Kook's Korner: Liver Soupy

There’s so much wrong about this recipe, I hardly know where to begin. It’s from The Mike Douglas Cookbook, which in itself is enough to give one pause. I have a lot of peculiar celebrity cookbooks in my collection (my favorite: Candy Hits by ZaSu Pitts, which includes cookie recipes involving breakfast cereals and instructions for how to conduct a taffy pull), and this one has got to be the weirdest. It collects recipes, each with a title more terrifying than the next, from many of the guests of The Mike Douglas Show, a popular daytime talk show of the Sixties and Seventies. My favorite might be “Mrs. Scott Carpenter’s Taco Pie,” which comes immediately after an entire page of recipes for stuffed cabbage, each submitted by a different celeb guest. Apparently, rather than piss off Kaye Ballard by publishing Zsa Zsa Gabor’s cabbage recipe instead of her own, Mike published all the stuffed cabbage recipes submitted.

For starters, the name of this recipe is not only disgusting, it’s inaccurate. This isn’t a recipe for liver soup; Mr. Sales (a comedian and kids-show host of television’s early era) has merely named a standard-issue liver-and-onions recipe after himself. I suppose one can argue that Soupy’s inclusion of fried peppers makes his version different, but my mother has been doing that for a half-century.

Then there’s that first line in the cooking instructions: “Remove membrane from liver.” I actually like liver, but an instruction like that is enough to put me off it for a whole year. I don’t want to think about membranes when I’m eating, and that’s all I’d be thinking about while dining on this particular dish. Ugh.

Soupy Sales’s Liver Soupy

1 lb calves’ liver, ¼ inch thick ¼ cup olive oil 2 green peppers, cut into 1/4 inch strips 1 cup onion slices, separated into rings ¼ teaspoon thyme ½ teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon pepper ¼ cup white wine

Remove membrane from liver. Cut into one-inch squares. Sauté in olive oil in frying pan three or four minutes on each side. Remove to a heated serving platter.

In same pan, sauté peppers until tender; add onions and seasonings and continue cooking until lightly browned, stirring frequently. Add wine. Stir to combine. Top liver with peppers and onions.

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