This morning, my Alpha Son Nick asked me if I would find a slow cooking recipe for rack of lamb, with a lot of garlic. It needs a lot of garlic.
Although it should not surprise me that Nick cooks things like rack of lamb – he is his French father’s son – it does give me pause.
I have only cooked rack of lamb once – long before Nick was born – for another Frenchman. From a Julia Child recipe. I sent Nick three recipes, including Julia Child's.
When Nick & I lived in Washington, D.C., I would cook lamb chops in red wine with a side of rosemary potatoes. My boss in D.C. loved to roast lamb, encrusted with herbs, on the grill.
But I don’t think that is why Nick prepares lamb for his wife & for his friends. I think it comes from his father Jacques, as did his affection for the caviar in a lobster & breakfasts of sausage & a baguette. Or a baguette & cheese. Or a baguette with anything.
In earlier decades, I would have been jealous of that influence. I will not sugar coat or deny that.
But now, I remember all the meals I shared with Nick’s father. The best country pate ever. The best venison stew ever. Lobster to die for, with homemade mayonnaise (although I always preferred melted butter). And Jacques’ grandmother’s recipe for a fried egg with vinegar & herbs.
Nick’s father was probably the only man who could convince me to try wild boar or pheasant. Although his introduction to tripe in Paris did not go well for Jaki Jean.
Although the desserts in Paris were sublime. But Jaki Jean does not do tripe – not in Menudo, not even in Paris.
For his rack of lamb, Nick has chosen a marinade of Dijon, red wine vinegar, olive oil, brown sugar, garlic & Italian herbs. With side dishes of scalloped potatoes & asparagus.
I think about this – that both of my sons cook. Although neither of them was ever interested in spending time with me in the kitchen. They were, however, appreciative of the results.
And now each of them has found their own way to the kitchen & preparing food.
Perhaps I did something good. I cannot take all the credit - Nick's father is an amazing cook. My youngest learned all his culinary talents on his own.
Because preparing food for people is a bit like writing. It is offering sustenance, an opportunity for conversation & companionship. And a way to share an edible text.
I hope Nick & Sam continue to share that edible text.