I was just thinking about last Easter.
On Good Friday, I received a desperate phone call from my husband, “Come quick, a client delivered a gift that I can’t bring home on the motorino.” Before I could respond, he had hung up.
A little peeved at this trip to the office in late morning traffic, I grumbled on over only to find a lamb hanging over the small office refrigerator by the secretary’s desk. From head to tail it came up to my chest and now I understood the urgency and the motorino issue.
Off I rushed, with the item wrapped in a few bags on my outstretched arms like a corpse in the night, and into the arms of Stefano, my local macellaio before he closed shop at 1:30. He clucked at my good fortune and the fine work of art in my arms and took special care in cutting it up into manageable pieces, innards aside and all nicely wrapped in that special Italian meat-wrapping paper.
Well, we certainly had a proper Italian Easter family lunch on the terrace, complete with abbacchio al forno con patate. No mint jelly, though (we don't want to shock the natives).
I can see all you Americans out there grimacing at the thought of an entire, skinned animal being carried around, but guess what, it is the same thing that you find all nicely packaged in plastic at the supermarket. Funny though that while Americans are so far removed from "real" food in its primary state, there are so many more American vegetarians and vegans etc than Italian ones. Italians happily eat it all, in moderation, even with the whole works on the plate – fish heads and bones, lamb innards and whatever else, as long as it is fresh and well prepared.
All I can say, is that we all thoroughly enjoyed the best abbacchio ever – for sure it was fresh!
The picture is from today. Stefano remembers my abbacchio from last year, but posed for me with a smaller version that was handy in the backroom.