Cast Iron Meat Grinder

meat grinder laying flat on table
meat grinder laying flat on table

     Picture this: a seven year old girl sits in the kitchen corner and plugs her nose because her mom and brother are using an old meat grinder to make a dish for the holiest holiday of the year. Underneath the table, a dog is covered in chicken livers, and in the kitchen entrance, a father stands and watches over the whole scene. This was the first memory I have of my family’s Rosh Hashanah tradition. It may seem odd, but it has been an incredibly important tradition for many generations. Ever since my dad’s great aunt Lottie came to America from Russia around 1920, my family has been making chopped liver with the old crank meat grinder that she used. The mixture of onions, hard-boiled eggs, and chicken livers create a smell unlike any other, but nobody in my family seems to mind. While I don’t love the taste or smell of chopped liver, everyone in my family loves it almost as much as they loved Lottie.
     I never got to know my great grand aunt because she passed away a decade before I was born, but from talking to my dad and his aunt, I learned that family was her top priority. She taught her family how to use the grinder to make chopped liver on Rosh Hashanah, and their dog - just like mine - would stand under the kitchen table and wait for scraps. This process has always accomplished more than just making the dish; it brings our family closer together. My great grand aunt Lottie’s chopped liver recipe has been a longstanding tradition, but more significantly, her love and priority of family has been passed through the generations, and I will continue to do the same. 

Place(s): Russia, Rochester New York
Year: 1920

– Halle Rogoff

Relationship:  Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more