Last night, in Hamburg, the German and I invited our new friend Enno over for dinner. He said yes, we said great, and then we looked at the clock and thought ‘I hope he really likes peanut butter and honey on frozen tortillas, because that’s what he’s getting.’ I made a run downstairs to the corner store to find a banana to put on the peanut mantequilla-dilla, and found, to my utter surprise, that the corner store/greengrocer has a tiny little meat counter in the back room! The meat counter sold lamb, lamb, and chicken*. I bought some rosemary, some fresh garlic, a few lemons, artichokes, a huge sweet potato, and a small leg of lamb that turned out to be a shoulder. Hurrah, late night greengrocer/corner store! If you sell me these items at 7:30 Saturday evening, maybe I should quit bitching about how you’re not open on Sunday!
For dinner, we had:
Steamed artichokes, to tide us over until the real food,
Roasted limb of lamb with salt/pepper/rosemary crust,
Two heads fresh garlic and one head dried, baked in olive oil until dark gold (the dried garlic was better – sweeter, but I got the fresh garlic to stand up to lamb,)
Sweet potato mashed with butter, dried ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, lots of black pepper and some lemon juice (I was trying to go for North African flavors here in case the lamb was really strong, to make it seem as if the extra-muttony flavor was on purpose,)
Finely chopped parsley mixed with lemon zest for sprinkling on the lamb if it was too lamby.
I was obviously concerned about gaminess, thinking that the lamb may have taken a few wrong turns before ending up as back-room corner store surprise-butcher-counter lamb, but I needn’t have been: it was flavorful without being goaty, and relatively tender even though I roasted it at a hunger-induced 400 degrees. The other reason that I shouldn’t have worried: the German and Enno (also German,) were talking about strong cheeses while the lamb was in the oven. The German said that he liked cheeses that had a stink, and Enno agreed, saying that stinky cheese was better than boring cheese just like muttony lamb was better than bland.
I don’t know that I agree with either of them, but I appreciate their perspective. Note to self – don’t ask if the stronger-is-better concept translates to fish…
*the meat counter also sold chicken, but the system for paying for it involves passing money over the gore-speckled counter to the butcher, who makes change out of a relatively bloody cash register. Chicken isn’t that good to begin with; limp, chicken-smelling money puts me off the concept entirely.
Sometimes I miss Whole Foods, and sometimes I definitely don’t. My groceries, including back room lamb shoulder, cost eleven Euro and fed three hungry people. Check out this entry from the Whole Foods blog, where they describe flying food from Iceland to the US and call it sustainable. It’s called ‘The Tender Story of Icelandic Lamb.‘ I haven’t been able to stop laughing long enough to watch the attendant video, but let me know, won’t you, which of the following it inspired?
Today’s Game: This Video Makes Me Want to _______, Tenderly
how to play: watch the Tender Lamb video (above), then pick one or more of the following options as your response.
a.) watch the video again, but with Icelandic death metal drowning out the narration,
b.) Google pictures of lottery winners, compare their faces to those of the lamb farmers,
c.) slap someone in the face with wet chicken money,
d.) pay $18.99 per pound for lamb.