Ugly de­li­cious: Chopped liver

Stabroek News - - THE SCENE -

Hi Every­one, I re­cently watched an episode of “The Hairy Bik­ers” (Bri­tish TV Chefs), ‘Chicken and Egg’ se­ries in which they vis­ited Is­rael. At the home of a chef and kosher food writer of Pol­ish de­cent, they ate Chopped Liver. They de­scribed it as savoury and tasty, then one of the Bik­ers re­marked, “This is food for peo­ple who work hard; you couldn’t eat this and sit a desk”.

I bor­rowed a part of the ti­tle of to­day’s head­line from David Chang’s Net­flix doc­u­men­tary se­ries, “Ugly De­li­cious”. The se­ries looks at what food means and the choices peo­ple make that change its mean­ing. I had watched “Ugly De­li­cious” long be­fore the ‘Chicken and Egg’ se­ries, but I im­me­di­ately cast my mind back to “Ugly De­li­cious” when I heard the com­ment about Chopped Liver be­ing the food of peo­ple who worked hard. Why?

Part 1 – Chopped Liver

Chopped Liver is a liver pâté that has roots in Europe, and it is be­lieved to have been adopted by Jewish Com­mu­ni­ties, par­tic­u­larly those from East­ern Europe. It is a peas­ant dish that comes from the school of nose to tail eat­ing. In other words, eat­ing the whole an­i­mal and not let­ting any­thing go to waste be­cause there is so lit­tle. The dish is made by cook­ing the liv­ers ei­ther by grilling or a quick pan-fry, then chop­ping and mix­ing them with onions cooked with a gen­er­ous help­ing of schmaltz (ren­dered chicken fat), or veg­etable oil along with chopped boiled eggs. Pars­ley and sliced scal­lions com­plete this tasty side dish. To­day, Chopped Liver can be found at many Jewish delis and is of­ten served as an ap­pe­tizer for

Jewish hol­i­days and gath­er­ings. Many food writ­ers are quick to point out that it is far from healthy and it is some­times called “a heart at­tack on a plate” be­cause of the fat and choles­terol con­tent of the liver and fat in which it is cooked as well as the boiled eggs. They has­ten to add that the dish is, how­ever, com­fort­ing and nos­tal­gic.

(Photo by Cyn­thia Nel­son)

Liver Pâté topped with melted but­ter be­fore re­frig­er­at­ing

(Photo by Cyn­thia Nel­son)

Egg yolks to mix with Chopped Liver

(Photo by Cyn­thia Nel­son)

Jewish-style Chopped Liver

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