I've decided to cook cabrito. Cabrito is Spanish for little goat. Actually, it's more like sweet, cute, cuddly little goat. The word for regular goat is cabra. And cabron means billy goat, and also dirty old man. (I saw a man a few weeks ago wearing a hat that said Nadie me quiere, porque yo soy cabron--"Nobody loves me because I'm a dirty old man," but that's another story.) I started to do this because it's on my List. The List consists of thirty things I'd like to do, thirty I'd like to be, and thirty I'd like to have. Thing number twenty-five to do is "cook cabrito."
I started my adventure by calling the meat market (duh). Here's how the conversation went:
"Thank you for calling ****** Meats. How can I help you?"
"Um, yeah. Do y'all sell goat meat?"
"No, we don't really sell goat meat. We only sell whole goats."
"Um, ok. How big are these goats?"
"I'm not really sure. I don't work with them much."
"Can you estimate how big they are?
"You really need to call back in the morning and talk to Bill. Bill is the owner, and he knows all the stuff about goats."
"I just want a ballpark size. Are they as big as a pig?"
"Not really. They weigh between about ten and thirty pounds. The smaller ones cost more per pound, but I don't remember the cutoff weight, or the prices. You really need to talk to Bill."
"But they're not all that big, right? It's not like buying a side of beef or anything, right?"
"That's right. "
"OK, thanks. I'll call back for Bill tomorrow."
Armed with this knowledge(?), I decided to check some references to see if I could find out any early tips about cooking cabrito.
From James Beard's American Cookery:
From The New Fanny Farmer Cookbook:
From the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook:
From the Betty Crocker Cookbook:
So the standard American cookbooks aren't much help.
I tried Classic Italian Cookery. Italians eat goat, don't they?
I tried The Mediterranean Cookbook. Greeks, or Turks, or Spaniards, or North Africans--somebody over there has to eat goat, right?
On Food and Cooking: Science and Lore of the Kitchen. Harold McGee knows all. He'll hook me up, right? He mentions goats. He mentions that they were domesticated ten or eleven thousand years ago, in what is now Iran or Iraq. Great. Maybe I need a cookbook in cuneiform, so I can cook some goat.
In desperation, I'm turning to other sources. Those sources are Dr. Bubba and Rupe. Dr. Bubba works with my sister's husband, at the Los Alamos National Lab. Doing Science to nuclear weapons. He is from San Angelo, though, and his family eats goat. I think. Rupe lives in San Antonio, where people eat goat, and his dad is a bigwig with a spice company there. We'll see what these characters can tell me.
Stay tuned for the next installment of the great goat adventure. (Yes, I know I could google a recipe for cabrito. But that's not as funny, and I wouldn't entirely trust a recipe for goat that someone just left lying around the internet.)