Lamb is one of those things I keep forgetting I like.

I don’t seem to notice it at the store and I certainly don’t go out of my way to buy it.  But I really do like it.

My Aunt Dolores (actually Great-Aunt Dolores) made the absolute best leg of lamb when I was a kid.  Bone-in, of course.  Back then “boneless” wasn’t really an option.  And even if it had been, no one would have bought it because everyone knew that the flavor comes from roasting with the bone. Aunt D was born in 1898 in Pueblo, Colorado, the youngest of 7 children.  She lived in San Francisco and NYC but by the time I came along she was living with Uncle Tommy in Sacramento, CA.  Tommy was a Train Master for the Southern Pacific.  They had a really cool “modern” house that had things like a refrigerator and freezer that was built-in and looked like the upper cabinets in the kitchen.  They entertained and cooked all the time and I still have her Sunset BBQ Cook Books. (Here’s one of them…)  She and Uncle Tommy even had matching aprons.  I’ve had Uncle Tommy’s for years.  When he died in 1958, she moved back to San Francisco.

Sacramento was shish-ka-bobs on the barbecue.  San Francisco was leg of lamb with lamb gravy.

Auntie didn’t do a lot to the lamb.  I remember the slivers of garlic she placed throughout the meat and maybe some rosemary.  But it was the good meat itself that was the centerpiece.  And her lamb gravy.  I watched her make it enough times that I know there really wasn’t any secret tricks she performed, but that gravy was silken perfection every time.  I’ve tried replicating it in the past to no avail.  Auntie just knew what she was doing.

When I saw the lamb chops at the store I had to pick them up.  I marinated them in olive oil, fresh garlic, fresh mint and fresh rosemary.  They went onto the grill for just a few minutes.  Potatoes in the oven and broccoli rabe finished the plate.

Auntie led a full and interesting life, traveled all over the world, married twice (no children) and liked her martini’s.  She died in 1994 at the ripe old age of 96.

They just don’t make ’em like that anymore…