By Brian Lichorowic
A quote from a popular movie (“My Big Fat Greek Wedding”) says it all. “What Do You Mean He Don’t Eat No Meat? That’s Okay, I make Lamb”
Lamb—the most misunderstood red meat. Fans of culinaria understand that opinions on lamb never reside in a gray area – either you love it or you hate it. For those that love it, I mean really love it, it ignites a true passion, pride and heritage. It’s something that as the weather turns cold it gains in popularity. Lamb is the traditional dish of 15 million ethnic Americans – Muslims and Christians of all denominations, specifically the Irish and the Greeks.
Spring lamb remained a mainstay on the Sunday menu and during holidays at my family’s inn, located in New York, when I was growing up. Set menu: roast pork, ham and lamb. Roast leg of lamb with gravy and vegetables. Finished and plated with this silly spiced apple and parsley garnish. We served ungodly amounts of it, plating over 1,200 dinners on an average Sunday, to busloads of hungry old ladies, one after another. They would eat everything on their plates and snag the sugar bowls and salt and pepper shakers with them on the way out. I guess it was a sign of epicureal satisfaction. Then we’d have the occasional rogue, “blue hair” swagger back into the kitchen with a 20-gallon shopping bag in hand asking nicely for the leftover leg bones for later. She’d snag another sugar bowl as she left the kitchen.
Some cultures revere lamb the same way we do a large, succulent Maine lobster – as a primal treat only to be consumed at a time of celebration or when the urge hits and I’ve got a couple hundred bucks burning a hole in my pocket. Sometimes just spying the guy with the lobster tent at Gilberts Corner in the summer will do the trick!