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Phil & Mel In The Morning

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People either love it or hate it. Folks in Cleveland County love liver mush so much, they celebrate it with a festival every fall. The 29th annual Mush, Music & Mutts Festival is this Saturday from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM in uptown Shelby. It’s also known as the Official Fall Liver Mush Festival of North Carolina.

Getting past the name and list of ingredients is half the battle, but it’s worth the fight. I think liver mush is best described as a firm loaf of sausage pudding made with pork liver, head parts, and cornmeal. Mmm, head parts. Sounds good, doesn’t it? I love it served with a couple of eggs over-easy. It’s old fashioned comfort food that still has a loyal following. My fellow Pennsylvanians will find it similar to scrapple.

The making of liver mush has been a tradition for decades in Shelby, where two companies, Jenkins Foods and Mack’s Liver Mush and Meat Co., still produce it with pride. It was Mack’s that started the festival in 1985.

You’ll have plenty of opportunities to enjoy a liver mush sandwich at the festival. They’re only a $1 each, so get two. I recommend trying one with mustard, and another with grape jelly. Trust me.

The event offers more than just the liver mush recipe and eating contests. Bring your pooch because Mush, Music & Mutts has been recognized by travel site BringFido.com as one of the 10 Best Pet-Friendly Fall Festivals of 2019. You won’t want to miss the pet parade and costume contest. And this year’s headlining musical acts are Cane Mill Road, Rissi Palmer, and the impressive Jake HaldenVang, who’s currently a contestant on NBC’s The Voice.