When the subject of bad food we ate as kids comes up, and it often does, I generally win the “Yeah, but guess what I had to eat” contest. You know that one, right? That’s where your friend says, “Eww, my mom made us eat meatloaf” or some other lame thing. Or, if you have some friends who lived the exotic life they may come up with things like fish heads or chicken feet, powdered milk or calf liver, maybe a few have even had chitlins or…look, I don’t know, there are a lot of pretty disgusting foods out there, but somehow, this one thing that my mom made always trumps that. I have never had brains (to eat! SHUT UP! You’re not funny at all!), or grubs, we were never forced to eat grasshopper empanadas or Frito pie. But I have had, and did have many times as a child, one meal that still strikes fear in my heart at its very mention. Read these three words that I am about to type and tell me you don’t feel a chill go down your spine. CHICKEN…LIVER…STROGANOFF. You’re scared now aren’t you? You want your mama don’t you? And I don’t even have that luxury because it’s my mama that made that…thing.
“What is this horror?” you may ask. “These words”, you say, “I know what they mean but I can not make sense of them. “
Let’s take a look at the basic recipe for such a nightmare…
First you need to make some wide egg noodles. This sounds ok really. Who doesn’t like noodles? Noodles are good. As a kid, noodles are pretty much a food group. Then you need to melt some butter in a skillet. Still ok. Noodles and butter, can’t go wrong with that right? Good stuff. But then…then…sauté chicken livers in butter…did you hear that? That sizzling is the sound of fear. I remember that sound, frying chicken livers. It’s kind of like the silence of the lambs but more…liver-y. Even so, there have been a few times in my life when I was not so terrified by the chicken liver. There may have been once when I saw fried chicken livers on the menu at an “urban” KFC and felt compelled to order them. I may have eaten one and thought, “This is not TERRIBLE. I mean, I don’t need another one but…you know, I could eat this if I had too. “ There may have been a time when I was reading a jewish cookbook and thought, “I should try that chopped chicken liver spread. How bad could it be?” and I did and it wasn’t THAT bad. But the stroganoff…oh the stroganoff…because the next step is to ADD A CONTAINER OF SOUR CREAM!
Oooh, just thinking of it…ooh, my stomach, she aches!
But here’s the really sick twist. I still can’t think of this recipe with out shuddering but my brothers…THEY MAKE IT! It’s just wrong.