Thursday, November 8, 2007

Lamb for Dinner

Today I went to the butcher shop across the street to buy a shoulder of lamb.

I had to stand in a short line. Ioannis, the butcher, was weighing a piece of meat for the man ahead of me. He weighs it first, to know how much to charge you, and then he trims it up for you, removing fat and skin, and chopping it if you like. Well, in the process of chopping, about an ounce of meat flew off the chopping block onto the floor. Naturally, Ioannis left it there. Until the customer said, “I’ll take it. Pick it up!”

Ioannis looked startled, but the man insisted, “Yes, put it with the rest!” He was paying for it, after all.

I couldn’t help myself; I shrugged and said aloud, “Why not? The wife won’t know!” with what I imagined was a sly smile.

Ioannis said nothing.

The customer just stared at me.

O judgment, where art thou fled? Where art thou, discretion? They’re wherever they always are; I just never have discovered their hideout.

I didn’t much care; I chuckled all the way home.

Then I turned on my oven and went to work. The secret of good lamb, ladies, is to stuff it with fresh garlic. Chop the garlic into small slivers or spears, poke holes in the lamb with a sharp knife, and insert the slice of garlic. Do this everywhere you can. The more you don’t like the rather strong taste of lamb, the more garlic you need. Then salt and pepper it well. Put a little water in the bottom of the baking pan. I turn my oven to the 200 mark, which is supposed to be just over 350 degrees Fahrenheit, but with this ancient oven is actually an unknown temperature by any measure. Takes about an hour an a half or more to be done, done meaning the meat is falling off the bones. I cover it with foil after the first hour.

Only way to do it better is over charcoal!