Off the keyboard of RE
Published on the Doomstead Diner on January 11, 2015
The Life Story of Baa-Baa, a Baby Lamb from Oz
One of the Humans came and took me away from Mom a few days later.
RE found some of my Ribs at Three Bears Food Warehouse in Alaska a little while later. I don’t know how long it took to make it across the Pacific Ocean in the Container Ship, because I was already dead. My ribs were worth $11.37 in FRNs when they got to Alaska though! I was honored to be worth so much!
After a few days in the General Electric Freezer in RE’s New Digs, in the New Year of 2015 RE cooked my Ribs in the Countertop Electric Toaster Oven made by Black & Decker and they came out like this.
I can tell the short story of my life now because part of me is now a part of RE. It was a great life and I am the first Baby Lamb Blogger now!
Discuss this article at the Diner Pantry inside the Diner
Back when I was a boy shortly after we returned from Brasil and Mom & Me started doing the cooking instead of the hired help from the Favelas we had to do these tasks there, I settled on a couple of cuts of meat which were my favorites.
For Steaks in those days, it was T-Bones. A nice thick cut, preferably cooked on the outdoor Hibachi BBQ I used for all my grilling in those days, but I was OK with it cooked in the Broiler of the oven too.
My Hibachi was a little Cast Iron charcoal job which I used for probably a decade of time, and I liked it better than the typical round charcoal grills of the era because it had a little window/slot which let you control to an extent how much air the charcoal got for burning, plus it had 4 levels you could set the grilling grates on, controlling the amount of heat sizzling your meat. It looked pretty much precisely like the one at right.
On that little Hibachi I BBQed regularly, besides the steaks I often cooked up chicken wings, which I usually left marinating in BBQ sauce overnight in the fridge. Wings are of course just loaded with fat so they are real juicy and tasty coming off the BBQ. My mom loved those wings.
For indoor cooking in the Broiler though, my absolute favorite was what mom called “Baby Lamb Chops”. This is kind of redundant, because Lamb is by definition a juvenile, its a Baby Sheep. What the Baby Lamb Chops I liked really were was Rib Chops, and when mom periodically would screw up while shopping she would buy Shoulder Chops, which were OK but just not as tasty and fat laden as the Rib Chops. Came in cheaper also, so on bargain eating days, the shoulder chops showed up. Interestingly in those days on the supermarket shelves you never saw Lamb Loin Chops, which seem to be the most often dropped in the meat freezers in the last few years in most Amerikan communities I have lived in.
When you do find the Ribs, it usually comes as a Rack of Lamb, not as individually pre-cut Chops. I occassionally will buy a Rack Of Lamb, and I experiment with some of the multitude of recipes you find on the net for cooking them also, but probably because of the nostalgia aspect, I still like the individual chops cut up and then just dropped under the broiler. No spices, no BBQ sauce, no charcoal flavoring from the grill, just the baby lamb chop.
So anyhow, shopping at 3 Bears meat department back in the last days of 2014, there was a package of Baby Lamb Chops straight from Australia on the shelf, the package you see at the top of the page. Not cheap at $12.99/lb, but not horrifically expensive by today’s meat price standards, where a Prime Beef T-Bone goes for $23.99/lb sometimes. I still often find my current favorite beef cut of Ribeyes coming in at $7.99/lb, so the lamb chop price falls in as an intermediate, and I get two meals out of it because again by tradition, one meal always had 3 Baby Lamb Chops on my plate. Since they appear so rarely in the meat fridge these days, I probably only cook them up maybe 4 times a year the most, so it even can fit inside the SNAP Card food budget, though I finished that experiment a month ago or so. I’m back to buying whatever food looks good at whatever price now, while I can get it.
Anyhow, one thing I never really did as a boy was consider where a Baby Lamb Chop came from, thus the reason for the cute little lamb pic at the top of the page. Being brought up as a city boy far from the farms and ranches where these animals are raised, I didn’t give much thought to the fact such cute little animals were being butchered so I could drop them easily under the broiler.
The realization did finally come to me one day in ordering a Tongue Sandwich at the Deli, and for the first time I saw the WHOLE TONGUE, as opposed to just the slices that were in the package from the Deli, or in the Deli Sandwich I ate at one of NY Shity’s fine Jewish Delicatessens of the era. The Stage Delicatessen, Ratner’s, Carnegie Deli and many more smaller less well known ones that were as good or better out in Brooklyn and Queens.
