The Case of the Elastic Goose
I’ve recently noticed that we have three large flocks of geese living nearby and while I haven’t been allowed to race out of the car to say ‘hello’ to them, I am always amazed at how calm each flock is, just sitting by the roadside dropping their feathers (ha, ha).
It’s lovely when in the morning sun, the feathers with little dew drops just sparkle in the short grass. I also like that geese are regal in their waddling; with heads held high and bottoms waggling. It makes quite a funny sight. And while most are all white with their distinctive yellow beaks, some are a little speckled but I guess that they are still not full adults.
As long as they don’t annoy me, I think that geese could be great companions.
“Klady – when we build our own house can we have geese? We could sit in the sun, I could sleep on the fluffy down and of course, occasionally feast on a really good free range goose egg.”
While I haven’t actually tried a goose egg, they must be big as Klady keeps joking about ‘golden eggs’. I don’t understand what this means but presume that they are expensive to buy.
I am also regularly told about the European tradition of eating goose for dinner. In German speaking Switzerland where Klady lived for ten years, the Weihnachtsgans (Christmas Goose) was the preferred meat dish for traditional Christmas Eve dining. Stuffed with apples and spices, the goose was slowly cooked, releasing a lot of fat into the pan (and smoke in the kitchen), with the goose fat then being used to roast the accompanying potatoes, making them crispy and delicious. Well many, many years ago, Klady’s mother wanted to celebrate the return of one of her daughters who had been travelling internationally for a decade, with a traditional European Christmas - just like a when she was a child in far northern Europe.
The menu included a roast Christmas goose with all the trappings; roast potatoes and carrots, cranberry jam, beetroot salad, herrings, rye bread, homemade sauerkraut just to name a few, followed by gingerbread, cakes and with an Australian twist, juicy mangoes! The local Sydney poultry shop was contacted and the largest possible goose ordered to feed at least 14 people. It was delivered, stuffed with apples and spices and the slow cooking for Christmas Eve started.
Two hours later the goose was checked and lo and behold – no fat had dripped in the roasting pan. OK, maybe the heat was too low – up the heat and keep monitoring. After three hours, the goose should be ready. The oven was opened, smoke filled the kitchen and still, no goose fat for the roast potatoes. Very strange. The goose was gently placed to rest onto a serving platter while several competing cooks finished the accompaniments in the tiny kitchen. And then Klady’s family Christmas dinner was served. Klady was asked to carve the goose and so she started very slowly, firstly removing the spiced apple stuffing, slicing off the wings and legs, and then focusing on carving the breast – the most delicious part of a well-cooked goose. The carving knife stopped. It wouldn't slice or cut. Klady started to hack at the bird and still couldn’t cut off any breast but finally, she managed to almost slice one piece off and then – PING – it bounced back onto the carcass. Very strange. OK – perhaps it was time to taste a bit of the flesh. No. It was tough, chewy, elastic and totally inedible. Klady’s mother was deeply disappointed and started crying, while the guests voted to ditch the bird, have a stiff drink and continue the feast. It’s a no brainer that the bird was returned to the local poultry shop. “So sorry Mrs K, your goose is just one of 12 that have been brought back after Christmas. While I understand you are deeply disappointed and upset, my supplier is a trusted provider and I will find out what happened.” ‘Trusted provider’ what a joke. The bloody ‘goose’ was a pelican.