I am interested in cooking the way I am interested in team sports -- I like them both, and can converse knowledgeably enough, and enjoy them when I come across them at friends' or my parents' place, or the right restaurant -- but I don't have a passion for them, or follow them on a regular basis. Somehow I don't have the time. But a few days ago I was in the supermarket, and this leg of lamb called out to me. Buy me, Richard, it said. Marinate me in mint and red wine and rosemary and garlic, and cover me with a crust of mustard and peppercorns, and serve me rare with new potatoes and spring greens.
All right, all right, I said.
And I made the marinade and dropped the leg in (Ahh, it said. That feels nice) and planned my dinner ... but circumstances conspired against me. The kids had early evening must-attend events (to finish the project, to go to the birthday party, to practice the soccer), and I didn't want to ruin my wonderful meal by eating it at 4:45. And then I got held up in traffic on my way back from some far-flung school, and despite my best efforts (which did not include speeding) I arrived home too late to cook the lamb, and had to cobble together a hurried pizza-from-the-freezer and salad dinner instead. I turned the leg over in the marinade. Hurry, it said. Please hurry.
And then came yesterday. Saturday. Good day for team sports and cooking. The afternoon wound its golden arms around me, warming me, giving me hope and purpose. I marched to the kitchen, washed my potatoes, made my peppercorn crust, and popped the lamb from the marinade (Darn it, I'm all pruny!) into the pre-heated oven, setting the timer to half past perfect.
My mouth began to water. And then Imogen came up to me and said, Dad, do you know what we need?