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COLUMN: Liver and onions brings back nasty memories

What food did you have to eat as a child that you wouldn’t go near as an adult?
Liver and onions. ( Pixabay photo )

Decades later, I still recoil at the vivid memory of the repugnant texture.

On weekends, we often do a fun post on our Facebook pages for the PQB News and VI Free Daily.

The latest offering was a simple question, spawned from a disussion I had with my sister about our family dinner menu as kids: “What dish did your family serve when you were a child that you didn’t like at all… and have never eaten again as a grownup?’

For me, there was only one possible answer.

Liver and onions. More pointedly, liver. I still like onions in a variety of ways and with many dishes.

Liver remains singularly disgusting.

As I type this, I’m instantly being transported back to my youth, waiting in horror as the familiar Corningware dish was brought to the table.

The attempted repression of the gag reflex as the lid came off and the smell wafted my way.

The “can I please have some ketchup?” question, followed by the pointed “no” in response.

Filling my plate with green beans (also not a favourite) to make up for taking the tiniest slice of liver possible. That was pretty much mandatory, since we lived in a ‘you must eat everything on your plate’ household.

Ah, the memories.

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To be clear, my Mum was an awesome cook. I loved almost everything she made.

Back in the day, we had what was par for the course at the time, a pretty much standard weekly menu.

Something along the lines of Monday pork chops and mushroom soup; Tuesday spaghetti; Wednesday cabbage rolls; Thursday meatloaf; Sunday the full-on roast beef and Yorksire pudding dinner and a few other options mixed in.

All outstanding. Pineapple upside down cake or the side treat of peas in white sauce? Stellar.

The rare appearance of the liver?


For those of you who swear by liver – or its equally rancid cousins, corned beef and/or creamed corn – as continued staples, my apologies… and condolences.

And I have to admit, it warmed my heart a little to see plenty of support among readers in their opposition to liver.

“Liver and onions… cruel and unusual punishment,” said Mark Davies.

“Liver. Uuggghhh!” offered Maggie Turbett.

“Liver. Nope.” – Cheryl Wilson

A sampling of other non-favourites from readers:

“Split pea soup. Ugh.” – Debra Cockle

“Ox Tail. Never again.” – Tania Walton

“Sausages and creamed corn… ick.” – Tina House

“Boiled spinach, yuk.” – Andrew Jones

“Boiled cod with white sauce. Tied with liver and onions which my Dad loved all his life.” – Joanne Nemeth

“The soft yolk to a boiled egg, still can’t eat it to this day.” – Deb Brooks

“Escargot, snails. Gross.” – Teri Green

“Egg plant and lamb.” – Penny Helset

“Curried tuna on toast.” – Heather Hamilton Hourston

“Porridge.” – Keith Carter (who added he loved liver and onions)

“Finnan haddie.” – Terrence Murphy (I admit I had to look it up, it’s smoked haddock)

“Fried bologna.” – Sonia McLean

“Tripe, just disgusting.” – Susan Anderson

And plenty more, some great responses.

I wonder how our own kids might respond to this question as they grow up?

For the most part, I’m much more lenient when it comes to food. If you don’t like something, I (recalling getting sent to bed without dinner during an ill-fated rebellion against the evils of liver) won’t have it on the menu repeatedly and demand you consume every morsel.

Not once have I uttered “just eat it, it puts hair on your chest”, or sent someone to their room for responding “then why would you make (sister) eat it then?”

What was your least-favourite food as a youngster?

VI Free Daily/PQB News editor Philip Wolf can be reached at or @philipwolf13 on Twitter.

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Philip Wolf

About the Author: Philip Wolf

I’ve been involved with journalism on Vancouver Island for more than 30 years, beginning as a teenage holiday fill-in at the old Cowichan News Leader.
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