After spending a year with our two young children touring the U.S. in the early 1970’s, my first husband and I found ourselves on the east coast and getting low on money. It was time to stop and allow ourselves to be absorbed back into the real world and get jobs. That year on the road was an excellent year. One day to the next the scenery changed outside the windows of the old yellow Ford station wagon like streaming video. The children, delighted at having both parents within their reach most of the day, thrived. They swam in the Colorado and the Mississippi rivers, and rafted in Colorado, appreciated the colors of the Painted Desert and played with cows and quarter horses on a ranch in the Texas Panhandle. Truly, we couldn’t have provided more entertainment at home had we erected a circus in the back yard.
If, like Peter Pan, the time hadn’t come to grow up and once again become “real people”, we would most probably still be roaming freely across the country. As with most things, it’s change that makes life interesting, so after spending the night in our car in Lynn, Massachusetts we made a plan. Finding temporary housing within a month we both got jobs, soon after found a lovely home, and for the next three years went about getting to know the people and the countryside that personifies the state. Two and a half of the three years we spent there we hung our hats in Wakefield. Wakefield is a sleepy, beautifully scenic, bedroom community steeped in history that is situated about thirty miles north of Boston. Our house overlooked the lake which was the centerpiece of the town.
Massachusetts has four distinct seasons, and I came to enjoy all four. Summer, surprisingly, brought with it the expected warmer temperatures as well as the more unexpected sticky and heavily humid atmosphere I associated more with the southern states. Our house was very old and the owners had never installed A/C. One particularly muggy and sweat producing evening even the constantly whirring fans couldn’t fight back the steady stream of warm air seeping in through the open windows. Both children were staying with their aunt and uncle for the weekend so we suffered alone. Across the street the lake shined in the moonlight as if highlighting our way. Finally, in a heat induced stupor we put on our suits, grabbed towels and ran towards the cool water like a pair of thirsty longhorns. Wading in, the mossy bottom oozed somewhat unpleasantly between our toes, but as the refreshing cool of the water washed over our bodies we wouldn’t have cared if it was the contents of a dairy farm corral under our feet. Up until that time I had always wondered why people didn’t swim in such a lovely setting at night. In the back of my mind the reason lingered but until I submerged and resurfaced I couldn’t quite pull it up. As my head came out I first heard the buzzing and then immediately felt it. Looking over at my husband I realized his entire upper body was covered with them, and quickly surmised from his expression that I was his mirror image. Stephen King couldn’t have created a better environment for his new book. He would simply have to name it “Mosquito”. OMG. It brought to mind that quote from Mark Twain “Water taken in moderation, cannot hurt anybody”, or something close to that. Mark, where were you then?
I’m not sure my small legs have ever pumped that fast. Jane Fonda could have made a video showing these moves and retired. I took a quick look back, and seeing my husband following close behind, the adrenaline set in and it was every man for himself. On Monday at work I looked like Picasso’s interpretation of Karl Malden. My nose, my ears, and my lips were all puffed up like I’d just spent good money on bad Botox. I bring this up because yesterday morning I went out before the sun came up to feed our adopted cat. Usually she comes after I’ve had my first of coffee, but since I’d turned the light on early she was pacing impatiently outside the door indicating I was up to bat. Carrying my Pooh and Piglet cup, it’s my favorite, and in my early morning attire of boxer shorts and a tee-shirt, I padded outside to fill her bowl. Once again I heard the angels of death and felt a fluttering about my fetters. Ah, a lot of f’s.
Sooo, once again I woke up puffy, this time more in the lower legs to such an extent that other than a sprinkling of cinnamon I look for all the world like a Pillsbury breakfast product. My other half, who is always fascinated by the disaster that is me, was amazed. According to him I should have been able to walk out, fill the cat bowls, and return to the house without creating an international incident. Really? After eleven years does he not know me at all? I’m amazed a light plane didn’t land on the roof of the garage and release a herd of rabid chimpanzees.
At any rate, I made these lamb chops last night and truly you have to try them. I love lamb in most any form but these were just particularly delicious. The trick is to leave them in the marinade for at least 24 hours (I left mine for 48). The longer you marinate the chops the more intense the flavor. These were perfect. We ate three apiece. Yum.
Best Ever Marinated Grilled Loin Lamb Chops
6 loin lamb chops 2″ thick
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. granulated onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 tsp. stone-ground Dijon mustard
4 Tbsp. honey
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
Wash chops and pat dry. Mix together all marinade ingredients until well blended. Place chops in large resealable bag. Pour marinade over the chops and close. Knead and turn to coat chops. Refrigerate for 24-48 hrs. turning several times. Discard marinade.
Grill over medium heat about 5-7 mins. on each side until slightly charred. Serve with mint jelly.