Learning to like liver

Adults like strange things — smelly cheese, strong drinks, dull movies. They like liver. Despite the obvious: It's awful.

As kids we accepted such odd tastes. One day, we too would be drawn to smelly cheese, dull movies and liver. And while our parents never encouraged a precocious attitude toward drink, they insisted we partake, underage, in liver.

I did. And didn't complain. But I didn't like it.

I've since tried. At least once. It was at a party, in my honor. The hostess — and cook — was my mother-in-law-to-be. One bite nearly scotched the whole deal.

So I took interest when I heard chef April Bloomfield say, during a radio interview, that the scent of liver makes her weak in the knees. In the good way.

It made me curious in the taste buds.

I looked up Bloomfield's book, "A girl and her pig," and noted on the cover the girl, looking serene, and the pig, draped over her shoulders, looking dead.

I followed the instructions, finding encouragement in old friends like garlic and shallots and port. I spread the chunky pate across a thick slice of grilled bread and bit. It was good, in an earthy, hearty, gutsy kind of way. A way that made me feel, if not weak-kneed, adult.

Lively liver

Makes: 4 toasts

Ingredients:

About ¼ cup olive oil, plus a bit

¼ cup finely chopped shallots

1 clove garlic, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons each: dry Madeira, ruby port

½ pound chicken livers, trimmed, separated into lobes

Flaky sea salt and freshly ground pepper

A few sprigs flat-leaf parsley, chopped

4 thick slices crusty bread

Brown:

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