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.