I know my long time readers, of over a decade, have seen me through many styles of eating, but this one probably takes the cake.
I’m eating Pet Food.
My daughter is still a bit weirded out by it, though she’s no stranger to liverwurst, which has similar ingredients.
Weirdness and funniness aside, it’s actually human food, but my butcher sells it as pet food. How interesting that the most nutritious parts of the animal are being saved for the pets. How sweet.
I don’t think people are trying to be sweet when they feed their pets this food. I mean, yes, they have their pets best interest at heart, but most people don’t realize that this is actually some of the most nutritious food fur babies and humans can eat.
When I started eating animal foods again, I was turned on to offal (a.k.a. organ meats a.k.a. heart, liver, kidney, etc – I draw the line at brain and testicles though).
Why was I so attracted to offal? Because it has high concentrations of certain nutrients my body craves. Retinol, for example, when I eat eggs and liver, my skin glows more. My immune system is boosted. When I feel sluggish, heart and liver give me more energy.
Do I like it? Fuck No.
In fact, I’ve been trying to like it for years now and it still has not grown on me like I prefer it would. So, I just put my big-girl pants on and force it down. Thankfully Greg doesn’t mind it at all, and I’ve gotten Kamea used to it since I started her at a young age – like I said, liverwurst makes a regular appearance in my house. Kamea and Greg eat it without issue, but I cut mine into pieces that I chew, mouth open, nose closed, and swallow with big gulps of water or tea. Liverwurst is made of good ol regular beef muscle meat plus liver, heart, and kidney. If I let myself breath too soon after swallowing I get the taste in my mouth as if I’d just bitten the inside of my cheek, but I know I hadn’t.
Through these years of trying to find ways to eat organ meats, I’ve suffered through it like I mentioned above and I’ve made recipes where I hide it. Like my heart stew. Truthfully, that wasn’t bad, but it only contains heart, which is easier to hide than liver and kidney.
Well, one day a few years ago I came across a ranch in California who sold grass-fed beef mixed with a small percentage of ground liver and heart. I loved the idea but after figuring the cost of shipping, etc I opted out and just kept trying to do it on my own like processing liver in my food processor (a bloody mess) and then mixing with ground beef. Don’t even bother.
Months later, I tried to find the site again figuring I’d just pay for it but then I couldn’t find the site.
Many experiments later I finally decided to just eat (grass-fed of course) liverwurst. It’s prepared for me, easy to consume, not too expensive. My grief was that I just didn’t like eating it, though I kept doing it. Every time I took a bite, I’d swear to myself that I’d finish eating what we’d bought and never buy it again.
I kept buying it though. Inspired by health.
But, then something cool happened.
A butcher opened up a couple of blocks from where we live.
A grass-fed butcher.
Yeah, you read that right. Not only is this a butcher shop (uncommon in itself these days), but she sells only grass-fed and humanely treated animals.
Be still my fucking heart. When she opened up her shop, I literally was on cloud nine for weeks. I told everyone I knew so I could increase her business and to relive the whole “OMG – I HAVE A GRASS-FED BUTCHER WITHIN WALKING DISTANCE – OMG!”
After completely vetting her once she opened, I emailed inquiring as to whether she’d make some kind of ground mixture like I’d seen on that California website. I didn’t hear back though. Now, either she didn’t want to muck up her grinder with bloody liver on a regular basis or she was unsure as to whether she could do it or she lost my email or she was just too busy to answer one more of my questions.
But guess what? I was in her shop a couple of weeks ago and I saw that she had grass-fed pet food for sale.
It contained all the organs plus muscle meat in a combo that reminded me of liverwurst. And… it was only $5 bucks a pound! (That’s cheaper than the liverwurst I buy.)
I gave the sign the stink-eye for a moment. Wheels turning in my brain with trepidation… could I eat this? Would I be weird? Would I survive? I think so, I mean, it’s just like liverwurst for the most part only it’s raw so I’d need to cook it. It’s fresh (yay). It’s inexpensive so it means I get to sharpen my frugal skills.
I started talking it out loud at this point to anyone who would listen to me in the butcher shop and it turned out that there was a woman in there who buys it for her dogs but tried a few bites upon cooking it before serving it to Fido. She said it was pretty darn OK. Clearly she lived cuz she was standing there talking with me.
I asked the butcher (wanting to confirm) whether I, human being, could eat it. The answer was yes. I asked again, just in case I wasn’t heard clearly. Again, yes, why not.
I bought a pound. I walked home excited and a bit scared, feeling like I was smuggling some special package.
Here was my plan… cook it with plenty of butter and tons of spices. Mask any offal flavor (is it any wonder the word “offal” can sound like “awful”? And, let’s look at the word “liverwurst” while we’re at it. The world is not doing any favors with these names. I’m so silly that I took to calling it “liverbest” around my family hoping it’d seep into all of our subconsciouses).
Anyway… I’m sure you’re all dying to know how it turned out.
Yes, I cooked it. Yes, I ate it. Yes, I lived to share the tale with you.
I put a small amount in a pan with hot butter and seasoned the shit out of it. Oregano, plus more oregano, chili powder, garlic powder, sea salt, onion powder, and chipotle powder. I broke it up into tiny ground pieces so it wouldn’t require chewing as much.
It smelled ok. Pretty decent actually.
Of course, I had Greg try it first. He asked why I was making him guinea pig. I told that I figured if one of us has to go, it’s probably better for Kamea if I’m still around to raise her. Not excited by my logic, he agreed to try it. He said it was fine.
Encouraged, I took my small cup of pet food and decided to use chopsticks to ensure smaller amounts going into my mouth.
Honestly, not bad. Not bad at all. In fact, better than liverwurst by far. This pet food is now my favorite way to have such a well-rounded offal encounter. And it’s cheaper! Grass-fed! Good for us. Win. Win. Win. (Please be smart and don’t assume that all pet food is for humans, right? This particular product from my butcher is the only experience I have. My butcher sells it as “pet food” but it’s really human food that’s excellent for pets, too.)
Ooh imagine if I cook in a pot of chili. That’ll make it even better.