The other day I grilled a butterflied leg of lamb for dinner. I served it with sweet potato fries and buttered French green beans. I take my lamb very seriously and take great pleasure in its preparation. I usually make a paste of Kalamata olives, lemon zest, fruity olive oil, fresh garlic, rosemary, dried figs, cherry preserves and port. If time allows, I marinate the lamb for several hours and bring it to room temperature just before placing it on the grill. After it has been grilled to a perfect medium rare, we must exercise great restraint as we allow the meat to rest for a full 20 minutes to allow the juices to redistribute. It is so excruciating to wait as the smell travels throughout the house and we satisfy ourselves with wine until the 20 minutes are up. It is truly one of our favorite meals.
So, I ran into an acquaintance at the market and we got to talking about what the other had for dinner, what the other was making for dinner.... Since we had just enjoyed the lamb the previous night, I rattled off my menu but was stopped mid-dish.
"You eat lamb? But they're so cute." As I listen to her "cute" commentary, I was getting the sense that this conversation was not going well.
"Yes, we love lamb." In my head, I started to picture adorable lambs adorning baby blankets and nursery motifs. I almost felt like a monster.
"I just don't think that I can eat something knowing that at one time it was such an adorable animal."
I needed to defend my tastes.... "You eat chicken, right?"
" Yeah, chicken, fish, some pork and beef...but mostly chicken and fish."
"So, let me get this straight...you don't eat cute animals. Therefore, chicken and fish...not so cute?"
"Well....no, I wouldn't say that, but I feel more comfortable staying away from lamb, veal, suckling pig, baby quail....you know" (The Cute Pack of the meat world)
"Isn't that some sort of discrimination? Don't you feel weird knowing that you are eating something based on looks? Does your husband know that you think this way????" I added a little laugh at the end to lighten things up, but I was totally serious.
The shallow eater shrugged her shoulders, giggled, made some excuse about being late and took off. Then a thought popped in my head.... baby quail. I haven't had baby quail in FOREVER. I immediately headed over to the butcher.