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Edible Nonfiction: Today's pick

Minted Sacrificial Lamb by Deborah Whelan

It's our third date and Malcolm has invited me to dinner at his apartment in downtown St. John's. I smell mint, rosemary, thyme as he opens the door. Bonus, I sigh. This man knows his way around a spice rack.

Then the underlying aroma breaks through: lamb. And suddenly I'm ten years old, on our little farm. It's spring and I'm collecting peelings as Mom pares carrots and turnips. I will bring them to the sheep as a treat, but especially to a  chubby lamb with a black face and brown tips on her ears who follows me as if I am her mama. I've decided her name is Dorothy and she is my secret pet.  I cannot find her among the many hoofs and fluffy coats. I feed some scraps to the flock but keep the choice bits for her.

I search but she is nowhere and I am worried that she has wandered off in the thick spruce forest at the back of our field. So I ask Mom, "Have you seen Dorothy?"

Mom is busy. Supper is roasting in the oven, and now she is ironing. There are ten of us children so she is always busy. 

"Aunt Dorothy? Why would she be here?"

"No, Mom. Dorothy, my pet lamb."

She wipes her face with her apron and looks out the window and frowns. 

"Do you mean the lamb with the funny brown ears?"

I nod eagerly.

"She's in the oven, my dear. Now can you set the table for supper?"

I did not eat lamb on that day or any day since. I do hope that Malcolm will understand. The chops lie tender and pink on my plate, drizzled with a gloriously fragrant balsamic reduction. I am nauseated. Perhaps we can order Chinese?

Deborah Whelan is from Mt. Pearl, NL

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