Glorious lamb and a story along those lines
“It’s 9 a.m. on a Sunday, and my bathrobe and hair already reek of garam masala — burnt garam masala, to be exact. Who’d have known that the key to this Indian-Pakistani recipe for lamb biryani would be the French cooking mantra of mise-en-place? Or that the minute it takes for the pile of spices to get “aromatic” in hot oil is not nearly long enough to both measure and photograph them before they turn to ashes?…”
I wrote a story for NPR’s Kitchen Window about our home group’s little experiment with lamb: Lamb for Four Sundays, Four Ways. You can read it here, along with the four recipes we used, all of which are prime material for an Easter or spring feast.
But I wanted to continue to conversation about lamb. I find the meat can be as controversial as it is delicious (just see the comments on the story). I am reminded of the scene in How to Lose a Guy in 10 days in which Kate Hudson’s character sentimentally sings “Mary had a little lamb” before feigning to be repulsed by the rack of lamb before her. (Anyone else think of that?)
I truly do love the taste of lamb, and am an unabashed carnivore. But the flip-side to being closer to the source of your food is often facing the way it becomes food. Though I have yet to pet a lamb that ends up on my plate, per se, Scott (whose parents provided the lamb) did hesitantly show me pictures of the precious babes after he visited his parents’ farm last week. They were cute. Really cute, and fluffy. And the thought that we had eaten one of them a couple weeks prior was a bit weird, but not necessarily unsettling. (I mean, it tasted really good — as good as they were fluffy, I’ll say.)
I don’t have any especially profound thoughts on the topic right now, but I did enjoy a recent post by Hank Shaw, the game cookbook author and writer, about the Imperative of Protein (http://honest-food.net/2013/01/28/the-imperative-of-protein/) and what it takes to put it on your plate — even if you’re just buying it at the market.
On that note, is anyone cooking with lamb this Passover or Easter week? Do share your recipes and plans! We will be fortunate to join our friends with the lamb-loaded parents again for Easter Sunday. Yes, we’re having lamb. And I’m bringing one of my favorite Easter side dishes, a saffron-infused couscous with pine nuts (recipe from Bon Appetit: http://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/2009/04/saffron_scented_couscous_with_pine_nuts). For more lamb inspiration, check out the story at NPR.
Happy Easter week!