His Goose Was Cooked ... and Shrunk
Columnist Bob Leo recounts an adventure with a Christmas classic.
Anyone who as ever read the Dickens classic Scrooge or seen one of the innumerable spin-offs of the story, has heard of a Christmas goose. For years now, after a particularly satisfying meal, I have reiterated the expression , I am stuffed like a Christmas goose. (And we're off!) Just what the hell is a Christmas goose any way?
My research show geese as being revered in Egyptian, Greek, Roman and Celtic mythology, but no-one seems to know how the bird became associated with Christmas. I guess it's not hard to figure out. Look out the window at any expanse of grassy area and sooner or later you'll see some. A hardy bird, readily available and fairly easy to catch.
So as most of you know I work at Tewksbury Country Club. I see geese all the time. More than I care to say. We've used scarecrows, fake predators, dogs, bells, whistle, but still more geese. One day the owner, Mr. Marc Ginsburg, and I took opposite ends of a rope and tried to shoo a bunch away. Did you know geese can play double Dutch ?
Well a few Christmasses past I decide I was going to find out for myself just what this Christmas goose thing was all about. I ordered a 25 pound domestic goose from the local butcher. On most holidays I try to prepare some novel dish that most people would probably never try themselves. Rabbit, octopus, suckling pig, sea urchins, you name it I've cooked it. So there I was with my 25 pound Christmas goose. I washed it, dressed it, stuffed it, seasoned it, and put it in the slow cooker for 25 minutes a pound. The aroma was succulent to say the least.
Finally it was done. I opened the oven door, and much to my suprise, my once monsterous bird was reduced to the size of a pea hen. A pea hen swimming in a pond of rendered fat. I would venture to guess my goose was reduced to about 60% of it's original size. I could have bought 15 chickens or a half a dozen turkeys for what I paid for that Christmas goose. ( they even haunt me in their afterlife)'
You know what this means, no recipe again this week. Why bother ? Not to fear though I already have some classic Christmas dishes that I will be more than happy to share with you next week. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all.