I may have mentioned this…but, I’m half Italian. That means a lot of things. And, it also means that I didn’t have a credit card until I was 25. See, the Italians like to have cash; ‘Cash is king’, my dad would say. Once I got stuck for 7 hours at LaGuardia with only $4 (pre-ATM cards) – no proud Italian would ever make this mistake. I learned the hard way that it’s always good to have some cash around.
So, when the credit card companies bombarded all of us in college with invitations to join their elite debt-amassing clubs – I simply wasn’t allowed. OK, sounds odd. Here I am 19 years old and I’m … ‘not allowed’ to have a credit card. Well, yeah. See, parents had to co-sign for the cards and mine refused.
Good thing too.
Very early on, a few of my best friends learned the hazard of credit card debt…Actually, a bunch did. Some had racked up bills by charging things like spring break in Mazatlan or Jamaica or South Padre Island. Others spent their credit fortune on cases and cases of really gross, cheap beer and wine coolers. And, the cards had interest rates of like 25%. I don’t claim to be a math scholar, but you don’t have to be one to realize that the debt grew really quickly for my minimum-only paying pals.
Others waited until after we graduated from college to use credit cards to live well beyond their means.
One friend who had really over done it…ended up having to declare bankruptcy. Like before declaring bankruptcy was all the rage. Sure, he tried to avoid this.
He had always been inspired by Lucille Ball (chronic over-spender / negotiator), who in one episode wrote on the back of a check she was cashing at the bank: ‘Be a lamb, please don’t process this check until Thursday’. He, like Lucy, tried to negotiate with his creditors…but, alas, to no avail. And, at 24, he had declared bankruptcy. No one would just…be a lamb.
Years later…he’s all fancy, has a big business – But, he had to overcome the bankruptcy to get there. Now instead of asking creditors to ‘be a lamb’ he’s dining on rack of lamb.
Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb (Serves 8)
- 3 8-rib lamb chops – we got ours at Whole Foods and the nice butcher guy trimmed them up for us
- 1 tsp vegetable oil
- 3-4 garlic cloves minced
- 1/3 cup fresh leaf parsley chopped
- 1 1/2 tbsp fresh thyme – finely chopped
- 1 tbsp rosemary – finely chopped
- 1/4 cup Progresso italian style bread crumbs
- Extra Virgin olive oil
- salt / pepper
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
1. Heat the vegetable oil in a heavy skillet over high heat.
2. Pat the lamb dry and season generously on all sides with salt and pepper
3. Add the ribs to the hot oil and brown on all sides – about 5 mins per side – meaty sides only
4. Transfer the ribs to a broiler pan
5. Make the herb coating by mixing together:
- Chopped thyme
- Chopped rosemary
- 2/3 tsp of salt
- 2/3 tsp freshly ground pepper
- Progresso Bread Crumbs
- 2 tbsp olive oil
6. Coat the meaty parts of the seared lamb with the mixture – you may need to gently press the mixture into the lamb chops
7. Roast uncovered for :15 minutes
8. Cover with tin foil and cook an additional :10 minutes, or until a thermometer reads 120 degrees
9. Remove from the oven and let the meat rest – the internal temperature should rise from 120 to 130 degrees
NOTE: The thermometer may not be your best friend here: The ribs were extremely rare even though they registered at 130 degrees….So, I had to cut the chops and broil them about :02 mins on each side until they were safely cooked through…
10. Serve – I served with bleu cheese mashed potatoes (YUM!) and roasted balsamic Brussels sprouts
As a credit-card free half-Italian college student, I was lucky: When I got my first card at 25, my friends were still paying off bills for beers and, sadly, wine coolers long since consumed. Credit card companies, bank tellers, utilities people probably aren’t gonna just ‘be a lamb’ – so better to rack up lamb, instead of debt.