To Lamb Or Not To Lamb?

Yes….lamb. Funny thing lamb, some people love it and some people hate it. There is no in between. I, personally, grew up eating lamb but then again, I grew up in England where lamb  is revered more than beef (must be the whole Mad Cow thing.) We did not eat beef in my household, chicken, seafood and lamb was it. I did not have any issues with lamb at all and I ate everything my mother made. I do have to say that, overall, I am not a big meat eater and I can take it or leave it. But it seems that I did not have any issues with lamb until I came to the US.

Lamb is still a bit uncommon or unpopular here in the US. My parents (and many South Asians) used to buy goat or mutton rather than lamb. They find the lamb a bit strong here and the goat is more akin to what they find in India/Pakistan. Unfortunately, I am not a fan of goat or mutton either and I don’t know why (well, the smell and taste for starters.)

What happened to change my taste? I mean, I grew up eating lamb and well into my adult years too. Do our tastes change overnight? I was still eating mutton/goat when my mother prepared it here and I was an adult then. Recently, I became convinced that my dislike for lamb was only towards lamb that was raised in the US and not the spring lamb of the UK. I couldn’t get a hold of British lamb but Australian is available at Costco. That would do. I wanted to prove to myself that I really liked lamb and it was just this American stuff that was horrid. My husband likes lamb and my children don’t know the difference yet, to them meat is meat and meat is good. So, off I went to get a nice lamb leg from Costco, much to my husbands delight.

The lamb they sell at Costco is a nice, boneless, chunk of meat. It was way too big for us to eat at one sitting so I removed the fat and portioned it out. I decided to make a very famous lamb dish from the region of Kashmir, called rogan josh, that I had always wanted to make in the event I started to like lamb. Rogan Josh is another very popular take way dish in the UK and one other thing I didn’t eat growing up. The lamb was beautiful. I removed almost all the fat to get nice, pink pieces of boneless lamb.

The recipe I used is an adaptation of Anjum Anand’s and an Indian cookbook I have. I never tend to follow Indian recipes, I skim the list of ingredients and then make up my own method. It’s pretty safe to say that most Indian recipes are cooked in the same fashion and are open to improvisation. I will post the recipe of the Rogan Josh later but this post is about my lamb story.

I was pleasantly surprised how fresh the lamb was and how it didn’t smell. I was very excited, finally I was going to have the lamb of my childhood and I was going to love it again. I even made the whole dish without a pressure cooker’s help. I wanted the lamb to take its sweet time cooking and getting tender (two bloody hours!) by itself. The resulting dish was gorgeous. The masala was red, not as vibrant as in an authentic rogan josh since I was missing the special deghi chillies that make the dish fiery red, but rich enough in taste.  The lamb was beautifully tender and sat there succulent, bathed in the rich, ruby red sauce.

Then it was time to eat. My husband and children thoroughly enjoyed it. The rogan josh is not a spicy hot dish but a well flavoured, slow cooked dish so its layers of flavours are well pronounced. And then there was me. I took my first bite, it smelled great, spicy and sweet with all those caramelised onions. I chewed it, the meat rolling around in my mouth, then I tasted it….It was unmistakably LAMB. ARGH!!!!! I could smell it now, I could taste the fat, I could taste EVERYTHING I HATE ABOUT LAMB!!! My dreams were shattered. I did not like lamb. I could not stomach my own food. I ate the dry rice with the sautéed green beans I made as an accompaniment and fed all the lamb to my son.

I don’t know what it is with me the last few years. I have a very keen sense of smell and I literally will barf at the smell of something that disagrees with me. I have had issues with fish, shrimp, chicken, milk, butter and eggs. There is s store where I won’t buy their eggs because even though they are cage free etc, to me they smell fatty and chickeny! I cannot smell, let alone drink whole milk because I am now used to low fat. There are certain butters I cannot tolerate because of their fatty smell! Even certain kinds of shortbread that are made with pure butter. Its all a bit much but it turns my stomach. I cannot explain it.

I have been wondering if this extra keen sense of whatever it is has been triggered from having children or even from my RA. I don’t know, any ideas out there? I know when I was pregnant, my husband used to wash all the meat, I could not stand the smell. Even now, if my children have upset tummies and are vomiting, I can’t help them! My husband has to go in and help them out. I will barf myself.

I know, I know, I am weird, but I cannot help it. Really, if someone out there knows what it could be, please enlighten me! Until then, I shall leave you with a question, I know I cannot be the only one so, I want to know, what turns your stomach? And this question doesn’t apply to my sister Naureen, I already know your LONG list.


  1. I love lamb as such in UK as you probably know Goat is not that readily available but lamb is …

    But hey wheres the recipe 🙂 waiting for some nice yummy ones now ..

    you got me hooked on to your site ..


    • Yes, I grew up eating lamb in England but it’s an acquired taste here in the US. Goat is readily available and that’s what most Indian/Pakistanis use here. For some reason, I am not able to tolerate
      lamb at all. Seems funny since I ate it all the while I was in London.

