took my knife and started cutting the liver into slivers. It was a little bit like trying to chop up a very large oyster, the same soft and slippery, yet textured feel. Finally I finished cutting and scraped it into my cornmeal coating, then the pan. The cutting board looked like I had butchered an animal on it. (Apparently the liver is a very bloody organ, which I find funny, as I have never before thought of my liver as being rich in blood.)

I got my dish assembled; we were ready to eat. I tasted it myself. Not bad! The generous taste of bacon fat only enhanced the deliciousness of the dish. Even better, Daniel ate it, and he actually seemed to like it. Nathan, on the other hand, tried one bite and then said, "Mommy, I don't like it." Over the next two days, I cooked liver two more times as we finished off the package. The liver was delicious, as long as it remained pink. A couple of pieces reached the gray, rubbery stage. Those nasty little chunks made me understand how liver probably got its reputation as a gross food. I came up with a little ditty to solve all liver eating dilemmas.

Liver cooked right,
Eater's delight.
Liver overcooked.
Better overlooked.

Love your liver!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Fifty First Dates--Minus Forty-Nine...

...or all about why I'm glad I only ever had to go on one first date.

Reason Number One: I'm not good at them (or so I suspect). Why do I think this? Well, because I'm horrible at meeting people. For one thing, I get terribly nervous. My stomach hurts, I sweat, and I often start shaking. I'm also horrible at making small talk, mainly because I only ask questions that I really want to know the answer to. This often means I skip the expected pleasantries and ask something that may be received as an invasion of privacy or an inappropriate question. (So you recently had a colonoscopy? What was that like?) I have zero tolerance for social lies. (How does this top look on me? Well, to be honest, not that good.) Perfect candor is great in an established relationship because you will always know where you stand with me, but isn't such a great thing when trying to navigate the maze that is getting to know someone.

Reason Number Two: I don't like to dress up. At all. Ever. Not even in blue jeans. I like my sweats, and I don't want the elastic waist to be too tight. Especially since the second baby. There's just no bounce-back left in my sad, saggy tummy. I keep hoping for a miracle, but so far, nothing. However, even back in my college days when everything was a little firmer than now, I still loved my comfortable clothes. I know the rule is dress for success, but they might as well say dress to compress. Fortunately, my husband loves me even when I'm rocking a fine pair of purple sweats. Not sure how that would go over on a first date though.

Reason Number Three: I hated the meat market that was dating. I had a guy approach me my freshman year and try to ask me out while telling me he thought of dating as an "all-you-can-eat buffet." Strike one and you're out, buddy! I never really thought the wardrobe approach the best way to start a lasting relationship either. (Hmmm... Let me try you on for size. Nope, not working, I'll cast you aside for my next selection.) Seems like a good way to practice ending your relationships, not keeping them for life. I'm not saying I think you're a horrible person if you dated two or three or ten people, only that I think serial dating to be, generally, unwise.

Reason Number Four: I love my husband, and I'm so glad we met, and married, young, so we could start our life together. I love that he indulges me in my crazy whims, and does it without making me feel like a crazy person. I love that he has made me become a better person (and it wasn't because he was trying to improve me; I would have hated that). I love that he never shied away from committing to me in a world where genuine commitment is so very rare. I love that he is the father of my two precious children, the one who plays peek-a-boo with them over the couch. I love that I didn't have to sort through a bunch of jerks to find the man who was right for me. I'm so thankful that God knew I could only handle one first date, and lined up all the details perfectly.

How perfect the equation: one first date+two people who fell in love=fifty first dates-forty-nine