Monday, April 21, 2014

Party like the Medieval times

My favorite artwork in my childhood home depicted a Medieval wedding scene. The poster showed an entire village with a handful of weddings underway. A regal lady decked in white sat in a carriage on her way to the castle. Another couple was entering a church. But my favorite scene was toward the bottom of the poster and showed a Gypsy wedding.

A caravan was parked at the edge of town and colorfully dressed participants were roasting a pig on a spit. They looked like they were having the most fun to me. This image of community and a giant hunk of roasting meat has occupied my imagination all these years.

When my sister announced her engagement this Christmas, my first thought was that we needed to order a pig and roast it whole just like the poster. She agreed and my mother ran with the idea and ordered a rare-breed pig from an Iowa farmer. I can't wait for the celebration in June.

In the meantime, I dreamed of more meat-roasting festivities. Easter presented the perfect opportunity to buy a leg of lamb and invite friends over to partake. A week ago I started researching local Vermont farmers who were raising and selling lamb. I found the 3 1/2-pound half-leg of lamb that I was looking for at the Ayer Family Diversified Farm about 20 miles from where I live.

The farmers left the store, attached to the barn, unlocked so that I could pick up my lamb after work.  With only the light shining in from outside the window, I managed to find the freezer. Through the darkness I could hear animals trodding hay and breathing. Their nearness reminded me of biblical stories of thanksgiving and celebration associated with the slaughter of baby beasts. While many Bible stories don't make sense to me, these do. The death of one thing to nourish another. And the importance of amplifying the generosity of a young calf or lamb by generously sharing its meat with others.

I left with my lamb and spent the rest of the week plotting with a friend and soon-to-be dinner guest how best to prepare it. We settled on a simple preparation of garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper.

The carefully seasoned lamb went into the oven at noon on Easter. My guests and I cooked side dishes and drank wine while we waited for the meat to cook. A delicious smell of filled the room. When the lamb's outside was brown and inside still juicy, I sliced slabs from the bone and served. We toasted to friendship and spring — and then dug in.

When we disbanded hours later, all that was left was the bone.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Taste the world

I'm 29 today. Yes, that's 29 revolutions around the sun. The same number of years since I made my entrance into this world — tongue out, ready to taste it all, I'm told.

Here's documented evidence:

In that same spirit, I've been traveling to see and spend time with friends over the past few weekends, which also explains my absence from this blog.

There was a trip to Washington D.C. Although I missed the cherry blossoms by a week, I got to see my dear friends, Kevin and Harum, as well as the magnolias.

Then an overnight in Montreal with my friend Christine. We walked 10 miles through the city and ended the day eating cake in bed. 

Twenty-eight has not been all play either. It was also the year that I learned to stand on my own two hands.

I'm looking forward to 29 — to travel, friends and learning new things. Here's to passing go, and starting another revolution.