  2. I can’t do the lamb either. Nor can Adnan. Though he swears he had the best lamp chops ever at La Shish in Michigan. At $25 a platter for 6 chops, they had better be good! I don’t know if they were good because they were charcoal grilled?

  3. I don’t think my smell problem is a medical concern, I think my sense of smell just has got a lot sharper over the years, what ever the reason. I hope you can find some answers to your smell issue though. It seems like it really affects your day to day life.

  4. I can’t take the smell of the raw lamb much but once cooked.. I love it! Husband is not a big fan of it. Now that you mentioned Rogan Josh i am craving for it.

    • That’s what I don’t understand, lamb was the only thing we really ate when I was growing up. I wonder what changed that I cannot stand the smell or the taste of it now. I so wanted to be able to eat it…makes a change from beef and chicken all the time. I cook it for my husband at least.

  5. I just love lamb. Growing up in America, it was a rare treat in my house. Living in England, and being married into an indian family, it is commonplace. Lamb is the only red meat they eat, but thats ok by me. I love it.
    I don’t know if there are too many foods that turn my stomach. I just love food, even if i dont want to eat something, I enjoy looking at people eating weird foods.
    *kisses* HH

    • Yes, that’s the red meat of choice in Indian households..mine too. All my family mainly eats mutton. I don’t care for that either so it’s so difficult sometimes to have a good dinner at their houses! I always pray that the biryani is at least chicken!

  6. My sense of smell has gotten more sensitive sine having kids, not so much with food but with other things. I cannot handle scented things any more (candles, air fresheners, fabric softener…) I get a headache after a few minutes of smelling it.

    • I always had an issue with strong smelling products like that. I used to avoid the perfume counters at the dept stores because of the splitting headaches I would and still get. I definitely know my sense of smell has got very acute the past few years. Bit of a problem really.

  7. Lamb totally turns my stomach. I also can’t stand to smell the Persian kabobs which is odd because I used to love them! But pregnancy completely took me to the other extreme and now I can’t go near them.

    I used to have a problem with vomit but I seem to be okay with it now. God knew what he was doing when he gave me a vomit-machine for a child… 🙂

    • Those kebabs give me turn too, especially the extra fatty ones. I still enjoy them but only if they don’t smell gnarly! I always scold my kids and tell them not to be picky but I honestly think I am worse than any one of them. Good thing they don’t read my blog!

  8. Oh my gosh, Nazneen! I have smell problems, too. They have plagued me for two years. I don’t think my problem is exactly like yours, though.( I have always had a “very good nose” my hubby likes to say, but I would not call it good anymore.) But….let’s discuss this awful thing. I have weird smells that can continue going on for days at a time. Some smells that used to be delicious I cannot stomach now. For example, sauteing onions and peppers sends me to the bedroom with a pillow over my head. The other day I picked some just forming seed heads off my basil plants and could only smell basil, very, very strong all the rest of the day. Then….there are some things I can’t smell at all any more such as my beloved cup of coffee in the early morning. Consequently, coffee doesn’t taste the way it used to. I really miss it. And…this may seem weird, but I can’t even smell my husband any more and I know that smell is a very big part of attachment. That’s not to say I am not extremely fond of my dear hubby now, just that I can’t smell him and I miss that.
    I can’t smell the new mown hay just up the road or the wet sagebrush just after a rainstorm. It’s so strange. Some things smell weird, unpleasant and different than they used to and some things I can’t smell at all. I hate it. We all know that smell and taste are inextricably intertwined so food is not so delicious now. I have had CT scans and two MRIs and there is no apparent reason for my problem. There are forums online with people with similar problems and it seems that NOBODY has ever found the answer. I believe taking medicines such as antibiotics and steroids have a part in this. I had extensive dental surgery in the year before my problem began and would not be at all surprised to find out that taking so many medicines caused it. I don’t think doctors or drug companies would readily admit any side effects, though.
    And…about the lamb. I never had lamb growing up. Later, as a adult, I thought I did not like it because of the smell. Then I tried some very thick grilled chops made by my British born ex brother in law and was hooked. Now we love to prepare braised lamb shanks, very slowly cooked with lots of vegetables. We buy only lamb raised on the Western Slope from a meat market in Grand Junction or from the area around Paonia or Hotchkiss. Do you think your lamb issue has anything to do with your “smell issue?” In other words, did the lamb thing start after the smell thing? Just this morning I remarked to a visitor from Denver that I am going to call a place in Denver that my husband found on the Internet. I’m not sure exactly what it’s called but it has to do with the University of Denver (not Colorado) on Monday and see if they can help me. Sometimes I think that I just have to “grin and bear it” because I will never resolve it. I have read about how the olfactory system works. Deep up inside the nose there is an area that processes smell molecules and has cilia that sound similar to cilia that we have in our ears. I think my “cilia” has been damaged and therefore does not send the correct signals to my brain. How’s that for self diagnosis?
    This is a very interesting and frustrating subject. Maybe other people have similar smell issues and could contribute some good information to the discussion.