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Lamb lovers survey


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When my parents came to visit years ago I served a boneless, marinated leg of lamb done on the BBQ. Mother was a cook it to death mint jelly kinda gal. They loved it and about the 3rd bite asked what it was. Never could get them to try goat though. :wink:

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I think I've only actually eaten lamb twice and it was made in the same way by the same person both times. Marinated then grilled. I liked it a lot... can't say that I loved it, but I did enjoy it. Sometimes I see it in the grocery store and wonder what I could do with it. Sounds like a project to me.

It's funny... I didn't even try lamb until I was about 24. My mother says that she hates it ("It tastes like sheep smell.") and won't even think about eating it, much less cooking it. I'd be willing to bet that she hasn't tried it in 45 years.

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I never could fathom that bright green mint jelly - why anyone would put that in his or her mouth, much less why it was supposed to be good with lamb, was beyond me. However, I ran across a mint sauce in one of my cookbooks that showed me just what fresh mint, treated properly and mixed with the right ingredients, could do. That was a revelation, and it at last explained the origin of the bright green jelly idea. I wish I could remember where I found that sauce recipe...no doubt it's lurking somewhere in my bookshelves.

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
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My paternal grandfather refused to eat lamb or permit it in his house because of the western Range Wars.  The prolonged conflict over land use between cattlemen and sheep herders led to a strong prejudice against lamb in a lot of the western United States, and that still holds true in parts of the country.

Basically, cows are bigger than sheep. More yield of marketable meat.

That's the only reason I can think of that lamb is not more popluar amongst populous nations that have had vast stretches of grazing land.

Lamb and goat are more popular and common meats in countries with different conditions in which production has been more about local concerns rather than wide distribution of product and commerce.

Any hesitations about "gamy" flavours and so forth are only based upon the consequent meagre exposure of the marketplace (um, the supermarket) and habit.

A prime rib of beef is a wonderful thing. But so is braised lamb shoulder. And much nicer actally than braised beef blade.

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Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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It appears that the one pound per US citizen is fully represented on this thread. There are several "foods" that Americans generally are not fond of including squid, octopus, duck, etc.

Why do you think that is?

Martinis don't come from vodka and bacon don't come from turkeys!

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It appears that the one pound per US citizen is fully represented on this thread. There are several "foods" that Americans generally are not fond of including squid, octopus, duck, etc.

Why do you think that is?

I'd guess it's a combination of never having been exposed to it, at all - or properly done.

Case the first: I don't know many people who don't like duck, but I know a lot of people who've never had it. It isn't as common in supermarkets, and it's far more expensive in those markets that have it (as well as restaurants). The more frugal cooks and eaters are likely to leave it alone based on cost; the less adventuresome cooks and eaters are likely to leave it alone based on the "I dunno" factor.

Then there's the problem of having something done properly so you want to eat it again. I've eaten my share of octopus and squid, and the best I can say is "eh". I don't dislike them, but in the wrong hands (mine, and many restaurants') they're likely to be rubbery. Why bother? I'm sure I haven't had them properly prepared, but where I live it doesn't seem likely that I'll find them otherwise.

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
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When my parents came to visit years ago I served a boneless, marinated leg of lamb done on the BBQ. Mother was a cook it to death mint jelly kinda gal. They loved it and about the 3rd bite asked what it was. Never could get them to try goat though. :wink:

I have only had goat a very few times, but I really loved it. Haven't had the opportunity to cook with it, however--though I suspect I should be able to find it in a Mexican market around here somewhere.

Meanwhile, for some reason I have now flashed back to this one butcher shop in Boston's Haymarket, where my roommate of the time and I were regular customers back in the 1980s. One of the wise guys who ran the shop showed us a lovely lamb carcass hanging from a hook, waiting to be cut up. "A terrible thing happened to this lamb," Wise Guy intoned. We decided to take the bait--"Okay, what happened to it?" Wise Guy: "It died." I swear that line was funnier when actually standing in the middle of a meat locker staring at a lamb carcass. In any case, the lamb was quite delicious--glad those guys went into the meat biz instead of show biz. :laugh:

Edited by mizducky (log)
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[...]Then there's the problem of having something done properly so you want to eat it again.  I've eaten my share of octopus and squid, and the best I can say is "eh".  I don't dislike them, but in the wrong hands (mine, and many restaurants') they're likely to be rubbery.  Why bother?  I'm sure I haven't had them properly prepared, but where I live it doesn't seem likely that I'll find them otherwise.

