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Thursday, November 02, 2006

The Symbolism of Liver

"According to the Roman poet Horace, the liver is the seat of the passions, particularly sensual love and anger. According to Suetonius, it is the center of the intelligence of the mind. Since the foie gras we eat comes from geese, it need not present us with any metaphysical problems - the stupidity of a 'silly goose', after all is proverbial - but it is true that consuming it provides a sensual, almost voluptuous pleasure.

. . . In the Sou-wen, the basis of all Chinese medicine, eating liver is supposed to engender strength and courage.

. . . Examination of the livers of sacrifices animals was a method used by Roman soothsayers to predict the future."

History of Food, Toussaint-Samat, Maguelonne, translated by Anthea Bell. Blackwell Publishers, Oxford UK, p. 433-4.

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