What are your plans for Memorial Day weekend?
I won’t be spending a lot of time in my kitchen, I can tell you that. As the commemoration of the centennial of World War I continues through 2019, the museum is offering more than 10 events through Memorial Day weekend.
On the grounds and free to the public will be the AVTT Traveling Vietnam Wall, which is an 80 percent-scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.… In addition to concerts and ceremonies with local dignitaries, there is also a benefit pancake breakfast on Saturday.
So, all celebrations circle back around to food.
Memorial Day weekend is really a time to remember not only those who fought and died in war, but also those who kept the home fires burning brightly and worked in factories. The saying that “History never repeats itself, but it often rhymes” is true.
We should not forget the horror of war, so those lessons might inform our future, but while looking back and memorializing those who died in service of freedom, we should look to the future with hope.
My father, Fred, served in a British tank division during World War II. He emigrated from the U.K. to Australia in 1949, and although he didn’t discuss the war very often, when he would talk, it would be about the food.
Resources were meager, but he would talk excitedly about being able to eat fresh lettuce and tomatoes and what a treat that was during the war. Foods that today we may take for granted were happy memories for my father, even during war.
Your cooking demonstrates that it’s a small world, after all.
I’ve had the great pleasure of living in Latin America, South Africa and Asia, and in all those countries, the use of local, in-season ingredients is what informs how most people eat. There isn’t starchy or processed food in remote villages. I’ve had the most fabulous seafood in the Philippines and spectacular fruit and veg the world over.
This is how Tere and I eat. We prefer salads and fresh fruit. We always eat our dinner on salad plates, and it is more than enough. I am the cook in our house, and processed foods aren’t part of our diet.
We do enjoy going out to eat as there are so many food choices in the area. Kansas City is often thought of as a barbecue town, and there really are wonderfully creative chefs doing amazing things with local ingredients.
So in sharing your rack of lamb recipe, are you trying to get Kansas Citians to expand their rib repertoire?
Lamb in Australia is a common food that is shared when family gets together. While Americans think of turkey at Thanksgiving time, lamb is a typical Aussie meal, and the taste of it conjures up memories for me.
In America, a rack of lamb might be perceived as a fancy meal, where in fact, it is very simple and can be ready for the table in 30 minutes.
I like to prepare Australian lamb, and Costco carries racks at a good price. I love serving lamb with a spring salad that includes goat cheese, cherry tomatoes, dried figs, topped with a raspberry pecan dressing — the flavors really complement the meat.
This meal is really an homage to remembering my family and heritage. Remembering those who have gone before us and sacrificed for our sakes is really what Memorial Day is all about.
Mary G. Pepitone is a freelance writer who lives in Leawood. E-mail her at email@example.com to nominate a cook.
Residence: Kansas City
Occupation: President and CEO of the National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial
Special cooking interest: Fresh, flavorful dishes
Family: Wife, Tere, of 30 years, three children and two grandsons
Memorial Day events: The AVTT Traveling Vietnam Wall is nearly 400 feet long, Traylor said. It will be accessible Friday afternoon through the closing ceremony on Monday. There will be a number of events with veterans, with free admission to the museum on Monday. For more details, go to TheWorldWar.org.
Rack of Lamb
Makes 4 servings of 2 chops each
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon pepper
6 garlic cloves, finely minced
1/4 cup fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped
1 (2-pound) frenched rack of lamb (8 chops) (see note below)
2 tablespoons canola oil
In a small mixing bowl, combine salt, pepper, garlic and rosemary together. Evenly coat entire rack of lamb with dry rub. Place on plate and cover with plastic wrap. Return to refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
1 hour before preparation, take lamb out of refrigerator, and allow it to come to room temperature.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Heat a cast iron skillet over high heat on stovetop. Add canola oil to pan and sear rack of lamb until a crust forms on meat.
With fat side facing up, place cast iron skillet with lamb in oven for 15 minutes.
A meat thermometer may be inserted between the bones, and rack can be roasted until the internal temperature reads 145 degrees for medium-rare; 160 degrees for medium or 170 degrees for well-done, according to USDA standards.
Remove from oven and cover loosely with aluminum foil and allow meat to rest for 10 minutes before carving. Cut the rack between the bones for individual chops and serve spring salad on the side.
Note: The term “frenched” refers to the trimming of the lamb rack so that the bone end of each chop is cleanly exposed. You can ask your butcher to prepare the lamb rack for you. Naylor often doubles this recipe to prepare 2 racks of lamb at a time with seasoning that can be as simple as using salt and pepper alone.
Per serving (includes 2 chops): 411 calories (48 percent from fat), 21 grams total fat (6 grams saturated), 158 milligrams cholesterol, 2 grams carbohydrates, 50 grams protein, 1,104 milligrams sodium, trace dietary fiber.