Leave that to us. If you ever come out my way, I'll point you toward a place that will serve you squid and octopus so unrubbery, it'll really open your eyes. I'm sure other members in other locations could do the same for you, though perhaps not in Duluth.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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For what it's worth - if anybody happens to have a copy of MasterCook Deluxe #8 it includes the American Lamb Boards Cookbook. The book has not 1, not 10, not even 50 recipes - but 171 lamb recipes. I haven't tried any of them (didn't even know I had them until just now) but there's bound to be some ideas within.

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Lamb is great. In New Mexico, I had access to such fantastic lamb that I inadvertently went almost two years without cooking beef. It just never occurred to me.

And let us not forget the holy trinity: lamb-garlic-anchovies. :wub:

Most of my childhood was spent in sheep country - northwestern New Mexico. Mutton stew is very popular among the Navajo. I enjoy lamb, mutton (and just about every other meat I have eaten). Preparation is much more important than what animal is being consumed. My wife (whose father was in the cattle business in Kansas) isn't as fond of lamb as our children and I - but she eats it when I prepare it. A couple of years ago, our son fixed dinner for his girl friend. He broiled lamb chops and she was quite impressed. She had never tasted lamb before.

Any meat - any food - can be prepared well and poorly. I have had poorly done potatoes, chicken, eggs, coffee, ham, chili, steak - the list goes on and on. Fortunately, I have also had all of those foods when they were exquisitely prepared. Therefore, I have not written them off. Most of us had learned that most foods could be prepared well, and were worth eating long before we reached adulthood. Lamb isn't in that same group. So many of us have never tried it, or have never tasted well prepared lamb, that we give up on it before we get started. That is a loss!

Count me as one who LOVES lamb.

Edited by Milt (log)
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Count me as yet another lamb lover. I guess I must enjoy the gamey flavor, because I have yet to find a preparation that I dislike.

I only wish it were more available and less expensive.

Nikki Hershberger

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And they were oysters two.

Two oysters met two oysters

And they were oysters too.

Four oysters met a pint of milk

And they were oyster stew.

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Have you tried marinades?  I don't mean the kind that mask the flavor ("It's great! You can't taste the meat at all!  :laugh: ) but the kind that can draw out the gaminess.  My favorite is a nearly all-purpose marinade of oil, lemon juice, chopped onions, parsley, garlic, salt, pepper, thyme, probably a few other things I'm forgetting. Meat marinaded in that and then grilled as in kabobs, or skillet-fried and worked into a pilaf, never tastes gamey to me.  (I can post the recipe if it sounds appealing to you.)  It seems a shame to cook something you won't eat yourself, if there might be treatments you'd like.

I would really love it if you'd post the recipe. If I can get my paws on some pretty chops I'd definitely be open to trying it.

Farid did a garlicky and lemony marinade for kebabs and my nephews and nieces ate it up like crazy. It was typical American supermarket lamb. Everyone liked it in my family and they are not normally lamb eaters AT ALL.

My staple marinade is anchovy, garlic, rosemary, lemon zest, evoo, s&p all pounded together in a morter. Usually, I use a joint to roast and make sure that the good bits are shoved in the crevices. I marinate o/n, bring the meat to room temp and sear to brown the outside. I then place the joint in a LOW oven (60-80C) and cook for 5-7 hours. Yum!

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It appears that the one pound per US citizen is fully represented on this thread. There are several "foods" that Americans generally are not fond of including squid, octopus, duck, etc.

Why do you think that is?

Your question gave me pause: Exactly why are Americans sheepish about sheep?

But first, for our family at least (where the men are men and the sheep are nervous), a few seasonal favourites:

Easter: A traditional leg of roasted lamb, started in a very hot oven, then cooked long and low. For this we use the local Saltspring Island lamb. For the last few years though, we've been going to the home of Greco-Canadian friends where they spit roast two whole lambs, swabbing them with bunches of rosemary branches dipped in Eleni olive oil. The skin tears away in crispy shards; the offal renders pungent sausages.

Summer: Butterflied leg and rack chops (six per person for garnish) marinated in oil and rosemary, then grilled. Quite often Oregon or Washington lamb.

Autumn: Whole lamb shank osso buco of New Zealand lamb which is slightly less Jurrasic in dimension allowing two per serving over risotto Milanese.

Winter: Braised lamb shoulder Provençal or Greek shepherd style. Oz lamb works well.

