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It was interesting to read the June 19 article on the promotion of goat meat consumption in Okinawa (“Okinawa trying to get goat back on the menu“) and on the efforts to reinvigorate what is apparently a traditional industry there.

I write from the perspective of someone from a country where goat meat has long been a staple. Jamaican goat farmers have never been able to keep up with the local demand for goat meat. Jamaicans primarily consume goat meat in a spicy Indian-style curry, with the “fifth quarter” being used to make soup. Curried goat, as it is called in Jamaica, usually eaten with rice or in a roti, has always been a staple on local dinner plates — for lunch or dinner. Moreover, no event, from the poshest dinner parties to ceremonies such as wakes for the dead or wedding receptions, is complete without some curried goat and a pot of goat soup on the menu.

In contrast to the negative reaction by some young people in Okinawa to the distinctive odor of the meat, in Jamaica this odor is usually welcomed. The scent is usually more pronounced in the ram, and it is argued that the meat from the ram is tastier than that from the female or ewe. It is also held by many that the soup made from the ram’s head in particular and other organs, apart from being delicious, delivers some degree of sexual potency. Regardless, like most Jamaicans, I love curried goat, and one of my frustrations since living here has been the inability to obtain goat mutton to prepare. Mutton from sheep does not quite substitute. I imagine other Jamaicans living here, as well as nationals from other countries where eating goat is normal, have similar problems.

I wish the Okinawa goat-rearing industry well, and I hope their efforts will lead to goat mutton becoming much easier to acquire than it has been thus far, both in Tokyo and elsewhere. I would also be interested to learn the Okinawan approach to cooking it. The dishes listed in the article seem like a good place to start! Who knows, perhaps, in time, goat mutton could be found to be a worthy substitute for whale meat on school lunch menus and could even be exported.

norman munroe

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