Carolinian Culinary Delights

While looking for lard at Food Lion for my Christmas baking (in the oven right now), I ran across a shelf (just above the bacon) with a row of products from Neese’s Sausage: country sausage, liver pudding, souse, and “c. loaf”. The first sounds tasty, but the second made me think that there are few words in the English language that sound worse together than ‘liver’ and ‘pudding’. I’ve had souse — once — and found it disgusting, and the name of c. loaf made no impression on me one way or the other, though the first ingredient is pork stomachs, so it’s not very high on my list of things to try. A look at the Neese’s Sausage website told me that they have other products, including liver mush. A fan site describes it as follows:

A southern American food composed of pig liver, head parts, and cornmeal. It is commonly spiced with pepper and sage. Considered a more tolerable version of scrapple, livermush was most likely brought south through the Appalachian mountains by German settlers from Philadelphia. Livermush is colloquially known as poor man’s or poor boy’s pâté.

It is a regional variation on Liver Pudding. It has a different recipe, including varied spices and seasonings. For some folks there is no substitute – only livermush in the morning will do.

Livermush is commonly prepared by cutting a slice off of a pre-prepared loaf and frying it with grease in a skillet until golden brown, much like you would SPAM. At breakfast liver mush would be served alongside grits and eggs. For lunch liver mush can be made into a sandwich with mayonnaise, either fried as above, or left cold. As liver mush’s popularity rises, it is appearing as a primary ingredient in dishes such as omelets and pizza.

As for the liver pudding, the official Neese’s site assures us that “it doesn’t taste like pudding and it doesn’t look like liver”. Perhaps I’ll try it some time. I’ve tried duck tongues and curried goat and sea cucumbers, so how bad can liver pudding be?

By the way, when I found the lard, it was only available in 8-pound buckets with handles. No problem: I bake a lot, and lard lasts for months in the refrigerator.

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