Thursday, September 13, 2012
There are many reasons to eat liver, one of them being that I have always liked it, though I do admit that it is an acquired taste. When I was a teenager, I remember coming home from school quite often and broiling some chicken liver and butter with lots of black pepper for a snack.
But nowadays, many people don't eat it any more. In our family, we buy most of our meat from local farmers, though getting hold of chicken or beef liver from them can be quite difficult. So, even though I would prefer not to, if I want chicken liver, I have to get it from the grocery store - when they even have it.
At our local Freshco, liver, kidneys and other less popular animal parts are sold under the "Etnico" brand. The red label also reads, "Ingredients for Traditional Cooking".
It strikes me as sad that the very foods that are healthiest for us are more and more difficult to find these days, and when they are available, we have to hunt them down in the "ethnic" section of the supermarket. Is it any wonder that fewer and fewer people eat this kind of food any more? I don't know what you understand under "ethnic" - I wasn't born in Canada, so that probably puts me more in the ethnic side of the grocery aisle. Yet on the whole, what we used to eat while growing up seems to have been largely similar to what middle class Canadian children ate in the seventies - though I do admit that most people wouldn't have chosen chicken liver for their afternoon snack.
You could definitely make a very convincing argument that nowadays, so-called ethnic or traditional foods are generally healthier. More and more often, the mainstream stuff is processed.
Now that I am an adult, I wonder why I was drawn to chicken liver at the time. After all, www.nutritionfacts.com tells us it's rich in vitamin A, B6, B12, iron and folate, which make for healthy bone and cell development. I've always been a believer in the body's innate ability to seek out nutrients that it needs, and it doesn't surprise me that a growing 15 year old should benefit greatly from a regular infusion of these nutrients.
There's another great reason to eat chicken liver, and it's the same reason why beef bones are an excellent choice: they are cheap. I see all too many complaints about the high cost of eating healthy food, and while I totally agree that organic vegetables are often out of reach for those on a tight budget, there are also plenty of delicious meals that can be rustled up very easily and very economically. I've often been able to get beef bones for free, though I think $1 for a big bag is also an excellent deal. And at $8/kg, the chicken livers I bought this morning were also quite inexpensive - and in my case they were even cheaper: they gave me 30% off because because their use by date is tomorrow. No problem here, because they have already been cooked and largely consumed!