Really, This Must Be a Milestone

December 26, 2013

Dear Family,

Happy Christmas (to those who celebrate)! And Happy Day When Nobody Expects You To Do Anything, Which Is A Super Awesome Holiday (to those who don't).

This year, Jeff and I Divided To Conquer. He got the Super-Long Drive and the Potty-Trained Kids Who Sleep Through the Night. I got the Easy Commute, and the Sometimes-Potty-Trained Child Who Rarely Sleeps Deeply. Ben and Jem are having a Bountiful Christmas at Grandma's, and report that they are having lots of fun. Amazingly, both Jeff and I are getting some extra rest. And although Eliza is very eager for all the boys to return (she keeps trying to sit on my keyboard and kiss the screen when we Skype with them), she is having fun, too.

This isn't really a complete update today, though. This is a Tiny Little Report on the topic of Eating Liver.


As you know, in our house, we don't eat food. We eat Food. Spelled with, like, at least ten capital "F"s. Sometimes we like it, and sometimes we don't; sometimes we complain about it; and nearly constantly we eat it or prepare it or clean up after it or shop for it or worry about it or at least plan ahead for the next time we'll need to think about it. And over the past nearly-four years (as you may know), even though our family has probably eaten thousands of pounds of animal flesh, carnivory is still sometimes challenging for me.

Which is why I try to be gentle with myself on the topic of Food. Which is also why I am adventurous when cooking meat...only in fits and starts. And this is additionally why, though I've learned to enjoy a variety of flesh foods over the past nearly four years, organ meats have not really garnered a spot on my Enjoyable list at all. I've swallowed my [raw liver]( with as few complaints as possible, in order to set a good example for my children, whom I expect to swallow raw liver, too. A couple of times I've tried experimental recipes, and sometimes I've composted the results, and sometimes I've choked them down, but really...I can't say that I've reached my goal of _enjoying_ offal.

And like I said, sometimes all this Trying To Be Good just makes me want to eat BAD. Which is why, I said to Jeff (only halfway joking), I wasn't planning to do any cooking at all when he and the boys were at Grandma's. Which is also why, after the boys drove away on Tuesday, I felt like sitting down to eat the entire remaining plate of the [Christmas Cookies](…) that were currently sitting in the fridge. After that, I thought maybe I'd order a pizza.

But then...I ended up doing quite a bit of cooking over the past few days: a big pot of broth, some interesting soups, some roasted vegetables, a batch of cultured gingered-daikon. I ate a few cookies at each lunchtime. I made miso soup. And then today, after Maya and Kristen both (separately) encouraged me...I made yet another attempt at organ meat cookery.

This time, I wasn't worried about whether my face might betray my grossed-outed-ness, because Eliza's too little to care. This time, I didn't have to pretend that I was going to like it, because I wasn't sure if I would, and I wasn't trying to set an example for anyone. This time, I decided to be adventurous because I was mostly curious about whether I could make something palatable. And I set out to make [liver pate](…).

Cooking it took a long time, what with my small helper providing a lot of help. But finally, it was done. I took a bite. And I tasted it, really let the flavor swirl around in my mouth, and I didn't just tell myself sternly to eat it because it was Good For Me. And I nearly started to dance right then, because it was GOOD! REALLY good!

"This is really DELICIOUS!" I said to Eliza, who was busily emptying all the kitchen cabinets onto the floor. "I like it!!" And then I loaded up some plates with food for us. I had pate, olives, avocado, raw gouda (maybe the [best in the world](, and carrot slices (from carrots that Ben and Jem picked from the garden last week!). The pate had eggs and dairy, which Eliza isn't currently consuming due to Nasty Digestive Ramifications from same. So instead I gave her some chunks of frozen, raw liver, which she thought was Really Super Great.

I plugged in the Christmas lights, and put our plates on the counter, and Eliza sat on one barstool while I sat on the other. The Indigo Girls were playing on the radio, and the night was frigid and windy outside...and inside, we were having a Really Great Dinner. I don't think I can do full justice to this tableau, of me and my daughter eating liver together. I was just so incredibly happy that the stuff TASTED good! And Eliza was dancing while she ate, her little butt wiggling around on the barstool, and she was very chatty. She was talking about "Papa!", and Ben and Jem (I think), and I reminded her how they were at Grandma's but would be home soon, and then she was babbling about wanting some "wawa" (water), and then I'm pretty sure she signed "tasty" to indicate how much she was loving her frozen raw liver. And I was kinda starting to laugh, because it was so funny that she and I were having liver for dinner.

Then Eliza signed "more,", and proceeded to eat two more helpings of frozen raw liver, and I finished my plate of Deliciousness and was so proud of it, and my baby girl, and my family, and I felt like somehow I'd reached some sort of milestone. Like maybe I should get a Liver Award or something, to prove that I will truly go to great lengths in service to my family. Eliza was giggling and adorable and so I scooped her up and we danced around the room, which she thought was really great, so she signed "more!" and we kept dancing. And then she reached up and signed "tasty!" again, and tried to give me a bite of her chewed-on frozen piece of raw liver.

And I said, "Baby Girl, I'm going to have to wait on that - even though I thank you for the offer! Enjoying raw liver will have to be a milestone for another day."


And that's all I have to say about liver, tonight. I hope you're staying warm, wherever you happen to be!