Hold the Liver and the Onions, please. That’s what I would have said to my mother when I was only about thirteen-years-old … if I had even known the phrase or had the savvy enough to say it. But, no use, it wouldn’t have done any good.
Who likes liver and onions anyway? Well, I suppose there are some brave souls out there – somewhere- who like it – or why would that combination even be around?
It’s NOT the onions! I love onions. It’s the liver that I abhor. I mean I really don’t have anything against liver … except that it sounds gross and tastes terrible. I rate it right up there on the scale of hate with kidneys, tongue, and pig’s feet, which I have never had and plan to keep it that way.
But, one fateful night, my mother made liver and onions for dinner. The house reeked! She had never prepared it before; and I have no idea where she got that idea, but it was not one of her best.
My family gathered at the table with inquisitive and wary eyes. “You’ll like it,” she told us.” “I doubt that,” I thought. And by the dubious looks on the faces of my siblings, I was not alone. All except for my newly-born sister, San (Suzanne), Judy (11), Jackie (John) (9), and Mark (6) stared right along with me at the brown blob with slimy white worms draped over it. I vowed that that concoction would not pass my lips and I clamped my mouth shut. But, before I did, I proclaimed the same … and the battle lines were drawn.
I suppose my mother made a vow too, and her vow was a direct contradiction to mine. You will eat your liver and onions or go to bed hungry. It’s a common refrain of mothers eternal. (Not the liver and onion part – just the You will eat your ________ or go to bed hungry. Slot in whatever food you hated.) They are words of wisdom passed down from generation to generation – from mother to mother to mother – endlessly. Be honest! I bet you have some of your own motherisms you could add to this blog. Remember – eat all of your food because there are children starving in _______. Fill in the blank. I never understood how my eating my unwanted food would help children on the other side of the world. Actually I still don’t, but I would gladly have given them my liver and onions and I would have welcomed going to bed hungry to spare the insult of liver and onions.
When my mother’s tactic did not work, she raised her battle cry to, “You will not leave the table until you finish your dinner. After all she had spent good money and time preparing it – with love- for us. Didn’t she know I had homework to do – a test in math, English, science, reading, and geography in the morning? Did she want me to fail? Well, I tried. She saw right through my earnestness.
So I did the next best thing. I rolled my food around my plate trying to make it look like less – trying to make it look like I had eaten it. I accidentally, (yeah right) dropped a few choice pieces under the table. It joined several pieces that my siblings accidentally dropped, too. Why didn’t we have a dog?
We sat! And we sat! It seemed like hours. It probably was. I realized that I had lost the skirmish. I tentatively put a piece of liver and onions in my mouth. I bet you are thinking that I saw the light and discovered the wonderful experience of L&O. but, NO, as I expected, I hated it. It was beyond the hate scale of 10. I did the only think left to do, I swallowed each piece … WHOLE – like a pill. It was bitter medicine.
But my mission now was to clear my plate so I could be released from the table. My siblings stared at me. Probably waiting for me to keel over. Liver and onions is not edible for children. No child should be required to eat it. It’s in the realm of torture. But, I ate it.
As I swallowed the last piece, my mother sighed and said, “Put your plates in the sink.” My siblings dashed to the sink. I gaped at my mother. Not Fair! It couldn’t be true … but it was! Who ever said life was fair?
PS. I have NEVER ever, allowed liver and onions to pass my lips since. AND...I never served it to MY children.
(Clipart compliments of Bing.com)
I am the author of Prisoners without Bars: A Caregiver's Tale. It's the true story of how my husband almost left me--three times.