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The Ultimate Christmas Dinner Goose

My Adventures with the Goose/Gander and What I Discovered about Foie Gras in my Search for the Ultimate Canadian Gourmet Christmas Dinner.

Dear friends and cheerleaders on the Slovak World! It was so nice of you to share fond memories and recollections about the Christmas traditions from your childhood, when I spontaneously asked for advise on getting a goose from the field to the Christmas table.

Christmas has come and gone and it was an adventure and process of enlightenment for me, with respect to building gourmet traditions, Canadian style.

As you all know about my goose/gander problem , and have expressed opinions which range from admiration to horror - I must fill you in on all the details, to get everyone on my side.

In my desire for an absolutely whimsical and decadent Christmas experiment, I sent an impetuous Christmas invitation to my aunt in NYC, along with a plane ticket and a proposed Christmas menu of a Roast Stuffed Goose For Christmas Eve; Foie Gras on Christmas Day; Stuffed Goose Neck for Boxing Day and Goose Bouillon throughout.

When she accepted, I immediately arranged to pick up a goose from a local farmer and started to fatten it up with corn and dumplings for the 2 weeks before Christmas, in order to be able to deliver the promised Christmas menu.

Having just moved to the country and being virtually inexperienced (as I have lived in the city most of my life) , I had to rely on my knowledge of human anatomy , my childhood memories of seeing things which were kept secret from a childs eyes and an abrupt description of the process by the farmer who sold me the bird.

I transported the big, white, angry gander along with a bag of corn and a pile of hay in my old van and moved him into my studio for the duration.

Spreading the hay in a large cage I thought to keep my captive comfortable for the last weeks until G -Day .(He ended up taking over the studio - wandering between my sculptures - leaving his marks wherever he went - on warm days he even went out to peck at the grass!)

While carefully steaming the corn fresh every morning and keeping the water bowl clean and replenished with spring water, I desperately tried to find out everything possible about the natural process of getting your food from the live state to the cooked one.

My true companion for the task, was my second Bible - the Larousse Gastronomique and most of the hints and encouragement to accomplish my intended challenge, I received from this Book of Books.

My mouth watering from the delicious descriptions of various delicacies in Larousse - I was still somewhat uncertain about how, exactly I was going to perform the deed.

Just 24 hours before the crucial moment, I had the most enlightening discussion with a Greek poultry farmer at the local Farmers Market, who turned out to be a neighbor of mine, as I discovered during the course of conversation, which was primarily about the killing of the goose.

I started my discussion with him, influenced by all of you, my friends, who felt sorry for the goose being put on my table and not yours. It was an interesting conversation.

I found out that I can bring my gander in to the poultry farm where they will perform the Last Rights, for a certain price. However, as the discussion progressed, and the guy described that once he has finished the plucking, there would be no liver left in the goose.

It will all be discarded in the garbage along with all the other goose and duck livers in Canada. The forever present government inspector, will not allow any of the good stuff to be sold!!! Regulations.

I have heard of foie gras being sold in Quebec and it was ok there. Now I know the real reason for the Quebec desire to separate. Also, I read about a guy in BC who was selling Foie Gras from the basket on his bicycle and people enjoying the delicious product.

So - taking the gander to the poultry farm was out - if I wanted Foie Gras....

Now , after moving to the country, I had an intuition, that I should do some of the REAL down to earth stuff and not just be a gentleman farmer or wanna be simple- man stuff. Many people around me are vegans, vegetarians, partial vegetarians, low cholesterol addicts or experimenting Buddhists; in short, nobody eats much meat anymore- I suspect its all due to being PC - politically correct, or EC - environmentally conscious. (What about all the food they buy in the store).

When I was a child, in Latvia, growing up without electricity, we ate what we grew, we did not have garbage; in fact - there were only two places on the farm where there were any visible remnants of garbage of any kind.

A pit in a forest for tins which decomposed within a few years and a pile of stuff at the back of the barn where all the biodegradables went . The pigs ate the scraps, dog ate the bones, cats took care of mice etc.

My bottom line is that - It is not a Sin to Kill What you Eat . It might be, if you just buy it in the store, where somebody else had to kill it for you in order to feel comfortable and have a no blood, no pain , no visible suffering, dinner prepared for you. I am trying to find out for myself, what it means to get your food on the table, the way our ancestors did.

I realize it might not be a pleasant experience in our - wrapped in cotton wool conscience society . It is not easy- especially since there is another living species involved. The message today is - we must be able to live off what we are able to grow and gather (not just to buy).

I got my goose on the Christmas table. I got my Foie Gras. And I did not pretend.

All the best to everybody who took any interest in my disparate task to go the forgotten way. After this experiment I will live an ordinary life as I am supposed to.

Happy New Year!

Yours truly,

Uga - udrava@freenet.npiec.on.ca

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