Liver: It’s What’s (Ick!) for Dinner

As a kid there was always one day a month that mom served us liver.

My dad loved it with onions.

I preferred mine back at the store — in the frozen food aisle.

During the ‘60s and early ‘70s we lived in the Castle Hill housing projects in the Bronx.

Pretty much all of your friends lived in your building. Living in the projects was pretty cool  because when I was told we were having liver, I could just say, “Oh I forgot to tell you mom, Michael downstairs invited me to dinner.”

Michael didn’t yet know it yet, but I would ask him when I would get to school.

And as it would turn out, he was having liver too.

So by school lunchtime, Michael and about three other prospects were all having liver.

Like me, they were trying to escape to another house.

I always had an ace in the hole, Robert, my best friend.

I probably ate at his house nearly every day. Like Rich’s mom, Mrs. R. always had people over. Robert had an older brother and sister around the same age as my older brothers.

Robert’s mom was a great Italian cook and even taught my mom how to make stuffed shells and lasagna.

My mom wondered why I’d always eat there and Mrs. R said that it was because of the sauce, pasta and cheese.

I loved that as they always had salad, pasta, fresh rolls and something with lots of mozzarella on it.

So on this liver-for-dinner day, I cornered Robert right after lunch and asked if I could eat at his house.

I had eaten there most nights anyway and this was a real emergency.

He said sure, that it shouldn’t be a problem. I asked if he knew what his mom was cooking and he said, “Yep, fegato alla veneziana.”

It sounded delicious as it rolled off his tongue with his Italian accent.

I got to Robert’s after telling my mom how I was invited downstairs for dinner.

I walked into their apartment. I recall smelling garlic and hot rolls and my mouth was already watering.

Robert’s older brother and sister were having dinner away at their friends’ houses this evening, so there was plenty for me.

I started with the salad and then the pasta. The main course was served to the table family style and when the lid came off, the smell overpowered me.

And then it dawned on me as I looked toward Robert, who was laughing: Fegato alla veneziana was liver and onions.

Well at least there was hot rolls with mozzarella.

More pasta, please!


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