Submission hold around my throat
Father, son and holy goat. ~~ Labrat
(BlatherMunch is our weekly -- on Sundays -- foodish respite from political bias, snotty intenuendo, and liberal glee. For more essays on food and dining click here or 'BlatherMunch' in Categories).
About the last thing I ever thought could become a name-droppable foodie food is... goat meat.
Elite foodists have made this edible Third World flesh (AKA chevon, cabrito) as exotic and precious as once were such delectables as pheasant pearls, humming bird's tongues, and angel food cake.
Fact is about 63% of the red meat consumed worldwide is goat! Like rabbit -- goat is poor people's food -- it oughta be cheap. But it's not.
The demand and cost is high in the U.S. because ethnic eaters from the Middle East, Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean buy it like mad, and production is low. Add in us foodie elites willing to pay caviar prices, and that spells goat ankles at $10 a pound!
Then there's the beef industrial complex which has monopolized American palates through guile, bullying, disinformation, propaganda, and delicious, well-marbled T-bones since the turn of the 19th century.
(Remember those cowboys in the movies who'd always shoot or
otherwise persecute those goldanged sheepherders always pictured as
effete furriners who probably were schtupping their woolly 4-legged
friends who in turn were ruining the range for self-respecting steers? This was the disinformation part... Cowboys sleep with their livestock
at the same rates as the goatboys, according to Pew Research).
Beef is king in America, and while that may be changing, there's a long way to go before the steak and burger tastes fade from American palates.
(photo: Lynne the goat lady of Yelm)
Lynne Kofford-Di Cicco sells goat meat at the Columbia City Farmer's Market (Wednesdays). She and her husband Don Di Cicco raise large and meaty Boer goats at their Toboton Creek Ranch near Yelm .
She got into the goat business because she has a hard time digesting meats like beef. They originally bought two calves and two goats in 2000 to start up a breeding and meat operation but soon realized they were meant to be goatherds. They sold off the calves.
"We were hooked," she says. They now have a well-pruned herd of goats, sell breeding stock, as well as the meat.
An expensive piece of the overhead is having to go all the way to to Sandy, Oregon to slaughter. That's the nearest USDA abattoir licensed to handle goat. It's part of why her meat costs $25 a lb for primal cuts and $10 for everything else. It's about lack of demand -- if the market were better, these facilites would be more numerous or better located.
Goats give us plenty of other products: There's chevre and a host of cheeses from goat milk, and of course Goaty-O's, the Syrian breakfast cereal; and Goataloney the lunch meat of Uzbekistan.
Fact is: if you love lamb, you'll probably love goat... you may even like it better, as lean and as famously digestible as it is.
(When in West Africa, where goats outnumber humans (especially after the AIDS epidemic) we were frequently mystified about which of the swarming four-legged beasts were goats, and which were sheep. There were woolly goats, and short-haired sheep, and the words 'sheep' and 'goats' seemed to be interchangeable. It was explained that they were closely related but the difference could be determined by noting the tails: sheep's went down, and the goat's went up).
Kids, born in the spring and early summer, are ready to eat in September/October. They taste better than their parents, and more importantly, they cook better. Roast the primal cuts of kid medium rare or they're tough as chewing gum. To make most goat edible, you gotta braise the hell out of it.
Lola (2000 4th Ave.) Tom Douglas' excellent nod to Greek cuisine, serves goat cooked in a tagine, the Moroccan, flat-bottomed casserole with a tepee lid.
(photo: certain goats are known to have terrorist connections).
We called Douglas (KIRO Saturdays, 4-7p) on the radio Saturday; he said he uses a woodfired grill to char the meat a little, then he gives it a classic braise (the addition of liquid, water, wine stock or all three) in the oven until it's tender and falling off its proverbial bones. After chilling, he picks off the meat and finishes it in the hot tagine with dates, and pistachios or almonds, and finishes it with cilantro puree or chopped sweet onions to brighten it up. It's served with cinnamon flatbread.
Get the meat in downscale ethnic joints such as Rosticeria y Cocina el Paisano in White Center where there's birria, the goat stew of Jalisco. I ordered the Vietnamese stewed goat at Rainier Restaurant on MLK Way, and they refused me, so sure were they that I wouldn't like it, round-eyed as I so obviously am.
(photo: Now that's sustainable! Can Herefords forage in the treetops?)
I'm still looking for Korean "black goat stew" in Seattle, a dish that's said to help old men's stickers peck out and them with bad knees to run fast, and jump high.
Will the American people ever take to this off-beat meat with its world-wide appeal and carbon tip-toe? There may be hope -- beef is getting less and less sustainable, (read affordable) and consumption of chicken, tofu, and farmed fish is growing every day.