Liver Treats

By Ali Berlow

She took his head into her hands, caressing his ears and the softness of his cheeks. Looking into those cinnamon pools of his eyes – she put her lips close enough to his so that he could take the treat gently from her mouth, without drooling. The tip of his cold wet nose tickled but she didn’t mind. Bob was well versed in this trick and seemed to understand that this was not going to be the last snack. There was no need to be greedy. He licked his gray whiskers with satisfaction and lay back down on his sheepskin daybed, opting for a leisurely nap before their next liver-flavored kiss. 

She’d baked the dog biscuits as a present for the love of her life and only one who loved her back — unconditionally – Bob, her black lab. It was the least she could do for an arthritic old friend although the actual cooking process was one of the grossest things that she’s ever done in her kitchen. She was grateful that no one was around to witness or comment, besides Bob of course and he was, as always, close by her side, sleeping. 

It only took a few pulses of the blender to liquefy an entire pound of raw organic chicken livers into a smooth, velvety consistency. The red color seemed startlingly to her at first or maybe it was just amazing how little it took to turn all those livers into a frappe that looked like something you could buy at Starbucks for $2.25. Then she added a fertilized egg – shell and all – along with a vitamin E capsule and some flax seed oil into and gave it one last whirl for good measure. At this point in Bob’s aged life – he needed all the extra nutrients he could get. Recently he’d been having some trouble getting up in the morning and making it down the stairs and out the door to – you know – do his duty. 

Little bits of ground up eggshell clung to the inside of the blender when she poured the liquid-liver into the mixing bowl of her Kitchen-Aid. Then she added a cup of whole-wheat flour, an equal amount cornmeal, about two tablespoons of garlic powder (it’s supposed to keep the fleas away) and a drop or two of echinicea to boost Bob’s immune system. The resulting smell of re-hydrated garlic concentrate and uncooked organ meat was so strong at this point that she lit a patchouli-scented candle. But it did nothing other than add another disconcerting layer of scent. As she patted down the dense brown, gritty batter onto a greased jelly pan and put it into the hot oven, she experienced a sensory flashback that brought to mind the carpeting inside of Terminal C at Logan Airport and muzak interpretations of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. 

The sheet of biscuits baked up in 15 minutes just as the recipe promised. She cut them up while they were still warm — into nothing fancy – just lopsided rectangles. She and Bob played their kissing game once the treats cooled down enough and he'd shaken himself awake. When he focused his gaze on her, with those loving devoted eyes, she thought to herself with a liver treat clenched firmly between her teeth, ‘Who are you really?’ and then she gave Bob a caress, a kiss, another treat.

 

Liver Treats

 

Ingredients

1 pound of chicken livers

1 egg, shell and all

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup corn meal

1-2 tablespoons garlic powder (not salt!)

1 tablespoon of canola oil or olive oil

 

optional:

1 vitamin E capsule

a smidge of flax seed or flax seed oil

 

substitutions/variations:

1/2 cup of garbanzo bean flour instead of 1/2 cup of corn meal

dried oregano

dried mint

dried parsley

 

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400F.

Place chicken livers and liquid in blender and liquefy. Add egg – all of it, shell included and pulse again. Add any of your optional vitamin E and/or flax seed. Pour liquid liver into a mixing bowl. Add flour, corn meal and garlic powder (or any of the substitutions/variations). Mix until well blend. Spray jelly roll pan with Pam. Pour mixture into pan. You may have to spread it out – to about a 1/4”-1/2” thickness. Bake 15 minutes in a hot oven. Cut into small squares while still warm. Cool completely. You can keep them in the freezer to prevent spoilage if you want.

 

RecipeAli Berlow