This Sunday, while we were in the middle of applesauce making, our neighbors stopped by to pick up our goats. They’re keeping them a few days to breed their does.
We can’t say we’re sorry to see them go. They’ve been noisy . . . and incredibly picky eaters. All those myths about goats eating everything are not true. They won’t eat grass or apples. And seem to have a yen only for fruit trees and raspberry bushes.
Truth is, the other goat owners in the neighborhood look at us somewhat askance since we don’t raise goats for milking . . . but for meat. It doesn’t matter that chevon (goat meat) is the most widely consumed meat in the world. Or that it’s one of the healthiest. Or even that it’s milder tasting than lamb.
It’s just that it seems so strange to eat goat meat. I’ve changed a few minds with a potluck contribution of curried goat, made according to recipes bestowed upon me by my husband’s aunt and sister. A few bites and all doubts are gone.
But I can’t cook curried goat for everyone.
My husband hit upon the best way to help people understand that goats can be multi-purpose livestock. When we first moved into this neck of the woods, he was invited to join a four-wheeling excursion sponsored by the Swamp Stompers, a local off-road club. Although he prefers taking these old logging roads by mountain bike, he had a good enough time.
But then came this awkward moment . . .
Just as everyone was relaxing around some barbecue, it came up that he liked goat meat. Immediate silence. Just like in those westerns when someone says the wrong thing in a saloon and the piano player, the chatter, the clinking glasses all stop on a dime.
“It’s a lot like venison . . . in fact,” continued my diplomatic husband. And all the noise started back up with some backslapping to boot. Since then, that’s all we’ve had to say to explain our odd choice of food.
There’s an important copywriting lesson in this story.
While people are drawn to the new and exotic, people are also wary of the unfamiliar. Like goat meat. And these moments of wariness can turn into roadblocks when it comes to selling your product.
Your job is to keep the excitement of the new alive, but also calm down the Nervous Nellies. And the best way to do this is to use analogies, similes, and metaphors.
Yep, back to English 101. These two wonderful rubrics of grammar will move your copy forward big time. Just as a refresher, these are all ways to use some creativity and compare something that is unfamiliar to something that is familiar. Usually you’ll use the words “like” or “as” somewhere in the process.
For example, the health benefits of acai berries are intriguing. But they don’t give you that usual berry flavor you’d expect from a berry. So explain that it tastes like chocolate. And with the funny-sounding goji berries from Ningxia Province in China you might say it tastes like a mix of carrots and raisins.
Even if these points of references aren’t exact, they serve their purpose. They provide a jumping off point into familiar-seeming waters.
The same is true with health concepts. Don’t throw a bunch of technical terms at people that sound like something from Planet Mars.
For example, don’t explain that macrophages’ phagocytosis is responsible for the uptake and degradation of infectious agents and senescent cells. Who can get their mind around that?
No, explain that macrophages are like the vaccum cleaners of the immune system, sucking up unhealthy cells and unwanted trespassers.
Give your readers something they can relate to. Which is easier for you to understand? Phagocytosis or vacuum cleaners?
Put this tactic to work and your prospects will read your next copy with that comfy, confident feeling a good analogy brings.
Oh, and by the way. I’ve included my curried goat recipe at the end should you be able to get a hold of some good local chevon. It’s worth looking for . . .
- Wash 3-4 pounds of goat meat with a little distilled vinegar and water. Pat dry.
- Rub meat with the mixture: 1 bunch fresh thyme, 1 chopped onion, 5 chopped scallions, 3 T Blue Mountain Curry (or other West Indian curry mix*), ½ t salt, pepper. Let sit for at least a half hour on the counter. Ideal if you season it and let it sit in the fridge overnight.
- Put meat in a Dutch oven with a little cooking oil. Shmoosh a 4 whole pimentos (allspice seeds) and toss them in. Add a whole scotch bonnet pepper (careful not to let it pop open), a few thin slices scotch bonnet pepper or a scotch bonnet pepper sauce. If you can’t find any scotch bonnet you can use habanero pepper. Add just enough for your spiciness tolerance.
- Put it on medium-low heat until it’s reached a nice steamy simmer and then turn the heat down to a simmer. Let it cook slowly for at least an hour until meat is tender. In the last 20 minutes, you can add a few cubed potatoes as well.
Serve over plain rice or rice and pigeon peas.
*Note: West Indian curry mixes taste different from the Indian ones. I think it’s due to less fenugreek and more coriander. You can use an Indian one but it will taste differently.