How Do You Feel About Chicken Livers? Do You Like Them as Much as I do?
My grandparents raised chickens on their bluegrass farm near Georgetown, Kentucky, along with a lot of other animals; but, as far as I know, the only animal liver I ever sampled was from a chicken. I lived with my grandparents while my father was in WWII and then college after the war. Sometime during that era my grandmother decided I loved chicken livers.
I decided I didn't like any part of the chicken when I watched my granny kill one for dinner. I was about 4 at the time, so she kept me with her constantly, including when she chased down a hen and wrung its neck. The bird died reluctantly after running around the back yard without a head for a while. If that wasn't enough of a horror show, when the hen finally gave up and died, my granny tossed it in a pot of boiling water before "letting" me help pluck its feathers. The smell of a hot pot full of wet feathers was as bad as that stuff on the floor of the chicken coop.
The smell of the chicken frying in the old iron skillet wasn't bad, but when we sat down for dinner I couldn't help thinking of those drumsticks carrying the headless breasts and thighs around my playground. When the serving dish came to me, I took the smallest piece I could find. "Oh, you like the livers", my granny said. As I nibbled around the edges of my little dinner, I had no idea what I had started.
As the years passed, Mom, Dad and I drove 150 miles and celebrated every holiday with my grandparents. At Thanksgiving, Christmas, my birthday and for a couple of weeks in the summer when I stayed with Papa and Gigi ( my names for my grandparents), my granny always saved the livers for me. While everybody else feasted on ham or roast beef, I tried my best to choke down a liver or two. I loved Gigi and I couldn't bear to tell her the truth. She was so happy to keep a half dozen or so chicken livers in the freezer for me.
Many years later Papa and Gigi had retired to central Florida not too far from where I was working at a radio station in Orlando. After they got settled in, I drove to Winter Haven to see them. Of course, they were much older and Gigi had stopped cooking big Sunday dinners but had discovered Kentucky Fried Chicken. She sent Papa a few blocks away to the nearest one to fetch dinner for all of us.
When he got back--well, you are probably way ahead of me on this story--he had a whole box of chicken livers just for me. I never did tell either of them that chicken livers weren't my favorite.