The realization finally hit me, somebody actually CUT THE TONGUE out of a cow, and I WAS EATING IT! I was thoroughly grossed out, and stopped eating tongue. For about two months maybe.
It dawned on me at this point that all the rest of the meat I was eating came from various parts of butchered animals, and I really LIKED Tongue sandwiches, on nice Fresh Rye Bread with the Jewish Mustard on it. So I got over the shock of seeing that whole tongue sitting there in the Deli counter display, and actually evaluated what part of the tongue was best, which is the thick part at the back. So I would only buy tongue if it was being sliced from that part.
Since leaving NY Shity, I haven’t found a single Deli in any of the numerous places I lived since then that has a Tongue in the display case or makes Tongue Sandwiches. This generally was not a Successful Meat far as the Amerikan Palate was concerned nationally. The only place I have seen Tongue is in the Freezer area of some of the larger Food Emporiums, where you can also find the other internal organs of the slaughtered cows, like Brains, Livers, Hearts, Pancreas etc. Typical Amerikans don’t buy these parts much, generally only Immigrants from other countries who grew up with these parts as part of a monthly meal choice after slaughtering an animal buy them.
I have toyed with the idea of buying one of these Frozen Tongues, Boiling it up to then slice up and make my own Tongue Sandwich, but that is a lot of tongue and not entirely sure of the preparation to make it taste like the Tongue I remember from the Jewish Delis of NY Shity. So I have never done that to date.
Eventually I grasped here that Baby Lamb Chops really did come from Baby Lambs, and found out also that Veal which I really liked as Veal Parmigiana, another one of the regular Meat dishes mom served up, and that Veal was actually from Baby Cows, and the reason the meat was light pink to white was because the baby cows were starved of milk, which is a rather rough way to be born into and then quickly be dispatched from the world of the living. Did I stop eating Veal because of this? No again.
Over the years since I have learned about the absolutely horrific conditions that industrial raised animals from Chicken to Pigs to Cows live in, how they get injected with hormones to make them grow faster and antibiotics to keep them all from passing diseases to one another in the crowded feed lots. Once again though, despite the knowledge of this, I don’t stop eating meat. Why not?
Basically for the same reason I don’t stop driving a car, which is what would it really accomplish if I did that besides making my life a lot more difficult to manage in industrial society, and in the case of food eliminate from my diet foods I ENJOY EATING? My stopping driving or becoming a Vegan would not do a damn thing really, in fact even millions of Vegans don’t make any real difference here, the system goes on until it won’t anymore, at which point just about everyone is going to find meat to be a pretty tough thing to put on the plate every day.
Now, generally speaking I find game meat which we can still hunt down here in Alaska to be a little bit tastier, and on a psychological level it’s nice to know that at least until it got shot, a Moose was able to live and roam free in the Wilderness. However, with the exception of some really god-awful GMO raised chickens I have tasted over the last couple of years, overall the difference between game meat and the industrial ag ranch raised version wasn’t that great overall, and for the most part for most of my life that was all that was available in the way of meat to eat anyhow.
Far as the animals here are concerned, they live in horrific conditions, but then again so do many people these days. in some respects, these animals are treated even BETTER than people, they at least get some medical care to keep from getting sick and they get fed every day. They get dispatched to the Great Beyond fairly rapidly, they don’t linger on in Nursing Homes with Bed Sores all over their decaying corporeal shell. You can’t say the same thing for millions of people living in 3rd World poverty right now.
When Homo Sap got started on domesticating Crops and Animals for food 10,000 years ago or more, it’s doubtful that anyone considered the long term consequences of this, it simply seemed like a more efficient way of getting food on the table. Nor do I think for the most part Homo Sap has ever been bothered by moral qualms with killing animals for food, we evolved as omnivores and eat whatever we can get our hands on. That is one survival trait that made the species as successful as it was in terms of multiplying up.
Now, in 20-20 Hindsight Vision you can see all the problems that resulted from this, desertification, topsoil depletion and food products that get increasingly more unhealthy by the day, even if you do still have money to buy them.
Over time to come here, this methodology will of necessity disappear, and if Homo Sap is to survive, we will have to grow our food in a way that does not so destroy the environment we grow it in. That is the next great challenge ahead, and it remains unclear as to whether we will be able to pull that off.