Got Your Goat

Here’s a question to all you food historians out there: can you tell me what was the first meat source that humans domesticated?

The answer: Goats…which is odd, because I don’t see goatburger on any menus out there.

Humans figured out how to tame the Capra hircus along the ridges of the Zagros Mountains that run through western Iran and northeastern Iraq. Although goats are born wild, they are somewhat easy to tame, and would have been done so easily by those so long ago.

Probably initially domesticated for their hair and milk, it wouldn’t have been too long afterward that somebody figured that goat kabobs were a pretty tasty treat. Eating a domesticated animal is always much easier than eating an animal that you have to hunt (such as boars, bison and the ever-frightening feral chicken).

Goat meat is actually fairly nutritious, especially when compared to other more famous meats. One ounce of goat meat has only 31 calories, in contrast to the 79 calories that ground beef carries. Goat has 5.9 grams of protein per ounce, versus 4.8 for pork. Goat even has less fat per ounce than chicken.

So why did it fall out of favor? Probably because it is stronger in flavor (some would say ‘gamey’) when compared to the subtleties of pork or chicken. But it IS still in favor to several cuisine throughout the world today, including Afghani, Caribbean and other areas of the world that cannot support beef or swine with ease.


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