Donna O'Donnell Figurski's Blog

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TidBits About Donna #37 Hold the Liver and the Onions, PLEASE!

Hold the Liver and the Onions, please. That’s what I would have said to my mother when I was only about thirteen-years-old … if I had even known the phrase or had the savvy enough to say it. But, no use, it wouldn’t have done any good.

Who likes liver and onions anyway? Well, I suppose there are some brave souls out there – somewhere- who like it – or why would that combination even be around?

It’s NOT the onions! I love onions. It’s the liver that I abhor. I mean I really don’t have anything against liver … except that it sounds gross and tastes terrible. I rate it right up there on the scale of hate with kidneys,  tongue, and pig’s feet, which I have never had and plan to keep it that way.

But, one fateful night, my mother made liver and onions for dinner. The house reeked! She had never prepared it before; and I have no idea where she got that idea, but it was not one of her best.

My family gathered at the table with inquisitive and wary eyes. “You’ll like it,” she told us.” “I doubt that,” I thought. And by the dubious looks on the faces of my siblings, I was not alone. All except for my newly-born sister, San (Suzanne), Judy (11), Jackie (John) (9), and Mark (6) stared right along with me at the brown blob with slimy white worms draped over it. I vowed that that concoction would not pass my lips and I clamped my mouth shut. But, before I did, I proclaimed the same … and the battle lines were drawn.

I suppose my mother made a vow too, and her vow was in direct contradiction to mine. You will eat your liver and onions or go to bed hungry. It’s a common refrain of mothers eternal. (Not the liver and onion part – just the You will eat your ________ or go to bed hungry. Slot in whatever food you hated.) They are words of wisdom passed down from generation to generation – from mother to mother to mother – endlessly. Be honest! I bet you have some of your own motherisms you could add to this blog. Remember – eat all of your food because there are children starving in _______. Fill in the blank. I never understood how my eating my unwanted food would help children on the other side of the world. Actually I still  don’t, but I would gladly have given them my liver and onions and I would have welcomed going to bed hungry to spare the insult of liver and onions.

When my mother’s tactic did not work, she raised her battle cry to, “You will not leave the table until you finish your dinner. After all she had  spent good money and time preparing it – with love- for us. Didn’t she know I had homework to do – a test in math, English, science, reading, and geography in the morning? Did she want me to fail? Well, I tried. She saw right through my earnestness.

So I did the next best thing. I rolled my food around  my plate trying to make it look like less – trying to make it look like I had eaten it. I accidentally, (yeah right) dropped a few choice pieces under the table. It joined several pieces that my siblings accidentally dropped, too. Why didn’t we have a dog?

We sat! And we sat! It seemed like hours. It probably was. I realized that I had lost the skirmish. I tentatively put a piece of liver and onions in my mouth. I bet you are thinking that I saw the light and discovered the wonderful experience of L&O. but, NO, as I expected, I hated it. It was beyond the hate scale of 10. I did the only think left to do, I swallowed each piece … WHOLE – like a pill. It was bitter medicine. But my mission now was to clear my plate so I could be released  from the table. My siblings stared at me. Probably waiting for me to keel over. Liver and onions is not edible for children. No child should be required to eat it. It’s in the realm of  torture. But, I ate it. As I swallowed the last piece, my mother sighed and said, “Put your plates in the sink.” My siblings dashed to the sink. I gaped at my mother. Not Fair!  It couldn’t be true … but it was! Who ever said life was fair?

PS. I have NEVER ever, allowed liver and onions to pass my lips since.

(Clipart compliments of


June 24, 2011 - Posted by | Anything Writing, TidBits About Donna | , ,


  1. You are too funny.

    Comment by How Pau | June 24, 2011 | Reply

    • Well … have you ever had liver and onions? If you have, you will understand. If you haven’t, I don’t suggest trying to understand. It’s simply not worth it.

      Comment by donnaodonnellfigurski | June 24, 2011 | Reply

  2. OMG! I remember too, when Mother would make liver & onions when I was a teenager; you’re right, it stunk up the whole house. I always was able to finagle a dinner invitation from my friend Sue Bowman’s Mom on that night, and I always got out of eating that stuff. I couldn’t even stand to smell it, let alone eat it. I mean, how in the heck can anyone think liver could be good for you, when its functions in the body as a filter, hmm… and what is collected in filters I ask?

    For me as a tot, the most despised thing was brussel sprouts! I love them now, but remember sitting at the table for hours before being sent to my room for my refusals to eat them. It was summer, and I had but to look out the window to see Carolyn Zebar outside playing, and how I longed to go; but it was certainly worth a night in my room not to have to eat brussel sprouts. For Mark, it was cauliflower.

    Comment by Sanner | June 25, 2011 | Reply

    • See what I mean? Everyone can slot in their most hated food into the sentence – You will eat your ________ or go to bed hungry.
      brussel sprouts, cauliflower, milk. The list is endless.

      I’d even venture to guess that for every food on this planet at least one person abhors it.

      Comment by donnaodonnellfigurski | June 25, 2011 | Reply

      • I can’t believe she made it again.

        Comment by Donna | June 25, 2011

  3. My father likes liver and onions. BUT when he made them, they were not slimey at all. And he made the onions in an extra frying pan with apples, which was just gorgeous. We could always choose what to eat and together with mashed potatoes those apples with onions are really delicious (although maybe a bit slimey).

    Poor you – swallowing liver seems like a horrible experience!

    Comment by betty | June 25, 2011 | Reply

  4. My high school friend, Dorothy/Kelly said: “Don’t you know that liver is GREAT for YOU…it’s got LOTS of IRON!!!”

    I answer, Of course, I know. My mother made sure I knew. BUT, if I need iron so badly, I will take it in a little gel cap.

    Comment by donnaodonnellfigurski | August 18, 2011 | Reply

  5. I am still puzzled by how liver can be good for one, when it is considered the filter in your body? Food for thought!

    Comment by Sanner | August 19, 2011 | Reply

  6. San, I agree. I don’t favor eating liver as it is the body’s filter — and it tastes miserable! But you can’t live without it. Besides the benefits of IRON that my friend Dorothy/Kelly mentioned, it has so many essential functions for the body. I located a very informative site this morning. It’s worth the read.

    Comment by Donna | August 19, 2011 | Reply

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