I’m a lot of things, but “cool” isn’t one of them. The only times that word has been used to describe me it was in a sarcastic way or in a ‘it’s cool that you are okay with being such a dork’ way. And I’m fine with that. Just managing to not embarrass myself on a daily basis is enough pressure. This here is a story to make you feel just a tad cooler yourself, just because there are people like me out there lowering the bar.
When we were in Morocco back in 2012 I ate numerous versions of lamb and prune tagine. My favorite was this one, sprinkled with fried Marcona almonds and served with twelve different Moroccan salads.
From time to time I get a craving for that spicy lamby goodness and cook up my own version of what we ate in Marrakech. A few weeks ago I was thinking of those flavors while planning a family get together. Tagines are nice for parties because they go into the oven before guests arrive, fill the house with a great smell and cook slowly until everyone is ready to eat. The meat in the picture is a lamb shank but I wanted something I could cut into chunks and trim the fat off of for the dish I was imagining so I ordered a boneless lamb shoulder roast from the butchers at my local market.
All the people who work at the meat counter of my grocery store are super nice and eager to please. The day I went in to pick up my roast I was helped by a woman who is especially friendly. Being the intermittently awkward person that I am, I always feel slightly intimidated by her tallness and outgoing nature. She came out with a beautiful roast and we talked about how nice it looked and what I was going to make with it. And then.
Then came my moment of humiliation. As a ‘congratulations on your awesome meat purchase’, she fist bumped me. Yes, fist bumped me.
Not such a big deal you say? Just wait.
You’ve got to understand, I was caught off guard. In my wildest dreams I never would have guessed that I, a forty year old white lady, would be fist bumped by another white lady, one even older than me. Maybe some of you regularly fist bump in a serious way, but I certainly don’t. In fact the only person I’ve ever fist bumped is my three year old. And for us it’s always a big production that ends in the waggling of fingers and an explosion. You know what I mean, right? Bump, waggle, blowing up noise. I think you know where this is going. I’m blushing right now just thinking about it.
This meat counter woman is very tall, and I’m very much not, and she was on the other side of the counter so I really had to reach to meet her outstretched fist. It was super weird to begin with but then what did I do? I exploded the fist bump. I did. I waggled my fingers and burst open my fist. Midway through the explosion I realized that this was not right. Had I owned it, exploded my fist in a grand fashion, I could have turned a very strange moment into a humorous one, but no. Instead I just didn’t make the blowing up noise and pretended I was doing something else with my hand, not that it could’ve been mistaken for anything else. Then I said a meek and red faced ‘thank you’ while I scurried off with my five pounds of lamb and melted into a puddle of shame.
I wish I could leave you with a recipe for the tagine because it was delicious, but I don’t have one. Maybe I will work on developing one for the winter, but I need to wait a while before I show myself at the meat counter again.