My Insatiable Appetite for Lamb Chops: 12 Steps to Recovery

This photo says “eat me!”

While normally I’m one to stick to my moral convictions, every once in a while something – perhaps a delicious brazed lamb – comes along and makes me look like Mitt Romney with all my flip-floppery. This past Sunday was Orthodox Easter, and yes I realize that’s a week after all the normal people’s Easter. The difference in timing has something to do with the phases of the moon, the date of Passover, and the optimal time to purchase discounted Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs in bulk. And as a part of Orthodox Easter, we have a tradition of taking all the lambs that were slaughtered to save the first-born of Israel, smother them with garlic, and roast them over a spit in our back yards. Even monks who don’t eat meat all year round will eat lamb on Easter. So who am I to turn my back on such a hallowed tradition? If it’s good enough for the cloisters, it’s good enough for me. The problem is that I now can’t seem to stop…

My first day back in LA, I went with some friends from work to a Chinese family style restaurant called Hot Pot Hot Pot. You all sit around a table, and then they bring out a huge pot of soup broth that starts to boil uncontrollably on a hot plate strategically placed within the depths of your table. You dip various meats, vegetables, noodles, and dumplings in the volcanic broth to cook them. By the end you’re all sweaty, bloated, and smell overwhelmingly of soy and MSG. Also, if you use the spicy broth, you won’t have to take Zyrtec for weeks. Your sinuses will be so cleared out that your friends will be able to look up your nose and see your brain. It’s GLORIOUS. The name in Chinese translates loosely to “Fat Little Lamb.” So naturally, I had to eat some more lamb. Just this once. It was still “Easter week” so to speak…

And then the Gourmet Genie food truck showed up outside our office the next day. While I was originally planning on eat the Jasmine’s Feast platter option, I had to decline on my moral obligation to fighting unfair gender norms. Why does the vegetarian plate have to be named after a lady while all the meat covered platters be named after “The Sultan” and “Aladdin”? So on that principle alone, and not my insatiable appetite for delicious baby sheep, did I opt for the Sultan Platter with lamb shwarma. I will not say that I enjoyed it. That would give me away. I will say that afterwards I really needed a nap. And some enzymes or Pepto Bismal. But even I can admit that there’s no way that I can continue on like this. Luckily for me, tonight is Shabbas dinner, and I can try to use a healthy combination of Jewish tradition, Challah, and kosher side dishes to realize that no more lambs need to die. Everyone’s doorways are already covered in sheep’s blood, and seeing all of my first-born Jewish friends alive and well should convince me that I don’t need to paint every wall in my house with it “just to be safe.” Say a little prayer for me and for all the baby lambs that really just want to stay alive long enough to watch the London Summer Olympics.

Ciao Bella!

Matteo Yazge

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