- Food and Cooking
5 Reasons Why Livermush is Entirely Underrated
A classic way to prepare livermush
Ah, livermush… It sounds so disgusting, yet lovers of this bizarre food couldn’t imagine life without it. A meat dish primarily prevalent in the south, livermush is an entirely underrated yet amazing food that when cooked right, can make you forget all about the name.
1. It’s entirely unique
This cheap food is made from cornmeal, pig liver, and head parts- which for the record, tastes much better than it sounds, and I’m the world’s pickiest eater. There truly is no other food quite like it (do NOT get it confused with liver pudding, scrapple, or haggis.). Here in North Carolina, we have 2 livermush festivals that I like to visit every year in Marion and Shelby. It’s nice to be surrounded by other livermush lovers who can appreciate the true beauty of this weird food, which by the way was featured on Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern. Although I didn’t realize it was bizarre growing up, I have to admit, I’m a little proud that one of my favorite foods made it onto the show.
2. It’s cheap!
Jenkin’s livermush (which, let’s be real, is the only kind worth eating!) will run you anywhere from two to three bucks, depending on where you buy it. It makes a great addition to your breakfast, or our personal favorite, breakfast for dinner. It goes fantastic on plain white bread as a sandwich, in a biscuit, or even just on its’ own.
3. You can’t mess it up
When my now-husband and I began dating, he had never heard of livermush. I’m pretty sure the thought of it disgusted him, but seeing how much I love it and how badly I wanted him to love it too, he took one for the team and tried it. And he was totally hooked! When we got married, there were very few things I could properly cook yet. Livermush was my go to food that I never worried about messing up, because you really just have to slice it, slap it on a pan, and cook it to your preferred doneness (it’s already fully cooked and can technically be eaten raw, though I don’t recommend it.) I prefer spicy, while my husband prefers original. Both are worth trying!
4. The nutrients
Stay with me here! Assuming you don’t add any extra grease to the livermush, it really does have some nutritional benefits that will make you feel less guilty enjoying it. Just 2 oz of livermush contains almost half your daily recommended dose of Vitamin A (thanks to the livers), nearly half your daily recommended dose of Iron, and 5 grams of protein. I’m not a huge fan of meat besides livermush and fish, so for me this is my primary source of these nutrients.
5. It just isn’t breakfast in the South without it
Sure, there is always sausage, bacon, and country ham… But any true southerner knows that even if they don’t properly appreciate livermush, their parents (or at least grandparents) sure did! My great grandparents used to make their own livermush, and passed the love of the food down to me. My favorite way to eat it is on a homemade biscuit with scrambled eggs and toast with jelly on the side!
Part of what makes up a culture is our cuisine, because food is so closely attached to memories and experiences. The smell or taste of a food can take us back home, across the world, or even back in time to sharing a meal with loved ones.
I firmly believe that even if one does not like a food, they shouldn’t insult it, because to do so would be insulting one’s culture and one’s taste. I realize that many people, even in the south, might not enjoy this food as much as I do, and that’s quite alright. For me, I’m so thankful that I don’t have to make my own livermush like my great grandparents did, but I’m even more grateful that they have passed the love of this traditional, old southern dish down to me.
Making someone food is a way of showing your love to those you care about, and I am honored to share my experiences of love with others. I invite everyone to visit the Livermush Festivals at least once. Who knows? You may find that you love it as much as I do!