Lamb Shanks Abroad

My son-in-law has pointed out that a lamb shank goes under the truly fanciful name of souris d’agneau in French: rather a large mouse, I must say, but Wikipedia tells me it’s because of the oval shape of the meat around the tibia.  I suppose the bone sticking out represents the tail.

I already knew that it bears the vaguely aristocratic name of Haxen von Lamm in German – for those unfamiliar with this language, names with a “von” in the middle indicate the higher ranks of society – or the more humble term Lammschenkel. This led me to google the cut in other languages, and to my delight I found the wonderfully unappetising stinco d’agnello in ItalianLam skank (Danish) and lamschenkel (Dutch) bridge the gap between English and German. It’s a cordero in Spanish and a ramushanku in Japanese – a clear attempt at reproducing the English name with a Japanese accent that has inadvertently turned the lamb into a ram. None of these can compete  with the French though: what a poet that butcher must have been who first thought to compare a lamb’s leg to a mouse.

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