Lamb cutlets and Bok Choy.

My parents wedding photo.

My parents wedding photo.

Don’t ever make the mistake of calling lamb cutlets, lamb chops. There is a big difference. We used to like both and didn’t really mind one above the other and never were guilty of bias when it came to eating lamb. Some readers might now well call it quits. I understand and have full sympathy when some of you object to eating animals. I would too, but have found giving up eating meat even harder than smoking and I really loved smoking! A meek excuse hereby offered is that we haven’t eaten lamb cutlets for years. I have to confess it wasn’t due for concern of lambs but more for the concern of money. Lamb became more costly than smoked trout or caviar with Finlandia Vodka.

Sorry about inserting yet another Sibelius’ Finlandia but that’s what you get contemplating lamb cutlets. A beautiful piece of music that I cannot listen to without shedding tears.

I wonder if Australian lamb compares with the Dutch butter mountain some years ago? The Dutch had conquered the world market in butter. It was so successful that other countries  gave up on butter and despaired of their dairy industries. Cows were sold off and lush paddocks were left fallow. Farmers instead went into cabbages,  turnips and many took to the bottle. Stout buxom wives resorted to locking bedroom doors, forcing husbands to sleep off their drunken stupor on top of slow combustion wood stoves or in the hay loft with languid but faithful old horses. Poverty was knocking at many a dreaded midnight farmer’s door. There were scuffles at local town-halls and Russian dignitaries at world conferences were pelted with frozen Dutch butter.

And then, like magic it resolved itself. The Dutch had become so intoxicated with success they went mad making so much butter, so plentiful, it became a butter mountain, the price dropped! An oversupply of butter that no one wanted. (A bit like the iron ore in Australia at present). In order to keep selling this huge oversupply they sold off butter at a loss and compensated somewhat by  increasing the local price of butter in Holland. But…nothing is simple. Hordes of Dutch would now drive to Russia and buy the cheap subsidised Dutch butter, fill up their car- boots and drive back, all snug with having overcome the exorbitant prices now charged for their own butter in Holland.

Years ago in Australia lamb was as cheap as chips. Farmers were not worried because the wool was really the money earner. Then came synthetics and the market collapsed. The logical answer was selling lamb to eat. Soon shipload after shipload of lamb was sold overseas. The locals soon noticed a quad doubling of price. Lamb cutlets are sold now on par with a rare Penfold’s Hermitage wine or a pair of manacled  Diesel jeans.

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My granddad painting while smoking his pipe. His wife in left bottom corner.

Today I noticed lamb cutlets almost at the due date at half price.  I snapped up two packets and barbequed them a couple of hours ago with bok- choy and spuds. A really lovely meal. It might well be another couple of years before we have saved enough for another lamb cutlet or two.

Nothing is easy but we all keep going the best we can!

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30 Responses to “Lamb cutlets and Bok Choy.”

  1. roughseasinthemed Says:

    It always fascinated me how cheap meat was in Australia and how expensive vegetables were. I remember buying two leeks and converting the price to around a pound sterling! Or maybe it was a dollar or two at the time. Who cares? They were expensive and meat was cheap.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Vegetables are cheap compared with most meats. A bunch of three bok choys costs A$ 1.50. The lamb cutlets of ten cost $A 16.- which originally were at $32.-
      We normally eat mince or salmon cutlets ( four for $14.-) that lasts us two days.
      The lamb cutlets were a one off bi-annual luxury to celebrate our success and demise over a bout of flu.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Silver in the Barn Says:

    Giving up smoking was hard. Giving up lamb would be impossible. My mother makes a rack of lamb which would bring you to your knees. The wedding photo of your parents is a treasure. What year were they married, Gerard?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. gerard oosterman Says:

    No, but i can imagine the idea for it. The Irish spent a lot of time in bed during potato shortages. Is that what it means?

    Like

  4. rod Says:

    Do you Australians import lamb from New Zealand, I wonder.

    Like

  5. Forestwoodfolkart Says:

    Funny how in former days one was lucky if you had a roast chook at Xmas, now chicken is so common it is considered boring without an assortment of gourmet Greek roast veges once a week. Some kids have never tasted roast lamb, and the only time I have roast pork is at the roast night at the RSL. A poignant comment on society’s waxings.

    Like

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      We never had chicken at home. My dad could not stand it nor lamb. Mum used to trick him by dressing cheap lamb up as veal.
      He was at times wise to it at other times he tucked into the lamb if the marinade was strongly flavoured of ‘normal’ meat.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. petspeopleandlife Says:

    Interesting post. Strange how various markets become glutted with meat, butter and, grains. Over here it does not cost and arm and a leg to buy meat.

    I don’t eat beef or pork but have returned to eating organic chicken on MD’s orders. My body was not processing enough protein and therefore I chose to eat pasture raised poultry. It is very clean, does not smell, has very little fat and the raw meat is not dripping with blood.

    I can eat that but animals that are fed antibiotics and steroids and raised with 4-6 birds per tiny cage is inhumane and not conducive to my ethics. I’ve never eaten lamb or veal when younger and just can not go there. If you have ever watched a video of how beef, pork and poultry is raised it would probably turn your stomach.

