Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Vintage Food Challenge: Liver and Onions

Liver and onions used to be a staple British dish and was immensely popular during the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. It was (and still is) a cheap source of protein, and the batch I cost just 84p. At a time when families spent a higher percentage of their wage on food than is spent today, you can see why liver was found so frequently on British dinner tables. 

However, with modern standards of living and changes in taste, liver has declined in popularity. According to the BBC, the average consumption of liver in British households dropped from 36g per week in 1974 to just 3g in 2014. As with the Spam challenge, I knew that my tastes growing up would mean that I would have to get used to a taste I wasn't familiar with.

All this recipe required was chopped lamb liver, one sliced onion and dripping for frying. I fried the onions in hot dripping, then added the liver for ten minutes.

My kitchen smelt disgusting, and I felt quite sick eating it as it's just not a flavour or texture I'm used to. However, I persevered. 


As much as I appreciate how cheap liver is, and how it was an important source of food during the mid-twentieth century, I won't make a conscious choice to eat it again. I found it very bland, and the flavour was metallic and not something I could easily get used to. If I were to eat liver again, I would try and find a way to mask the taste in a thick gravy or sauce. I can completely appreciate that my outlook on this dish is influenced by my modern tastes however. 

Perhaps I would feel differently if I had been born in the 60s or 70s, rather than a time when spaghetti bolognese, thai curry and chilli con carne were popular dishes.

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