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…..