By Larry Levine –

Jennifer won’t eat veal. It’s an ethical issue for her. She’s seen the photos and documentaries about how the animals are raised.

I don’t have any such problems. To me veal is part of the food chain. I love veal – a great veal chop served at Panzanella in Sherman Oaks, osso bucco, veal medallions, veal piccatta at de’ Medici Cucina Italiana in San Diego …

Jennifer and I each love lamb. She’ll drive through the country side, see a bunch of sheep and lambs in the field, comment on how cute they are and say, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.” Then we’ll stop for dinner and she’ll order a rack of lamb. This happens frequently on our drives through Oregon en route to visit the kids – son, daughter-in-law and grand children – outside of Seattle. We stop in Salem specifically so we can dine at Alesandro’s, a terrific Tuscan restaurant with a great rack of lamb and wonderful veal picatta.

We were in Sedona, AZ a few years back. I don’t remember the name of the restaurant but it was very nice. We ordered our drinks and Jennifer headed for the restroom. While she was gone, I glanced through the menu to get a feel for it. I wouldn’t be ready to order until after we finished our drinks.

Jennifer saw the sly grin on my face as soon as she came back to the table.

“What?” she asked.

“Let me get something straight,” I said. “You don’t eat veal because of the way they’re raised. Right?”

“Yes,” she answered.

I opened the menu and pointed to the line that offered Free Range Veal. “How about that?” I asked.

She paused, a long, contemplative pause and then said, “No.”

“Why not?” I asked.

“Because they’re babies,” she said.

“Wait a minute. Aren’t lambs babies?” I asked. “You’ll eat a free range lamb but not a free range calf.”

Alert to the fact that I could get a drink poured over my head, I proceeded without caution anyway. “And aren’t lambs cuter than calves?”

That night we both had lamb for dinner. It was the first time I ever saw Colorado lamb advertised on a menu and it was terrific. I think Colorado lamb is the best lamb being produced anywhere these days. Although, Sonoma lamb and Oregon lamb are pretty good. New Zealand lamb, once the super star of the lamb world, no longer measures up, not even in New Zealand.  

Jennifer still doesn’t eat veal. I can’t even use veal stock in cooking at home. I make a really good lamb shank dinner. But no osso bucco.

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