Stewardship Resource

Let's Give the Pastor Some Liver

Humor  Humor
  • Author: Mildred Armstrong Kalish was born 1922, Garrison, IA - influenced by the Great Depression and by the self-reliance and work ethic of her mother's parents.
  • Updated: 07/23/2008
  • ISBN: 978-0-553-38424-6
  • Copyright: Mildred Armstrong Kalish, A Bantam Book

During the Great Depression, farmers would often give their pastors food from their farms. This is a story of how one pastor received an abundant supply of pork liver.

Let's Give the Pastor Some Liver

In the book, Little Heathens by Mildred Armstrong Kalish, the author tells a humourous story about growing up during the Great Depression.  In a chapter about farm food, she describes how the farmers would butcher their animals and make frugal use of all parts.  However, the challenge was what to do with too muchliver.  The following excerpt is a childhood memory regarding making good use of the "liver."

She writes: "We loved all cuts of meat, tenderloin, chops, ham, and sausage, but we didn't like pork liver. We didn't like its mahogany color, we didn't like its texture, we didn't like its taste, and we didn't like its size. So we consumed the fried slices relucڸtantly and with loud complaints. It turned out that even adults could get too much liver.

"In those days, pastors were poorly paid in money and, to suppleڸment those meager salaries, parishioners took it upon themselves to contribute such items as apples, pies, cakes, and dressed chickڸens. "So it is not surprising that sometimes the pig liver, which was so large that it filled a medium-sized dishpan, would be transڸported to the parsonage of the Methodist church in Garrison. The delivery usually occurred on a Saturday night when farmers came to town to do their weekly trading.

"I remember one November Sunday when the reverend, a bachelor, trying to restrain a sly smile, preceded the sermon by thanking the memڸbers of the congregation for their generosity in providing him with a bounteous supply of meat for his table. He reported that when he had awakened that morning he had found five dishpans full of liver on his back porch.

"A guilty giggle rippled through the assembled group over his announcement.

"Later, some of us entertained ourselves envisioning the good reverend, on his knees, offering his retiring prayer that evening: "Dear God, thank you for your infinite wisdom in creating the pig, not with four, not with three, not with two, but with one liver. Amen:"

Little Heathens: Hard Times and High Spirits on an Iowa Farm During the Great Depression, Mildred Armstrong Kalish, A Bantam Book, 2007

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