Ep15 - Christmas Goose - Twelve Foods of Christmas

 Ma Cratchit preparing to carve the Christmas goose as Bob, Tiny Tim and all the Cratchit family watch excitedly as Scrooge and the Ghost of Christmas Present watch on unseen. from A Christmas Carol, 1951.

Ma Cratchit preparing to carve the Christmas goose as Bob, Tiny Tim and all the Cratchit family watch excitedly as Scrooge and the Ghost of Christmas Present watch on unseen. from A Christmas Carol, 1951.

Goose - Twelve Foods of Christmas

Goose - the squatted, more flavourful, dark meat alternative to their dry, white-melted fowl cousin the turkey. The custom and popularity of eating a goose during autumnal and winter harvest and holidays stretches from when they were domesticated by the Egyptians over 4000 years ago.

  • The custom and popularity of eating a goose during autumnal and winter harvest and holidays stretches from when they were domesticated by the Egyptians over 4000 years ago up until fairly recently.

  • Eaten by the Ancient Greeks, in China, India, the Middle East, in Northern Europe it was given as an offering to Odin and Thor.

  • It was traditionally eaten during Hannukah until it fell out of favour in later times possibly due to the expense and rarity of kosher-geese.

  • The Scandinavians in the Medieval ages began drinking ceremonial beers or ales from vessels in the shape of a goose.

  • In the UK it was eaten on 29th of September for Michaelmas throughout the Middle Ages.

  • In the early 12thc geese were driven from around the country to the Tavistock Goosey Fair in Devon.

  • Goose is higher in fat than chicken and turkey but lower in fat than lamb or beef. And most of that fat is under the skin and not in the meat itself. The meat is darker, richer in flavour and lower in fat.

  • A common complaint is that goose doesn’t yield as much meat which is true and needs to be considered when calculating the size of bird needed to feed ones guests.

  • In the Christmas Carol when the Ghost of Christmas Present takes Ebenezer Scrooge to the Cratchet house they are eating the then traditional goose. After Scrooge’s grim and foreboding visit from the Ghost of Christmas Yet-to-Come he wakes up and is giddy with having been given another chance. There’s the iconic scene where he flings open the window and asks a young man if the prize turkey in the Poulterer’s shop is still there, when he replies that it is he offers him half-a-crown if he can quickly notify the shop to have it brought to Scrooge’s where he then takes it to the Cratchet’s.

  • It's a Christmas tradition to go to the Smithfield’s Market Christmas Eve sale where they are clearing out their stocks for the upcoming closure of the market over the holidays. It’s a worthwhile spectacle where top-notch meat is sold at a fraction of what you would spend at the supermarkets. I usually buy a goose and a beef loin but they have turkey, lamb and pork.

A Christmas Carol poster.jpg
 Medieval illustration of goose driving

Medieval illustration of goose driving

Recipe Ideas

Pasta Minchia - Christmas Leftovers Version

Many years ago, thinking of ideas of what to do with some remaining leftovers of duck I came up with a recipe that I have christened Pasta Minchia.  I am aware that it may not be the most polite of recipe names as "minchia" is an Italian word of some profanity, but I have named it this because it's the word I used when i first tried it because it was so good. It works with any leftovers and is a great way to use them up. The below recipe is for two and is very easy:

Ingredients:
Leftover goose, turkey, duck or chicken meat
500-600g Tagliatelle
Several cloves of garlic
1 Leek
2 Tbsp Smy Chutney plum gumbo or marmalade or cranberry sauce
Generous amount of double cream
Parmesan cheese
Ligurian olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. The recipe gets going rather quickly so you can put your pasta on cooking a bit earlier or now depending on your own pace.

  2. Heat some olive oil in a pan and gently cook the garlic for one minute.

  3. Add your leeks and get those going and then add in the goose making sure to gently heat up the leftover meat without overcooking it.

  4. Then add in your double cream and plum gumbo, marmalade or cranberry sauce and cook for just a few minutes.

  5. Once your pasta is ready and drained you can add your duck, leek and garlic sauce and stir well to distribute and coat everything together in the sauce.

  6. Stir together well, season as necessary, top with grated parmesan cheese and serve.

 Film poster for Scrooged, the 1988 classic starring Bill Murray

Film poster for Scrooged, the 1988 classic starring Bill Murray

 Iris Weddell White illustration

Iris Weddell White illustration

A few years back I decided to bundle all my interests together and rebrand from Smy Chutney to Smy Goodness so that all my preserves, crafts, products and workshops could live together in one place. My own podcast seemed a suitable place to uncover, understand and enjoy things related to food, art, history and design. Please do share your stories, knowledge, questions and suggestions. In the Smy Goodness.com podcast section you will find the podcasts and all the items that we are discussing and will have ongoing discussions about each week.

You can also follow Smy Goodness on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr. I'd like to thank Ashley Palmer for use of his Roland R-09 and Matteo Borea for creating the music. Thank you for listening.