Friday, April 27, 2007

Day 6 Penny-Wise Eat Local Challenge

It was a tough day today in the real-life arena, and that bled a little bit over into the local eating thing too. Tomorrow is our final day; it will be nice to be released from the obligation to calculate costs, but I have learned a lot this week.

Tonight's dinner contains one of the "local-est" ingredients. Um, maybe I am over exaggerating there, but I bet I'm the only person in the challenge eating this tonight!

Years ago, when I was still in high school, the daughter of an old family friend was getting married. For whatever reason, there was going to be a goat roast to celebrate the wedding. My parents friend felt like it would be cheaper for him to buy the goats young and raise them up for the feast. When we arrived at the wedding there was indeed roast goat, but there were also two pet goats wandering around. When it came time to slaughter, come to find out it was easier to go buy two unknown goats than to slaughter Patsy and Daisy. I have always worried that if we tried raising meat animals we would end up the same way.

The goat we had for dinner tonight was one that didn't get sold at the 4-H auction last year.My friend, who raises meat goats, called to ask if we were interested in buying it.

I have bought goats from Sandy in the past. The first one we bought was very small. We took it with us on our trip home to visit our son in St. Louis and it fit nicely in our larger cooler. My son used to work with a number of recent immigrants from Bosnia, who tantalized him with tales of the deliciousness of roast goat. When I called him to let him know we were bringing a goat, he floored me by asking if I could get the head and bring it too. I was taken aback by the request. Turns out his friend, Patrick, the one getting an MFA in sculpture, had a hankering to make something out of animal bones. With great trepidation I asked Sandy if I could have the head; to my great surprise she said that many of her Muslim customers find the head to be a great delicacy, and of course I could have it. She would even show me how to roast it if I wanted. I passed on that, and called Bart to tell him the head was coming too. "Cool, can you get a bunch of heads?" was his reply. Yeah, like I am going to drive half way across the country with a cooler full of goat heads. "Well, you see, Officer, we are just taking them to my son so his friend can make a sculpture out of them..."

We roasted the little goat in a pan made for cooking a Thanksgiving turkey; stuffed with apples, onions and garlic, it was wonderful. The head went to Patrick's house, where he put it in the freezer section of the refrigerator WITHOUT telling his mother, (who actually owns the refrigerator) first. She was thrilled, as any mother would be.

This goat was a little larger; approximately 40 pounds dressed weight. We told the butcher that we wanted it left whole, thinking of that first tiny goat. We picked it up just before my son's wedding, when I was anxiously filling the freezer with muffins. Just in case I didn't have room for it in my freezer, I had asked a friend if we could keep the goat in her freezer until after the wedding, she agreed, adding "As long as there are no heads involved". I assured her there would be no heads.

Chuck and I went out to pick up the goat, armed with our large cooler. On the way I told him that I thought I might be getting to the point where I could raise my own meat animals without becoming too attached. He snorted.

Wrapped up in plastic, the goat was a little larger than I expected. Chuck went over to pick it up to put it in the cooler, and as he turned to walk towards me, I saw a goatish grin sticking out from the layers of plastic. Not only was there still a head on the goat, but the teeth had cut through the plastic and were grinning at me. At that moment I knew I wasn't yet ready to raise my own.

The goat, roughly the same size as our Labrador Retriever, did not fit in the cooler. When we got home, it didn't fit in the freezer either, but I hated to impose on my friend. We decided to butcher it ourselves. We laid it out on the kitchen table, and managed to cut it into 2 pieces- a front half and 2 back quarters. That did fit in the freezer. However, this past winter we bought a lamb, and when we took it to the butcher, we also took the goat parts and had him cut them into chops and roasts. Tonight we had a small roast, roughly the size of your two fists together.

The Menu:

Breakfast: Why, Yes! It is indeed the zucchini cherry muffin!
Lunch: Chile Relleno Casserole
Dinner: Goat flatbread sandwiches with spinach, green onion and cup cheese. (Cup cheese is apparently a Pennsylvania Dutch treat- it comes in a tub and is supposed to taste like brie. Let me tell you, this is some funky stuff! Ours came from Lancaster.)
Snack: that same yogurt and peaches (I've gotten so it is almost as satisfying as ice cream!)

Local Items:
Eggs: costed them yesterday
Anaheim chilies: costed them yesterday
Cheddar Cheese: costed it yesterday
Green onion: $0.25
goat: $4.00 (The goat cost, all told, $80.00 and weighed 40 pounds, this was about a 2 pound roast)
Cup cheese: $0.34 ($3.38 for the tub- believe me, we didn't use a lot!)
yogurt $0.24
Peaches $0.25

flat bread: costed yesterday

Not local
Spinach: $0.29

Total: $5.13; 74.00 with Wednesday's lunch, $50.37 otherwise

Top picture is The goat . Bottom picture is the cup cheese- See what I mean about it being funky stuff? A really unfortunate color and texture...And you should SMELL it!

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