I was brought up as a bag rinser and elastic saver. The kitchen faucet perpetually had a plastic bag turned inside out drying and waiting for its next employ.
One of the outstanding values that I learned in my mother’s kitchen is not to throw food out. We were brought up with a saying that there was nothing left but the squawk. Even waxed paper was reused and certainly trimmings of flesh, fish or fowl all found their way into the meat grinder and changed into delicious morsels.
Being called thrifty used to be considered a complement. I wonder now how my kitchen habits would measure up?
I know I don’t have the same systems in place partially because there is so much convenience available. There is simply not the same need to be as resourceful.
But I must say I was delighted to find fresh chicken livers in the supermarket this week with labelled instructions on how to kasher them.
Growing up, on Friday night our table had fried chopped chicken livers, topped with gribenes (chicken skin cracklings) served with challa. Although I don’t intend to make shmaltz (rendered chicken fat), I am excited to serve chopped liver and caramelized onion.
Remember when chickens from the butcher had a little package stuffed in their cavity containing the heart, liver and gizzard? These were the treasures that our grandmothers transformed into our favourites. How did we go from relishing chicken feet fricassee to serving only chicken fingers?
Kashering meat and fowl used to be the responsibility of the homemaker. Some of us even have memories of certain boards and basins reserved for such a purpose. The whole chicken was then broken down and became the source of a number of delectable dishes. Now, the koshering process is done for us. Packages of chicken are offered, separated into singular parts not calling into play the homemakers ingenuity. But when it comes to livers, a delicious, inexpensive source of protein, rich in iron, I commit to the koshering practice so that I can offer my family their own culinary memories of chicken livers on the Shabbos table.
Shabbat shalom from My Kosher Kitchen,
Nancy Weisbrod, Director of Culinary Education, Kashruth Council of Canada