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« Venus and Mars | Main | Family tradition »

Jun 22, 2012


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Come over for breakfast. I'll fry up some Neese's with eggs over easy. And you call yourself a Southern boy!

Billy Jones

Seriously, you've never had Neese's Liver Pudding?

Ian McDowell

I've had Neese's Liver Pudding (and liked it) and Scrapple (and liked it). A good friend, who used to manage the Record Exchange on Tate Street (she's now the curator of the U.S.S. Monitor, go Anna!)swears by Charlotte's livermush and swears it's similar but not quite the same thing.

Billy Jones

Jones Sausage Company down in the Eastern part of the state also sells their brand of liver mush.


Livermush is awesome! I was raised on livermush. Panfried in flour with A-1 sauce is my favorite way to go. Or with eggs. You can't ruin it. Scrapple from Pennsylvania is a northern version that should also be tried.


As a native of the southern NC foothills mentioned in the article, my family had livermush very often. And not just for breakfast.

The stuff was easy for kids to handle and anyone less kitchen-oriented to cut and cook. It slices easier than cheese or bread.

I lived on that stuff until I moved a few hours away -- though still in NC -- and couldn't find it in a store.

It's not liver pudding or scrapple. I like scrapple, but not liver pudding.

I still love livermush, eat it when I go back to the foothills, and bring some back from the stores there.

Absolutely a unique part of NC.

Mad Dog


You're eating at the wrong restaurants, especially for breakfast. Although I don't like it, I usually find it on many menus around Lenoir, West Jefferson, Boone, etc. My spouse loves it!


Spouse will take exception with you. Liver Pudding is NOT livermush. Since I don't eat either one, I don't know the difference but she will stand her ground that they aren't the same. Y'all can fight that battle.



I had no idea the stuff was so local.

Bill Bush

Try a breakfast plate at Clarence's Friendly Lunch in Lenoir, on 321A that runs between Hudson and Lenoir. It is on Norwood Street if you're coming out of Lenoir going toward Hudson. Order it fried "extra crispy" for the best texture. I like it with eggs over medium. A two-slice serving plus thrree eggs, toast and coffee will hold you for hours. And Clarence will refill your coffee cup as long as you keep drinking it.

But my new favorite way is with mustard and a thick slice of onion on toasted bread. It is a great lunch sandwich. Of course, later on in the season, thick slices of homegrown tomato and some Duke's mayo replace the mustard.

When Grandma Lucy went to the doctor once, Uncle Vernon told her that if they X-rayed her, he wanted them to be sure to write down the livermush recipe, since she had told him she didn't remember what she used to put in it. She was not one to use a written recipe.

Mad Dog

"Try a breakfast plate at Clarence's Friendly Lunch in Lenoir, on 321A that runs between Hudson and Lenoir."-Bill Bush

Sounds like you've been to Caldwell County once or twice. Spouse graduated from Gamewell-Collettsville High School, grew up in Gamewell.


PS-Any kin to Rooster?


My maternal ancestors were all German farmers in Pennsylvania. The grandparents on that side thought braunschweiger was a treat. It's much like liver mush, or, as they called it, liverwurst.

Can't say that I'm in a hurry to try some again, being of the firm opinion that food that's comprised of finely ground animal parts needs to be purchased at a very trustworthy butcher.

Now, cornmeal mush, with maple syrup, that's different. If you call it polenta, you can charge more.

Ed Cone

My parents both went to college near Philadelphia. As I headed off to the same region, they warned me about scrapple.

I hated liver as a kid -- they served it as school lunch when I was a first-grader in England, and it was torture -- but began eating it as a young adult as chopped liver and pate. A breakthrough moment came at a family dinner in Paris, c. 1990, when I was served a tiny little calf's liver as an amuse-bouche. This was another milestone. Earlier this year I ordered liver for lunch at Table 16 -- thought I blogged it, but can't find it -- and am now ready for my livermush. Which, as my search for that recent lunch post revealed, has been mentioned here at least a couple of times before.

Bill Bush

@Mad Dog -- Yes, Caldwell is the ancestral home county. I graduated from Hudson High School in 1966, having lived there for only that one year, but grew up in Fontana in the Smokies.

Rooster is in the family. My Dad knew him, but not me.

Interesting that this topic brings out so much commentary. Livermush (country pate') may be in for a "vival". I don't think it has ever had the "re" outside our region. And note the cornmeal mush mention above. My mom said she liked that for breakfast during childhood 90+ years ago.

Billy Jones

MD, It's been my experience that Liver Pudding, Liver Mush and Scrapple all vary from town to town. I suspect the meat to corn ratios vary a lot. Growing up in Greensboro it was always Neese's Liver Pudding and I first ate Scrapple in the Quaker areas of Western Pennsylvania. Only in recent years do I remember Neese's making Scrapple.

My mother's family was German-Dutch Quakers (Hartsoe) who came to the Carolina Hills (Ashe County) before the King of England allowed settlement there but Scrapple was something I never tried until I was grown. Daddy's side (Jones) was run away indentured servants of Welsh and possibly English blood who escaped from Jamestown and Williamsburg. Both sides of the family ate various forms of cornmeal mush, liver pudding and liver mush and used the names interchangeably. My grandparents used to make their own.

Now who among you has tasted chocolate gravy or egg butter (vanilla gravy) on hot homemade biscuits?

Billy Jones

O'Henry Restaurant on Summit Ave and Bernie's on East Bessemer both serve Neese's Liver Pudding.

Mad Dog

To Bill & Billy-Y'all are making me pine for the foothills. Bill has Caldwell County covered and now Billy brings up Ashe County. Built a little hide away up there in '04 near highway 163 and the South Fork of the New River. Only been up once since Christmas but hope to squeeze in some time real soon. Maybe we should all get together and sing a chorus of "It's a Small World After All."



anything made up by the words "liver" and "mush" needs to be flushed.

Bill Bush

Time for a real shocker: stuffed pig stomach! Dee-lish!!!!! Wife's family is Pennsylvania-Dutch, and her grandmother used to get a stomach at the Lancaster Farmers' Market, stuff with sausage and cubed potatoes, and bake. The stomach becomes a bacon-like crisp skin around the stuffing, and it slices nicely if the stuffing is firm enough. Quite good!

Sean, just because it rhymes doesn't make it true. Liver is a food demanding the utmost care in preparation, which means much of what is served isn't good. My own mother made shoel-leather out of it sometimes, and I never really liked it until I learned to do smothered style with calves liver. Try easing yourself into it with some fried chicken livers, especially with a good gravy. Of course, tastes vary. I cannot eat one type of garlic (the "elephant" giant variety), and I have repeatedly found escargot to taste like dirt, even when those with me found it good. So I just don't even bother with it anymore.

Now, step away from the skillet.

Ed Cone

The article points to the probable common ancestry of livermush and scrapple. The North Carolina staple most likely came south from Pennsylvania on the old Wagon Road that brought so many settlers to this (future) state in the 18th Century.

Here's a regional delicacy that (as far as I know) did not make the journey south: Potato filling.

Tony Wilkins

The Travel Channel's Andrew Zimmern (Bizarre Foods) show yesterday was in Shelby, NC at the Liver Mush Festival.

Showed them sawing a pig's head in half to cook and add to the ingredients.

Zimmern liked it on a sandwich with grape jelly.

Sure does taste good fried, on a sandwich, with mayonnaise and black pepper.


call me conservative, but i'll take peanut butter with my jelly. wtf.

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