Freezer burn

(Based loosely on a partly true story)

“What are you doing?” I asked even though it was perfectly clear what she was doing. She was cleaning out the freezer because we were expecting half a pig from our CSA farm any day.

I was supposed to have done that by now.

L’s head was deep in the freezer but I am almost sure she said,  “what does it look like I’m doing? I’m making room for you.”

There were two piles of food outside the freezer: a small one destined to be arranged neatly back in the freezer and a much, much larger one with a much different fate. There was a brand new box of 40 green plastic body bags standing by.

If my Scottish ancestors had written the Bible and it had been MacMoses delivering the 10 Commandments, the first one (even before the one about coveting thy neighbour’s ass) would have been “Thou shalt not waste food.”

But there it was, tons of it about to be wasted. My entire collection of vintage frozen vegetables still in their original packages.

“Those are going to be worth something someday,” I ventured lamely to the part of L that wasn’t in the deep freeze. It wasn’t the listening part.

I looked at the pile. There were several containers of turkey gravy that I am going to say were labeled “Christmas 07,” even though the seven looked suspiciously like a one.

There were several on-sale-too-good-to-pass-up pork shoulders (yes, we were throwing out pork to make room for pork),  some fish that was caught during the Clinton administration and a frozen lasagna I had ignored so many times it was like an old friend.

I stood there, overwhelmed with guilt and worried that the chill in the air had more to do with the fact I had failed to get this started than the fact the freezer door had been open for 20 minutes.

And then, I spotted it. Half hidden under a pile of paleolithic pasta sauce was a perfectly fine pound of ground lamb. I could feel indignation rising in me like a well-made soufflé. There was nothing wrong with this lamb at all; it couldn’t be more (not much more, anyway) than a year old). This was an outrage.

I grabbed the lamb and left her there muttering something about “sunk costs” (she has an MBA).

“It was good,” L finally said a couple hours of dinner. “I’ll admit it was good if you’ll agree to stop talking about how good it was, ok?”

“Thanks,” I said. “But don’t get used to it, we’ll be eating nothing but pork for the next six months.”

Previously frozen lamb sandwich with goat cheese

1 lb salvaged ground lamb

1 medium onion, sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 cup chopped fesh mint

1 glop Worcestershire sauce (1 glop = 2 tablespoons or so)

1 egg

1/4 cup breadcrumbs

1 small glop of Dijon mustard

One small loaf of crusty bread

Grainy mustard to top (or more Dijon)

1/4 cup soft goat cheese

salt and pepper

Mix ground lamb with egg, breadcrumbs, mint, Worcestershire sauce and minced garlic. Form into three or four slightly oblong patties. Grill or pan fry until the juices run clear.

Meanwhile, turn the oven to broil.

sauté the onion until they are golden and caramelized.

Place the lamb patty on crusty bread and spread the goat cheese on top. Place under broiler for a minute or two until the cheese is well melted. Top with caramelized onions and some grainy mustard.

Serve with six to eight pounds of frozen peas per person.


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