The Lambkins


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A banana slug

Really this blog should be titled “Big Horn Sheep, Lambkins, and Longevity.”  But that seems too convoluted.

Let me start by saying that my family has been associated with two really questionable team mascots.  Our daughter, Sara, is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Cruz.  For those who are out-of-the-UCSC loop, their mascot is the Banana Slug.  And my mother, father, brother, 2 cousins, and I are all graduates of Colorado’s Fort Collins High School.  Our mascot?  The Lambkins.

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Circa 1962

A quick survey of friends’ and family’s team mascots results in feisty mascot names like Bulldogs and Hornets and Seawolves and Dragons.  Even Andy’s team, the Chino H.S. Cowboys, sounds a little tough (see his bittersweet/funny blog in today’s Andy’s Corner).  But Lambkins?  Really?  At least we’re unique in that we’re the only high school in the country with that name.  And at least today’s Lambkin emblem is a little feistier looking than when I was in attendance.

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Circa 2019

Why did they ever get that name?  Well, Fort Collins is the home of Colorado State University, and their mascot is the ram.  Not surprising, since the Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep is the state animal of Colorado.  So is a baby ram a lambkin?  That’s what we were taught at school.

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Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep

In case you’re a hunter, Bighorn sheep can be hunted in Colorado – but it might take you 20 years in a lottery before you get your chance to bag ONE.  And – vegetarian alert – a Sonoma friend whose son just got his license to shoot one says that their meat is absolutely delicious.

But back to Lambkins.  And longevity.

I recently spent a grand 3 days and 4 nights touring around Brooklyn and the Lower East Side/Nolita/Soho/Tribeca with four of my Class of 1962 Lambkin friends.  Two of us have known each other since we were kindergartners at Dunn Elementary School.  Two more became Besties during a memorable 5th grade year.  And the 5th Bestie started Lincoln Junior High School with us.   We’ve managed to keep in contact for 65+ years and have had previous get-togethers in Glen Ellen and Santa Fe and Cincinnati.  How is that for a friendship’s longevity?

I fixed dinner one night in Brooklyn for my BFFs.  I thought about serving a Colorado dish – but didn’t have any Bighorn sheep meat at my disposal – plus a lamb recipe for the Lambkins just didn’t seem quite right.  I thought about one of my all-time favorites: Longevity Noodles, a recipe from our daughter’s New Yorker friend and cookbook-writer Grace Young.  It’s the recipe we chose to post when we first began this blog some 2 1/2 years ago.  But we were staying in our son’s condo and I was terrified I’d set off their very-sensitive smoke alarm and evacuate the whole building if I tried stir-frying in an extremely hot wok.  So I ended up with my version of a Colorado green chile stew, omitting the pork and adding potatoes.  Even with that, Bestie Janeene stood valiantly on a stool, frantically waving a towel under the smoke alarm, while I roasted the green chiles over a hot flame.  Thanks, J!

So here’s to longevity!  And to BFFs!  And to Bighorn sheep!  And to the Lambkins!  But maybe not so much to Banana Slugs…or are we supposed to be embracing them, as we are bugs, as the next wave of our dining future?  If so, vegetarianism here I come.

Colorado-ish Potato and Green Chile Stew

This is tweeked from a Deborah Madison recipe.  Frankly, I never remember having Green Chilie Stew, growing up in Colorado, but I love the simplicity of this recipe, even if it’s authenticity is dubious.  It’s easily made vegetarian and can be made even more nutritious by throwing in a handful of greens – such as chopped spinach or chard.

  • long green chiles such as Big Jim or Anaheim or poblano chiles, roasted and peeled
  • 3 T vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 lbs Yukon gold or red potatoes, chopped into 1-inch chunks (no need to peel)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 c chicken broth or water or vegetable broth
  • Sour cream, Mexican crema, or Greek yogurt to finish (don’t omit – it adds so much)
  • Chopped cilantro to finish

Chop the chiles coarsely. Heat the oil in a wide pot; add the onion and cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the coriander, cumin, garlic, and potatoes, followed by the chiles, along with 1/2 teaspoon salt and stir. Cook together of a few minutes, then add the water or stock. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer.

Cook and cover until the potatoes are completely softened, about 25 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper. At this point you can mash the potatoes, or at least a few of them to give the dish a creamy sort of background, if desired.

Pour into a bowl; add a dollop of sour cream and the chopped cilantro.

Recipe brought to you by and Andy and Ann.


  1. Jeanie Fleming says:

    The stew was delicious, and our guided trip with Ann around NYC and Brooklyn fantastic. Amazing to think how long the 5 of us have know each other, and still have great talks, food and trips. Thanks for this one, Ann (and to son Travis and Hannah for the swish condo).


  2. Tricia says:

    Banana slugs? How have I never heard that?? What fun with your high school friends! That sounded like a wonderful trip. I’m sure they loved the stew!


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