OK – prepare yourselves for a shock. I myself am still reeling from it . . . looking around in a sort of bewildered way, wondering how it all happened.
Here’s the big news: I have a goose in my (very miniature) fridge . . . which I am apparently going to try and cook on Christmas Day in my (very miniature) oven. Yes. I told you it would be a surprise. And not only that – my sober judgment has collapsed so completely that I not only have a goose in my (very miniature) fridge, but I also am the proud possessor of 2 cans (cans!) of goose grease with which I am going to prepare the roast potatoes!
I’m quite stunned about it actually. One moment of wondering if perhaps I ought to try and do the traditional English thing since it’s perhaps our last year in England and look where it’s gotten me! I’ll be pouring boiling water all over a goose and poking it full of holes with a darning needle and hanging it by open windows to dry and wondering if this is how goose is actually supposed to look when it’s done and dealing will all the emotional scarring that will result from the whole experience. And having succumbed so far (don’t you always have a horrible urge to say “succame” instead of “succumbed”? Or is that only me?) into the Traditional English Christmas Dinner Menu . . . I have gone the last and unalterable step and thrown in the towel completely. I actually have a Christmas pudding in all its raisiny, suetty, blackness sitting in my kitchen, waiting to be steamed for 2 hours in the oven and lit on fire for dessert. (Or is that the Christmas cake you’re supposed to light on fire? I’ll have to double check that.) This whole thing is very disconcerting.
For one thing, I have no expectation that any of us will actually LIKE any of it. We’re doing this purely out of a very noble and stoic spirit . . . wanting to have actually DONE the English Christmas dinner. Unfortunately it appears that most of the English actually eat turkey at Christmas nowadays . . . and that in and of itself seems to be a bad sign. They have veered away from that very Dickensian ideal of a Christmas Goose, and we can only ask ourselves, “Why?” Is it because the goose tastes bad? Because it’s such a pain to cook? (I hear that there’s so much fat that you have to tip it all out once an hour to prevent lighting the house on fire.) Or is it because goose ISN’T actually traditional and Dickens was just making things up? None of these options sounds very promising for how we’ll like our dinner, to say nothing of whether or not I am capable of actually cooking a goose.
On the other hand, we have positively revelled in the mince pies . . . and that might mean that there’s some hope for us that we might like traditional English holiday fare. The mince pies are truly quite fab. And I speak as a person who despises a raisin above most other things. And suet scares me out of my wits. Basically anything containing a BLACK raisiny interior would be a food group which I would be bound to dislike intensely. And yet, in spite of all, we eat mince pies like there’s no tomorrow. Mince pies are omnipresent here in December. Even at Starbucks they sell mince pies which is quite hilarious. Everywhere we go we are offered mince pies and mulled wine . . . at every carol service in every church they are handing them out by the bucketful, and even in the “Pound Store” where we take the kids to shop for each other’s Christmas gifts they have a little card table in the corner where they hand out complimentary mince pies and plastic cups of mulled wine. And we like it so much that we continue doing the same thing at home – my kitchen is well stocked with mince pies and mulled wine for this coming week. So perhaps it will turn out that we have an inexplicable taste for English Christmas food in spite of its random appearance, and that we will find ourselves in the coming years trying to duplicate it at home. Then again, I might go ahead and have some spaghetti material and ice cream on hand just in case – especially since all the McDonalds will be closed on Christmas . . .
13 thoughts on “Unexpected News”
Are you going to put pennies in old men’s hats, too? Well, whether you’ve got that penny or a ha’penny, God bless the Merkles at Christmastide!
For a minute I thought you were going to announce a pregnancy in the family…although I guess that makes it expected news…
Two can of goose grease? Wow. Sounds very quaint in your farmhouse and I really hope you eventually post pictures of the lovely roast goose! Merry Christmas!
LOL! It never occurred to me that they would have “pound stores” in Merry Olde, but of course they would!
But of course you’re not really doing the Dickens thing unless you boil a pudding in your washing boiler. 😉 But perhaps I’d do well to keep my fingers still, lest you get another bright idea that you might regret.
Beckah, I want to encourage you with the fact that we fed 22 people with the two geese that Virgil and Zac shot the day before Thanksgiving. Mind you, we ate it on Sunday, not on Thanksgiving as some of the kids had hoped. Virgil took them from the river to the oven with great skill. He used his Idaho brother’s recipe of stuffing them with apples and onions, pouring beef broth over it and covering it with strips of bacon. He roasted them at 275 for 6-7 hours, and I tell you it was a hit with Hurts and Barrys alike. I hope your Christmas goose is as successful. It really is possible. Merry Christmas!!!
I was amazed when making mincemeat cookies for an aunt to discover that those are delicious, too.
My husband has spent several Christmases in England with friends and loves the whole English Christmas routine: goose, mincemeat, mulled wine, and Christmas pudding. If, at any time, you want to post baking tips on making those (especially the mincemeat and Christmas pudding) with U.S. ingredients, our family (especially my husband) would love it!
This is so cool. I bet it turns out just great. Keep us posted on how you like the goose. I had duck in France once and…well…do keep us posted on how you like the goose.
I’ve always sort of wondered about Christmas pudding, too, and whether it was any good. If there are any Britishers reading this, forgive my insularity–it’s just that black pudding sounds so awful. There’s always blood pudding, too, which sounds worse. But then, we over here have Jello pudding, and I’m not sure it’s really “all that,” either.
Having just finished reading “A Christmas Carol” I would like to inform you that it was a turkey that Scrooge bought for the Cratchit family, and it was a Christmas pudding that the Mrs. set on fire. She seemed to experience the same anxiety you are feeling. Seems to me in the movies they always had a goose.
Good luck with the goose, and a very merry Christmas to you all.
The movies might say goose, but everyone in England does always have turkey. Unless of course you live in a huge country house with a big Aga and a husband who earns enough to afford it.
However the rest is quite true. Nothing is complete here at Christmas without raisins, mixed peel, apple, orange, cinnamon, mixed spice, treacle and fair few glugs of alcohol!!
For top English recipes I would thoroughly recommend the Be-ro cookbook makes an appearance in Fortnightly purse.
I grew up with Mum using hers all the time and so when Grandma died I was first to grab hers from the kitchen rummage for kitchen gadgets no longer made as well. The Be-ro book is still re-published every couple of years though, but only posted within the UK.
I too thought for a moment that “a goose in my fridge” might be some sort of British euphemism for pregnancy :o)
I made my own mincemeat pies once and they were absolutely disgusting, though two of my sisters liked them. But perhaps British mince pie is better. 🙂