New Rockford Transcript - Official Newspaper of Eddy County since 1883

Save the livers


February 10, 2020

Several weeks ago, I chronicled a herculean effort to smuggle dry curd cottage cheese from Ashley Super Valu to my mother in Frederick, S.D., with the help of a hearse that happened to be going that direction. The mission was a success, so we were able to have cheese buttons for Christmas dinner. They taste better when delivered in a Lincoln.

The episode was even mentioned on Prairie Public Radio. Sue Balcom, once alerted to the shortage of dry curd cottage cheese, made an emergency broadcast to listeners to tell them how they might make their own dry curd cottage cheese if they don't have “access to an undertaker in Ashley, N.D.”

Later, when I posted pictures of the cheese button dinner along with the recipe on social media, it received universal approval, and frankly, you can't even get that with pictures of kittens. So imagine how surprised I was by the response the other day when I posted pictures of our family liver and onions dinner. Within hours I received more than 50 comments, or as they are better known-in law-enforcement circles, credible threats.

Let me say right now, there are two kinds of people in this world, real Americans and people who will not eat liver and onions. But first a disclaimer: No morticians were involved in this culinary exercise. The exact response was a terse, “I don't want to be involved in something like this.”

The last time I had a cow butchered at Kauk's Meat Market in Eureka, S.D., they asked me if I wanted the liver, and when I said yes, they looked at me like I was some kind of freak, and then loaded me up with several hundred pounds of beef liver abandoned by more respectable customers. That led to the First and Final Annual Tony Bender Tri-County Liver and Onions Cookout— $10 at the door. We paid for them.

I blame the weather for the poor attendance. It was a balmy, sun-soaked 75 degrees with a gentle breeze— a zephyr, I believe you call it. No one in North Dakota knows how to deal with that sort of thing. We usually have to issue hammers and nails to hold the paper plates to the picnic tables.

When I noted that my brother Mike refuses to eat liver and onions – he insisted on fried sausage, instead – it created a movement – #IStandWithMike – and sadly, a rift in our family. He's gone viral, but I would like to point out, it is flu season. His agent is already negotiating a deal to make Mike the marshall of the Gypsy Day Parade in Aberdeen.

Dylan had never eaten liver and onions, another one of my parental shortcomings, but he liked them very much, because as his Grandma Jan explained, “he knows what's good for him.” On an unrelated note, we do not understand why the potted plant he was sitting by died suddenly during dinner. It actually screamed. Maybe it was a ringtone.

One former friend, who may or may not be famed multi-media horticulturist Don Kinzler, even went so far as to cite the Bible's objection to eating organs, so we're all going to Hell on top of it, I guess. In my mind, though, I picture Don wearing mixed fabrics – stripes and plaids, probably – and nibbling on shellfish as he terminated our friendship. Shoot. I forgot to ask him about the dead fern.

One person cryptically wrote, “That's how they got Epstein.”

A few people offered cooking tips which mostly involved in making liver and onions not taste like liver and onions. Among the suggestions were soaking the liver in milk, adding garlic, celery and peppers, frying in bacon grease, going with vastly more onions and far less liver, or just going to Taco John's with Mike. It's also important to, and I quote, “not cook the bejesus out of it.”

In its defense, the liver is high in protein, every B-vitamin known to man and low in calories, especially, as many people pointed out if you don't eat any. Save the livers. © Tony Bender, 2020


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