Liver Dumpling Soup

immigration to the USA and liver dumpling soup

Bertha M. Wood explores the secrets of health and happiness in her 1922 treatise Foods of the Foreign-Born in Relation to Health. In this unique work, Wood, an American dietitian who studied immigrant cuisine, looks at the foods enjoyed by Mexican, Portuguese, Italian, Hungarian, Turkish, Jewish and Syrian immigrant families in an attempt to discern the foods responsible for these people’s good health.

Wood devotes a large section of the book dissecting the diets of “Poles and other Slavic peoples.” “The Polish children and those of the other Slavic peoples come from a sturdy race,” she writes, “Upon arrival in this country they have round, well-shaped heads, rosy cheek, and strong bodies. With their kerchiefs over their heads they make fascinating pictures of health.”

Wood presents Polish liver dumpling soup as one of the more nutritious dishes enjoyed by Slavic families in the United States. Here’s a recipe — apt perhaps to make for rosy cheeks — from the 1922 cookbook The Art of German Cooking and Baking.

Liver-Dumpling Soup

(Quantity for 6 Persons)

1/4 lb. of chopped calf’s liver
1 tsp. butter
A little grated onion
1 tsp. finely chopped parsley
5 tbsps grated rolls
2 eggs
1 tsp. salt, (scant)
1 pinch nutmeg

Preparation: The butter is stirred and liver, yolk of eggs, salt, parsley, onion, nutmeg and roll crumbs added. The whites of eggs are beaten to a froth and stirred into the mass, then small dumplings are formed. When the bouillon comes to a boil, put dumplings in and boil 1/4 hour. The soup should be served at once.


Baumgarthuber, Christine. Fermented Foods: The History and Science of a Microbiological Wonder. Reaktion Books, 2021.

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