[LMB] OT: Dinner challenge

M. Traber mtraber251 at earthlink.net
Tue, 10 Aug 2004 11:42:12 -0400

Alex Y. Kwan wrote:

>I'm just wondering, how's liver typically served for the listees who dislike
>liver? I keep hearing about how awful liver is and I've always thought it
>was quite delicious...especially when it's cooked just the right amount.
Well, cooking it the right amount is the crux of the problem..........

In the US, liver was cooked *thoroughly* stopping just before actual 
carbonization....does that give you a clue?

Honestly, the trend for meat seemed to be blood rare or shoeleather, and 
organ meats instead of being cooked rare or medium rare was cooked to 
shoeleather... unless you were jewish and or ethnic, and your family 
used the traditional recipes. You can stop now if you dont want the long 

I am *not* going to get into the discussion here that I was in on the 
SCA-Cooks list that was one of the final straws to me quitting the SCA, 
just sum it up as I consider people on this list to NOT be *typical* 
americans for one reason or another [speaking in re USAians...]

You see, clinical cooking is an american invention springing from the 
wellness fads of the 1800, and many young women were given books instead 
of traditional teaching - books on how to run your home efficiently and 
*hygenically* including dietary advice. I can sort of see where it came 
from, people at the time were rabidly into modernization, and much that 
was traditional was seen as old wives tale and superstition based [and 
much was, actually=)] So instead of a woman learning how to make a 
lovely batch of liver dumplings in soup, she would be told that she 
needed to take a slice of liver, cook the hell [and juices] out of it, 
and serve it with certainly 'scientifically chosen' portions of veggies. 
That is why most american meals are what in resteraunt terms are '3 
plops' or a slab of meat, 2 plops of veggies and 1 plop of starch 
[steak, green beans, carrots and mashed potatoes frex.] If you look at 
the prevalent cookbooks available in the US from 1880 to about 1955 they 
are what I call 'white bread american slop] based on this hygenic food 
idea...see if you can find in the library sometime things like 1930s 
editions of Fanny Farmer, Good Housekeeping, Boston Cooking School and 
similar cookbooks...

It wasnt until the 50s and the advent of even *more* convenience foods 
that this hygenic cooking started losing ground, and an influx of 
magazines aimed at women who through dint of WW2 needed to be gently 
recultured to leave the workplace and re-enter the housewife paradigm, 
and magazines like Good Housekeepimg, Women's Day and McCalls started 
flogging menu planning and recipes based not just on traditional 
american foods, but how to manage integrating convenience foods into the 
home kitchen, and the first real ehtnic cooking sort of leaked in by 
means of the integration of pacific cooking - how to cook chinese, 
polynesian and hawaiian in the home [ we were integrating hawaii into 
statehood, and more and more people were getting interested in eating 
out in restaraunts, and frequently were interested in recreating dishes 
at home...]

It wasn't really until the 60s and the acceptance of more nonconformist 
habits that ethnic cooking became acceptable, and cookbooks and 
magazines started reflecting this, integrating dishes and trying to keep 
the ethnic ingredients intact rather than making them sanitary and 
hygenica and bland enough to appeal to the vast whitebread conformists 
in the US. If you sort of want to see what I am speaking of, watch  'On 
A Clear Day You Can See Forever' with Barbra Streisand. She is engaged 
to a young man about to join 'corporate family america' of the 50s and 
early 60s...where they interviewed not just the man, but his wife and 
family had to conform to their corporate identity....very monolithic=) 
Julia Childs was one of the earlier cooking shows, and she was just 
classic french cuisine...but she was avidly into getting out the message 
that rare meat was a *good* thing, and seasoning with more than salt, 
pepper and parsley was a good thing=)

For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Chuck him out, the brute!"
But it's "Saviour of 'is country," when the guns begin to shoot;
An' it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' anything you please;
But Tommy ain't a bloomin' fool - you bet that Tommy sees!
Rudyard Kipling