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Sailing with Charlie – Goat Water

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 “In the Caribbean they have some unique sounding names for culinary specialties so don’t be afraid to be adventurous. Goat Water is especially good,” Charlie explained to guest George.

“How disgusting,” said George, “I suppose they strain it through a fine membrane.”

“No, no, actually it’s a delicious stew made from goat meat, onions, okra, dumplings and spices.”

Local culinary specialties are always of interest to any visitor to a foreign country and Caribbean visitors are no exception. Historically Caribbean cuisine was different to that of North America and Europe — ingredients available to the majority of the population, who were slaves, were the poorer cuts of meat and fish. There were the appendages of animals, like cows’ and bulls’ feet, pigs’ tails and trotters, chickens’ feet, and the rather strongly flavored goat. Local Caribbean menus often feature one or more of these dishes.

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On the last day of the charter, captain and crew were all good friends so after handing the boat back to the company, the guests, including George, invited Charlie for lunch at The Pub in Road Town. On the menu of specials was Goat Water. Charlie persuaded George to order it and then nipped across the road to the small grocery and bought a bottle of melon Gatorade. Then back at the pub, with the collusion of one of the charter party, Charlie filled a soup bowl with the light yellow liquid and slipped it onto George’s place setting.

When George finally took his place at the table after trying to sight a couple of non-existent dolphins in the harbor, Charlie was tucking into a plate of fish and chips while the other two were preparing to attack cheeseburgers. George was speechless and gazed down and then up again from his plate of ‘goat water.’ Then he looked around the table for any sign of merriment at his expense but everyone was straight faced. Then George actually put his nose to the bowl and smelled his ‘soup.’ It was then that Charlie almost choked on a piece of fish and immediately the whole table cracked up laughing.

George finally got a proper order of Goat Water and loved it…thick and spicy, as promised.  George is not likely to forget Goat Water ever again!

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Julian Putley is the author of ‘The Drinking Man’s Guide to the BVI’, ‘Sunfun Calypso’, and ‘Sunfun Gospel’.

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