But back to your question—here are some possible answers:

1. Historical reasons of territorial challenges with cattlemen;

2. Lamb is less efficient to mass produce (and therefore more expensive) than beef, pork, chicken and turkey. The last two have seen by far the largest per capita consumption growth over the past two decades in the U.S. The U.S. will produce about 7.8 million sheep and lambs this year versus about 105 million head of cattle and calf;

3. A Leg of lamb is more challenging to carve than, say, a sausage of miscellaneous pork by-products;

4. According to a USDA report, most Americans do not consume any lamb. Per capita lamb consumption was .8 lb. on a boneless equivalent in 2003. Overall U.S. consumer lamb preference is for high-value lamb legs, racks and loin cuts. In contrast, New Zealanders consume 50 pounds of lamb and mutton per year followed by Australians, who consume about 37 pounds annually. [Lamb and mutton are the principal meats in regions of North Africa, the Middle East, India and parts of Europe. The European Union claims to be the world’s largest consumer and the number one importer of lamb];

5. Lamb is considered a little déclassé by the chattering classes. U.S. lamb consumption peaked just after WWII, to be replaced in popularity by beef, then poultry;

6. It’s easier to order a beef burger than a lamb burger at most drive-thru windows;

7. Unlike revenge, mutton is not best eaten cold; and

8. That’s why God invented curry.

Edited by jamiemaw (log)

from the thinly veneered desk of:

Jamie Maw

Food Editor

Vancouver magazine

www.vancouvermagazine.com

Foodblog: In the Belly of the Feast - Eating BC

"Profumo profondo della mia carne"

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In the Magreb the lamb feeds on wild greens, the meat tastes better than even the French artisanal brands. If there is one country's food that the French wax poetic about it's Algeria. Even people who have not been back for decades will still talk about the food with delight.

In the States I've found the most affordable lamb at halal, Middle Eastern/North African stores. For obvious reasons of doing a higher turnover by catering to a lamb eating customer base.

A few of my lamb recipes and some recipes with ground meat (traditionally for lamb).

Harira with lamb.

White bean stew with lamb.

My use of spices is very light. I doubt that with most dishes people would be able to finger on which I used.

I can be reached via email chefzadi AT gmail DOT com

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For the last few years though, we've been going to the home of Greco-Canadian friends where they spit roast two whole lambs, swabbing them with bunches of rosemary branches dipped in Eleni olive oil. The skin tears away in crispy shards; the offal renders pungent sausages.

Oh, man, that brings tears to my eyes.... I had whole spit-roasted lamb several times in Saudi Arabia, and there is absolutely nothing like it. Great description, Jamie.

Chris Amirault

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[...]Then there's the problem of having something done properly so you want to eat it again.  I've eaten my share of octopus and squid, and the best I can say is "eh".  I don't dislike them, but in the wrong hands (mine, and many restaurants') they're likely to be rubbery.  Why bother?  I'm sure I haven't had them properly prepared, but where I live it doesn't seem likely that I'll find them otherwise.

Leave that to us. If you ever come out my way, I'll point you toward a place that will serve you squid and octopus so unrubbery, it'll really open your eyes. I'm sure other members in other locations could do the same for you, though perhaps not in Duluth.

I'm close to Duluth. My octopus is very unrubbery! I simmer it for at least an hour before I do anything else to it -- works like a charm.

As for lamb, we love it, and eat it about as often as any other kind of meat. But we invited our neighbors over once for rogan gosht. The wife of the couple had never eaten lamb, because it was too "cute". Oops. They both ended up eating it, though, and thought it was delicious (at least, that's what they said, and never turned down a subsequent invitation :wink: )

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Despite being a "recovering vegetarian", count me as another lamb lover. Thanks to Julie Sahni--I have been cooking my way through "Savoring India" and decided I wouldn't skip anything I could find the ingredients for. Now, I'd have to say that lamb is the only meat that I actually crave. And we do a lot of really good (according to our clientele) meats (the owner of our store would be the antithesis of vegetarian). But give me that lamby flavor over beef any day.

I am lucky enough to reside in Burlington, Vermont, where "eating local" is a way of life for many.  This year I was able to purchase a share of organic lamb (30 lbs.) from a local farm--very exciting.  Unlike others in this survey, I actually think that the fat of the lamb is the best part--lamb fat is sexy food!

