The Lamb is Burnt – Buona Pasqua

Happy Easter! If you don’t celebrate Easter, Happy Day. Like many people, I was up early getting ready for family, friends and food. Food being the key ingredient. Smiling, I walked past my set table. Last night, the china was placed, napkins were fashioned into cascading waterfalls dripping down the wine glasses and the silver was polished. Sigh, I am a great planner. All I have to do this morning is cook. Well actually, I didn’t even really have that much to cook. Jack had cut the rutabaga up and it was ready to boil. I had prepped the broccoli rabe. Guests would be adding to the feast. The lamb, the wonderful organic, grass fed and running happy in the fields lamb was my primary responsibility.

I love lamb. Rare lamb is my favorite Easter dish. Yummy, stop rolling your eyes – a carnivore is a carnivore. Following an Ina Garten recipe that my cooking pal Kathy sent me, I had marinated the leg of lamb in yogurt, rosemary, lemon rind, olive oil, salt and pepper. It did look like someone had vomited in my refrigerator, but the marinade was guaranteed to make an incredible tasting lamb. I pulled the lamb out of the frigorifero and left it on the counter to warm up While the oven was pre-heating, I had a Bloody Mary and thanked the universe for a terrific day. Each time I walked into the kitchen and saw the lamb, a smile appeared on my face.

Wiping off the yogurt – which was disgusting – I envisioned the crispy outer shell and rare interior. My mouth was watering in anticipation. We had calculated that an eleven pound leg of lamb would need about three and a half hours in the oven. At 11:30, the leg of lamb went into the 450 degree oven. “Alexa,” I bellowed, “set timer for fifteen minutes.” I puttered anxiously waiting for her dulcet beeps. The oven was lowered to 350 and I went into my office.

I’m doing the Dramatist Guild’s April challenge, “End of Play.” That means put your butt in a chair, let your creativity flow and finish the play that has been percolating for days. I’m researching WWII Italian Prisoners of War who were incarcerated in the USA. The stories are amazing. I really got into the research.

Suddenly, Jack stormed into the room. I looked up. “Midge, there is smoke in the kitchen. Who is watching the cooking.”

“I am. Just from my desk in the office. I can kind of see around the corner to the stove.”

Then, I saw the smoke. The oven must be filthy – didn’t I clean the oven this year? Sighs escaped from my lips and I shuffled over to the kitchen. Yup, there was smoke. Yup, it was coming from the oven. I opened the door – the lamb looked crispy. Grabbing my instant read meat thermometer I took the lamb’s temperature. What the … 146! No, no, the guests wont be here for two hours and the meat is done. While it rests it will cook even more. It was supposed to take three hours – what – it has been three hours? The beep of the smoke detector filled the room. The windows were opened. Crispy smoke detector activator lamb may have changed my standard Easter menu. Merde.

What to do? I took the lamb out of the oven, covered it with tin foil and opened a bottle of red wine. Red goes with lamb. I hope there will be some left for our guests.

8 thoughts on “The Lamb is Burnt – Buona Pasqua

  1. Dear Midge, hope the lamb was delicious. Send love to Jack. If you ever come to DC stay with us. We miss you both. Camille and Bill❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hahahahaha!! Very witty post, Midge! Yes, meno male, red wine solves all, even if the formerly dandelion-munching, now-yogurt-smeared lamb from smoky hell makes that a challenge.

    Buona Pasqua! 🍷

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Buon giorno cara Midge, you had me chuckling again, and I know the feeling, though we were doing porcetto yesterday with my sister arriving with the ferry boat at dawn. Happy Pasquetta!


  4. Always a treat to read one of your tasty topics, Midge. Thermometers have given Roger confidence and control over meat, fish, poultry that I routinely enjoy. I am a very happy sous chef, content to help as directed and clean up as long as I never have to cook a main course that used to graze, cluck, or swim. Besides, one can always make the best of a less-than-perfect entree with a good wine. Keep typing and stirring – we’ll get to your mountaintop someday.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Midge! Great story, made me hungry at 7am for lamb! We make lamb this Easter too with chimichuri. I miss you and ❤️ you!


  6. Hello Nonna,I hope this email reaches you.  My grandfather (my father’s father) was born in Pontelandolfo in 1885 and migrated to US when he was 16. My siblings and I are planning to visit Italy this September and would like to include a visit to Pontelandolfo.  I came across your blog while searching information regarding Pontelandolfo.   Would you recommend we stay in Pontelandolfo or in the Benevento region?  If we stay in Benevento region (not directly n Pontelandolfo) how difficult would it be to travel through the region?  We will not be renting a car.  Please share any recommendations for lodging and activities. Sincerely,Elaine


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