This is a totally Northern thing. I am sad to say that I was not born in the South, but I got here as quick as I could. But while stationed above the Mason Dixon line, waiting to get in, there were several food memories that have just stuck with me forever and ever. One of them was going to the butcher (they actually had those back in the day) with my dad. While he was picking out steaks with fat rinds the size of Utah, the butcher would hand me a slice of liverwurst as a treat.
Now you have to remember, we had no real food at our house. My mother only knew how to cook three things: dry chicken breasts, dry halibut and dry cube steak. She broiled them all in the oven with no seasoning or fat whatsoever. So as a young child, I’d liked to starve to death. I won’t even go into the lumpy oatmeal with skim milk.
Since I had never been forced to eat liver at home, this silky disc of livery goodness just hit the spot with me. It was rich and luxurious. It was American pate, even though I’d never heard of such a thing at the time.
So Mark bought this liverwurst the other day after I expressly told him just to buy sticks and twigs because of our overindulgent weekend and I initially got a little peeved with him. Until this morning.
I have been in the habit of making Noah and myself sandwiches in the morning. I have no idea why this is because sandwiches are not breakfast food, but I just have been. I asked him if he wanted to try a liverwurst sandwich just knowing that he was going to hate the whole idea and dash my hopes of him following in my footsteps as a liverwurst lover. But possibly because he wasn’t fully awake or because he had 7.5 seconds before he had to dash out the door to school, he said sure.
Here’s how you make the sandwich. You take two slices of bread, any kind. You put an enormous amount of Duke’s mayonnaise on each slice. Then you top it with the liverwurst. And then you add some healthy slices of white onion. Mark added some Durkee’s to his the other day and that’s good, but it’s not the classic.
Noah ran out the door with the sandwich wrapped in Saran Wrap and I envisioned him taking one bite and throwing it on the car floor. But this afternoon, Mark told me he LOVED it! He came home wanting another one, but Mark had already cleaned up the last remaining three slices of liverwurst.
Food memories. Food is so wrapped up in our childhood, in our coming of age, in our very being in my humble opinion. Food is a link between generations. I will never know why that butcher decided to give me liverwurst as a treat instead of a slice of turkey or ham. But after 50 years, liverwurst still resides in my food memory as special. Now my boy Noah thinks so, too. That’s pretty special, at least to me.