We spent time as a family Sunday afternoon spread out on beach towels on the bank of Bear Creek which runs the expanse of Townsend Park. The late afternoon–plenty warm, sunny, and breezy–was one of those perfect summer days for reading and talking. Looking up at the stone bridge in whose shadow we lay, I realized this bridge was the very place where I was to propose to my wife after a horse-drawn sleigh ride on a cold February evening in 2010. Even now as I write, it occurs to me in a flash that it was during this sleigh ride that I first heard of Scottish Highland cattle (the driver of our carriage has a brother who raised them). This bridge, too, was the place where–in the creek as a youth of maybe nine–I sustained an injury, sending me on my first trip to the emergency room in an event that involved a big toe, nicely filleted by something very sharp lurking in the creek bed.
Leaving the park behind and–with it–all thoughts of sliced appendages, the signs by the roadside were reminders of the Greek Festivals that were occurring today throughout the city. In light of this, our menu that evening couldn’t be more appropriate: “tacos” with a Greek twist, using ground of Cheviot lamb instead of ground beef and warm pita shells instead of taco shells. A feta mint tzatziki stood in for sour cream, and a cucumber heirloom tomato salsa took the place of a more traditional pico de gallo. Since our first shipment of Cheviot lamb meat arrived earlier this month, we’ve enthusiastically been trying recipes featuring lamb and loving every one of them. This recipe was chosen for its ability to showcase the flavor of the lamb without overwhelming it by too many spices.
The meal was put together in the kitchen of the farmhouse that my sister and brother-in-law just recently purchased on Grand Rapids’ northeast side (an antique stove and several chickens came with the place). As my family was still very much moving into their new abode, a make-shift (but elegant) table was set on the front porch, using for the purpose a wooden coffee table. Lanterns and Christmas lights cast a wonderful glow about us as we looked out onto the yard lined by a white-picket fence and wood archway which covered the pathway leading up to the house. The meal was delectable and paired with a Pinot Nior which complemented the lamb tacos wonderfully well. Life: as it ought to be.