What's on the menu? Not nearly enough
And now let’s pause for a word from our sponsor – … -- and now back to the life and times of Annie Dear, transplant from the land down under.
You know when you get a hankering for something, and for whatever reason you don’t act upon it but it just won’t go away?
Well, I reached my hankering limit last week. What was I hankering for, I hear you cry? Fava beans – or broad beans as we would call them in the Land of Oz.
Try as I might, I just cannot find them in any grocery store I have frequented over the past 21 years, so like the veteran online shopper that I am, I actually found fresh fava beans. OK, OK, it did take a second mortgage on the house to procure them, but my gold-plated one pound of the little beauties landed on my doorstep – from Italy, I might add – looking fresh and green and fab.
It’s been so long since I’ve had them, I had to email my darling brother-in-law, D.A., for recipe help, but now I am very happily armed with the wherewithal to create broad bean heaven.
Now if I could only convince the butcher about cuts of lamb.
I know Americans aren’t lamb-crazy. But there is more to heaven and Earth than beef, pork, chicken and turkey. Lamb is fabulous. Australians and New Zealanders grew up on the stuff.
Whenever I’ve found lamb up here, it’s either (proudly) “corn fed from Wisconsin” at $118 per pound – er, thanks, New York City, but I’ll pass on that one, especially as back home at the time it was $11 per pound. Or de-boned legs. You don’t take the bone out of a leg of lamb – that’s pure sacrilege. Or, the latest, lamb shoulder chops. I’ve never heard of such a cut, and now I know why. Lamb shoulders are wonderful for roasting, but chops? Not so much.
So, I’ve looked imploringly at the butcher and have, I hope, hypnotized him into remembering “lamb loin chops.” Simply the best – when only the best will do – and isn’t that all the time (to pinch a tag-line from an old Dunhill commercial).
Let’s move right along. Taking Shakespeare to heart again, there’s also more to heaven and Earth than the generally boring types of cheese readily at hand. It’s a little like Mexican food to me. Don’t get me wrong, I like it now and again. But put it in a taco, an enchilada, a burrito – it doesn’t matter. It’s all the same just folded into a different shape. Or Italian food. Pasta is pasta is pasta.
What passes as cheddar here would have the Brits rioting. It’s one step removed from the rest of them – Colby, cheddar Jack, Monterey – boring, boring, boring. If you do happen upon a piece of brie, it never ripens and goes gooey like it should. Blue cheese is all Norwegian blue in different shapes.
Let’s live it up America – branch out and try something new.
After all, I can’t keep affording $18 a pound for fava beans!
Annie Dear lives in Lee’s Summit. Email her at email@example.com.