James Beard Publication of the Year 2017

Sheep go to heaven. Let goats into your kitchen.

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Good morning. It’s Good Friday.

Today, let’s talk about goats. Cabra. Chevon. 🐐. Or, as I grew up calling them — खसी (KHA-SEE). When anyone asks me what my favorite food is, I have two words for them: goat curry.

Or goat anything, for that matter. My obsession with goat meat goes back to my childhood days when my parents would make thick, spicy goat curry on Saturdays and an elaborate blackened goat for special feasts. In fact, we took goat so seriously that my grandfather would raise two hulking goats for Dashain, our version of Christmas. Every evening before supper, he’d take a heap of rice from his plate, pour a generous amount of melted ghee, and mold the rice into oval-shaped fist-sized balls. He’d then set them aside and finish his dinner. After dinner, he’d take the rice-and-ghee balls, walk across the courtyard to the goat pen, and feed the goats individually. I asked him one winter why the goats were eating so well. “We need to fatten them up,” he told me.

For many years after I arrived in the United States, I was deprived of goat curry. During my four years of college in Tennessee, I never had goat once—I ended up eating squirrel at least twice. But since then, whether in London, Washington or New York, I’ve managed to find a butcher who will not only sell excellent goat but also knows exactly what I want: a whole leg (bone-in and cut into cubes) and neck rosette, perfect for slow-cooking immaculate, succulent goat curry.

Why am I talking about goats today, you ask? A few days ago, one of my friends shared an article with me about how goat ended up on Easter menus in Texas (thank the Tejanos of South Texas and Norteños of Northern Mexico). That got me thinking—why isn’t everyone making goats for Easter? Or Christmas? For Thanksgiving? Doesn’t baking a ham or roasting a lamb get monotonous? God may favor the sheep, but at R&K, we take goat very seriously. So in the spirit of Easter, and a plea to give goat (meat) a chance, here are some of our greatest goat reads.

Eating goat in Mongolia | Eating goat in Mumbai | Eating goat in Minneapolis

And right on time for Easter, we’ve published this lovely piece on a Mexican family that, for generations, has been making those artistic, wacky papier-mâché effigies that will spin, burst and burn in the annual “Burning of Judas” ritual over the weekend.

Also worth your time: this deep dive into Sichuan by R&K sister-site Explore Parts Unknown, where we tell you everything you need to know about Sichuan pepper, where to go for the best hot pot in Chengdu, and try to find out what’s up with that tingling sensation when you slam into a bowl of mapo tofu.

Now that I’ve managed to sweet-talk you into goats and peppers, let me tell you about my big Easter plans. I’m going on a trek to find some pandan leaves and make this Jaffna-style goat curry. What’s on your menu for Easter dinner? Since sheep get to go to heaven, invite the goats into your kitchen. Here are some of my favorite goat dishes you should try making this weekend: this leg of goat roast, featuring cumin (and whisky); this blackened goat; and finally, the king of kings, the slow-cooked goat curry.

While you’re basting the goat leg or stirring the curry, consider listening to the first season of our podcast, The Trip, where we take you on a journey from Havana to the Himalayas. Happy cooking.

I’ll be back next Friday.

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