Tell me more about this organic lamb! I'm just across the lake from you (hubby is at UVM), so we're neighbors. I usually buy my lamb from our local market on "Buy It Today or It Goes In The Trash" day. (No market named, but, unless this is a gimmick, I would be fired if this much of my stock was wasted out or so severly reduced.) I do know a fairly local farmer, but haven't made contact yet. Although we did do a wedding this summer that consisted almost entirely of grilled local baby lamb--pretty gutsy on the bride's part!

Julie Layne

"...a good little eater."

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Lamb was not served in my family growing up.  I tried to make it once, but did NOT like the results - IIRC, it was the "gaminess" factor.

But I do want to give it another try... can someone suggest a cut and prep/cooking method for a lamb newbie?  I definitely like my beef rare, so I imagine I would like lamb rare or medium rare.[...]

Yes, I agree that you'd want your lamb to be a little pink as well.

What makes lamb "gamy" is the fat. When my father cooks lamb, he cuts off all visible fat. The meat tastes great but has no gaminess whatsoever and could almost be mistaken for really good beef. My father usually makes uses the lamb in Indian dishes, where the masala (spices) gives it even more flavor.

However... what makes lamb tasty, suculent and juicy is the fat. I don't know about how your lamb is reared, but UK lamb tastes beautifully grassy.

If you like a less 'gamey' flavour, try milk fed lamb. For me it has less flavour, but if that's what floats your boat...

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QUOTE(Smithy @ Oct 20 2005, 12:48 AM

Here you go! I posted the recipe, with more narrative than it probably deserves, [url=http://recipes.egullet.org/recipes/r1437.html)

here on RecipeGullet.  This treatment really did change my mind about a lot of meats.  I hope you try it - and more, that you like the result!

Thanks so much for posting the recipe! This will definitely be on my menu sometime in the next two weeks. I think I'll go for the overnight marinade - just in case :laugh:

Believe me, I tied my shoes once, and it was an overrated experience - King Jaffe Joffer, ruler of Zamunda

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Mmm... legs of lamb were on special today so I grabbed 3. 2 of them got deboned and cut into meal sized portions with a big handfull of chunks at the end. The bones got slow roasted in the oven and stuck in the pressure cooker to make a phenomenal lamb stock:

gallery_18727_1966_18970.jpg

Tomorrow, the scraps of lamb are going to be cooked slowly in the stock along with some vegtables to form what should be a fantastic shepards pie.

PS: I am a guy.

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I love lamb, especially Indian, greek and all types of middle eastern preparations. Especially leg of lamb and lamb shank. Oh and lamb tagine and lamb chops are good too. :raz:

I just made some (cooked) lamb kibbeh the other day for the first time and enjoyed the leftovers tonight. Sooo good. I am about to buy a whole grassfed lamb for the chest freezer next week from a local farmer that I found through my CSA. Can't wait! It is so much more economical that way too and I'm cheap. :raz:

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Just found this thread, Jennifer! Good one! Count me among the lovers. Have you tallied the results of your survey yet? Quickly looking over the replies, it looked like more eG-ers love it than hate it.

Life is short; eat the cheese course first.

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Mine has been a gradual progression from hating lamb to loving it. Hated it well until I was in my teens, ate a fabulous seekh kabab in Dubai which made me reconsider, so I began eating it, but only in minced form. When I first started to cook, I'd make keema (mince) about two times a year. My husband doesn't eat lamb and I wouldn't want to eat it more often than that. My son didn't like it either. Then I got pregnant with my daughter and I had such craving for meat that I cooked lamb quite frequently. At this point, I still hadn't gotten around to eating or cooking lamb pieces. It's only in the past year that I've started eating pieces of lamb and I bought my first leg of lamb a couple of months ago. The first thing I made was a Cardamom lamb curry from Camellia Panjabi's 50 Great Curries of India. My 32-month-old daughter and I now give each other company when it comes to eating lamb. We eat it about once a month now and I can say I quite like it now.

So, there's my rather long-winded answer to your question.

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This is only a humble presentation of lamb, and much loved by the Brits. Sorry if it is obvious, and has been left out for such a reason, but my favourite is a simple roast of lamb, shoulder/leg, studded with garlic and rosemary, served with roast and boiled veggies, with a rich pan gravy and a little mint sauce.

So simple, so tasty. mint sauce cuts greasiness/gaminess.

If you've never tried it this way, give it a go. Don't know about the rest of the world, but this is the time of year in Northern Europe for eating lamb.

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