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    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Battery hens are being phased out but some barn raised chickens are also under investigation. Drones have been known to fly over so called chicken barns to prove that the density of hens in barns are often just as inanimal as batteries.
      A proper open barn chook should have freedom to socialise, perch and able to pick around grass and have open space.
      The problem then becomes their exposure to possible bird flu from the outside world of stray birds and animals. Any detected bird flu means all the chickens will have to be destroyed ruining the life of those that raise tens of thousands of chickens to make an income.
      Nothing is easy.

      Liked by 1 person

      • petspeopleandlife Says:

        Right you are on all accounts but it is my belief that clean air derived from open pasture makes for a healthy chicken. There is nothing to be gained by stuffing a bunch of chickens into a small space. I simply will not eat that kind of chicken. I can purchase chicken from private organic farms and it sees that is the new wave of raising meat for consumption. Of course that will not feed the masses of people and only those folks that have the extra money can afford to buy organic food.

        Like

      • gerard oosterman Says:

        Yes, that is so. In old times many people used to run a few chooks and fed them scraps in exchange for good eggs. Now most people live in cities and buy commercial eggs produced by deeply depressed chickens and their owners. It is no wonder the yellow yoke is pale, runny and matches the [pale palor of the breeders who worry about money and kids going astray on ice and Isis.
        I used to have a pet rooster, a large normal leghorn who travelled with me in the car, till a strict looking policeman stopped me and ordered it (him) to be strapped in a seatbelt which was impossible. I then had a special basket that I could use a seatbelt on. He used to love looking outside the window and must have wondered what life was all about when we were stuck in long queues and people laughing at him.
        He died some years ago of a ripe old age. He was never depressed and crowed always very lustily.

        Like

  7. Curt Mekemson Says:

    Beef has shot up here. It almost makes lamb appear reasonable. (Note I did say almost.) The other day I broke down and bought a lamb roast. We had it straight up the first night, medium rare. The second night I turned some of the leftovers in to Lamb curry. Oh how I love lamb curry. A couple of days later Peggy had to travel for four days so I turned the last of it in to chop, which sounds a bit like lamb chop I know, but is actually a very hot African dish I like but only make in Peggy’s absence because of the heat. I also carved out a few sandwiches. It was a very well used lamb roast. Now I am satiated. –Curt

    Like

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, lamb in curry is fantastic. We have that for Christmas called ‘Raan’. The lamb, mutton preferably, is soaked for a few days in yoghurt and lemon use (or juice). Lots of spices and a long slow heat is the answer. There would be less conflict in the world if Raan was available to all of those with good intentions.

      Like

  8. Yvonne Says:

    I don’t like lamb, but I sure do love that Sibelius!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. auntyuta Says:

    Is there ever any mutton being sold?
    We had a “leg of lamb” (2,7 kg of it!) for Easter.
    I am sure it was mutton.
    Good to hear that you and Helvi could get rid of the flu quickly.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Jackie Says:

    I gave up both smoking and eating meat years and years ago. Neither one was very hard for me to do. I feel lucky that it was that way for me. I have a lot of sympathy for people who struggle with giving up one or the other or both.

    Like

  11. berlioz1935 Says:

    The Greeks have a nice way of making lamb cutlets.

    Sebelius is heavy going but still beautiful. Thanks for sharing the music.

    Like

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      The Greeks are the masters when it comes to lamb cooking.
      Sibelius is Finland which at times can be steeped in melancholy and takes time to get to know.
      I like those long dark phrases in Finlandia taking us to deep forests growing out of granite but then out of nowhere produces delightful dancing fire-flies and fluttering butterflies, a hovering of a wild- berry seeking bird between spruce and birch…

      Liked by 1 person

  12. kaytisweetlandrasmussen83 Says:

    What an interesting post Gerard. I also loved the photo of your parent’s wedding. Thanks to Barbara, I now know what Irish twins means! Washington state had a glut of milk some years back. They were pouring it on the fields just to get rid of it. Too bad with so many starving all over the world. I guess the cost of transporting it and the red tape required is just too much for the government.

    Like

  13. Patti Kuche Says:

    I always feel so sad about roast lamb after watching the spring lambs frolicking and gambolling amongst the daffodils in Yorkshire. Love the Sibelius and good to hear you are feeling better!

    Like

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      We buy large ‘legs of lamb’ over 2 kilos which is mutton dressed up as lamb. Even so, an old sheep deserves a nice retirement and should be spared the slaughter. We are turning more to fish, especially the salmon cutlets. Of course they too are now farmed in those circular areas surrounded by steel mesh. They too have a life worth preserving.
      Someone noted that carrots too respond and react when pulled out of the soil. I don’t know, but don’t want to feel sick with flu and suffering guilt towards my salmon cutlet.

      Like

  14. sedwith Says:

    If you live in Melbourne’s areas with a cohort of Middle Eastern people lamb is ‘cheap as chips as it is the prefered meat. I miss that but on payday it will be a lamb rack! Despite Darwin’s cost…..our fish isnt even cheap.

    Like

  15. Lottie Nevin Says:

    You can’t beat lamb – it’s one of the most delicious and tastiest of meats and yet, as you so rightly say, it’s so expensive now. I remember when it was a cheap meat, shoulder of lamb was what we looked forward to every Sunday. I can’t remember that last time we had lamb chops, yet alone cutlets. In this part of Spain, lamb is a scarcity, it’s pork pork pork pork and more pork which is somewhat ironic given that a couple of years ago, pork was rarer than hen’s teeth where we lived.

    Like

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