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Good times, good times

I bought this teapot at a country show on the day after the Brexit vote. I overpaid for it, but it seemed like a thing I should buy. It’s a WWII relic celebrating victory over Hitlerism (that’s what it says on the teapot). There was a quiet electricity on the grounds that day. Brexit may yet be torpedoed by the forces of…bureaucracy and civil service, but on that day it was fine and hot.

Christmas carries on apace. We just got a phone call from the butcher in town saying our turkey was not delivered. We had ordered an unusual variety, you see. But he’s happy to substitute one of a different variety, so there will be Christmas dinner.

One year, we had a goose. That kind of sucked, to be honest.


Comment from Deborah HH
Time: December 21, 2017, 10:04 pm

I would have bought the teapot, too. Liberty and Freedom. You’re our DEW Line Squadron, Stoaty.

My mother’s family always had goose for Christmas. But after she had her own family, no more goose. We usually had turkey (again) and ham. Husband’s family had turkey and wild turkey. His grandfather hunted/shot and cooked a wild turkey every year. He’d skin it, soak it overnight in buttermilk, then wrap it in bacon and roast it. Would you like dark meat or darker meat?

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: December 21, 2017, 10:08 pm

The bird of choice around here is the free range bronze turkey. There’s one big supplier in our area. Ever so expensive (like, seriously…very, very expensive). We tried it one year and thought it tasted kind of dark and gamey.

So we ordered a barn-reared white turkey. For the bland. We were the only people that ordered white, and there were no whites in the shipment. So – bronze it is!

Comment from Armybrat
Time: December 21, 2017, 10:17 pm

It is good to have a husband in the food business. He ordered our prime rib from one of his meat suppliers. It is honking HUGE and purchased at cost so it was obscenely cheap compared to market cost! It’s so big, we’re going to cut it in half and save that for Valentine’s Day or our anniversary. Prime prime rib for Christmas here!

Comment from Durnedyankee
Time: December 21, 2017, 10:20 pm

I tried to cook a goose over a campfire once at a Christmas re-enactment.

The failure is legend.

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: December 21, 2017, 10:34 pm

Prime rib is the real old tradition Christmas roast over here, Armybrat, though I doubt one in 100 people knows that. The damned things are so expensive though and the quality so unpredictable that Her Stoatliness and I have more or less given up on them.

If this year’s bronze monstrosity is a disappointment I might be tempted to make mooing noises when we walk past the butcher’s shop next December!

Comment from Ric Fan
Time: December 21, 2017, 10:56 pm

This is why I love twitter: The guy is a funny historian who posts all sorts of neat information/photos. For example, did you know that the Lindisfarne Gospels weigh as much as an adult badger?


Comment from Some Vegetable
Time: December 21, 2017, 10:56 pm

We are going to try something different for our Christmas dinner this year since there will be just the two of us this time. A friend told us about an Italian tradition called “The Feast of the Seven Fishes”. Essentially it’s just what is sounds like: seven seafood dishes. We’re going to freestyle a little working from the name and doing no further research, but given enough white wine, I think it’ll be fun and make a nice change.

It’s really supposed to be on Christmas Eve (everybody knows you have Lasagna on Christmas Day, right?) but hey, close enough.

I’ve never had goose but from what ya’all are saying, I will move it way down my list of things to try.

Comment from gromulin
Time: December 21, 2017, 11:02 pm

I picked up a 3-rib standing PRIME rib at Costco yesterday, around 7.5 pounds…$116. But what a chunk of meat. They had Choice and Prime, and looking at them side by side, you could really tell the difference. If I can just roast it right this year so it’s pink all the way to the edges, I’ll be happy. Real horseradish, cream cheese biscuits (‘merican usage), garlic mashers and grrrrravy…bring it on!

Comment from Armybrat
Time: December 21, 2017, 11:03 pm

Some Veg- living in Boston with a very large Italian population, the feast of the 7 fishes is a big deal. The husband has ordered in hundreds of extra pounds of seafood for his co-workers. It’s a serious tradition here with people getting into fights over which order dishes should be served!
uncle B- I’m very familiar that prime rib is the Brit tradition…but I grew up overseas.

Comment from Janna
Time: December 22, 2017, 12:27 am

I just have whatever my sister cooks. Set the kitchen on fire ONE time….they don’t even want me in the kitchen. (I didn’t burn it down, I just kinda scorched it) (a little)

Suits me just fine.

I only have a kitchen because it came with the house.

Comment from tomfrompv
Time: December 22, 2017, 12:55 am

Yes, just enjoy whatever the host or hostess cooks. Whatever you do, don’t ask cooking questions. Like “do you brine the turkey”. Or, “in your family, do they call it dressing or stuffing”. Or, even something like “do you measure the temperature or go by time” will cause a real problem especially if the cook was a lady.

The Dressing/Stuffing question yielded the entire history of Missouri, from Indian days to present times, and why “northerners” never learning proper cooking because of their snooty ways. The thermometer question got my plate yanked out from under me, taken to the microwave and re-deliverd very hot and very dry. Not to mention looks all around.

I’ve learned my lessions well. I sit, I eat, I leave nothing on the plate. Never go into the kitchen.

Comment from thefritz
Time: December 22, 2017, 12:58 am

My father in law over cooks the tenderloin every year. I beg him to stop the cooking so the middle yields at least a warm reddish section for me to enjoy.

(I would really like a nascently warm purple/red hunk of nirvana!)

I end up with one or two slices of oh so barely pink…and to think I’ve been married into this family for 32 years. When Nana and Pop are gone it’s gonna be a whole new ballgame.

Oh, by the way, if you like to cook and enjoy seafood gumbo check out the Deplorable Gourmet – https://www.amazon.com/Deplorable-Gourmet-Horde/dp/0692991123/?tag=aoshq-20
My recipe is on page 259. Merry Christmas everyone!

Comment from Durnedyankee
Time: December 22, 2017, 2:06 am

Now someone tell mrs_durned and Tim_Sonofdurned it’s SUPPOSED to be pink! The buggers both mooed at me last time I ordered one and it came to the table perfect pink!

Comment from Uncle Al
Time: December 22, 2017, 3:23 am

@gromulin – I wouldn’t blame you for being reluctant to try a new roasting technique, but I swear I’ve been using this very successfully for years.

Rub the washed/dried roast with a little high smoke point oil, e.g. canola, mixed with your choice of seasonings. I use coarse salt, freshly ground black pepper, and a touch of garlic powder.

Adjust your oven rack so that the roast (on a rack in a pan) is about 8 inches below the broiler element at the top of the oven.

Pre-heat the oven to 500°. Put the roast in the very hot oven and set your timer for the weight of the roast in pounds multiplied by seven. Your roast at 7.5 lb means 52 to 53 minutes.

Do not open the oven door even a little bit until you’re ready to carve and serve!

When that time is up, set the oven on broil (also 500° if your oven works that way) for 10 minutes. That time is independent of the weight of the roast.

At the end of that 10 minutes, turn the oven off. Leave the roast in the oven for two hours. Then it will be pink throughout and the outside fat will be nicely crisp.

The seven minute multiplier is for medium: pink throughout. Use six minutes for med-rare, eight for well-done.

I like this method because I have the two hour “resting” period to do all the other prep for the meal. The only down side is I’m monopolizing the oven and can’t use it for anything else. With planning, it doesn’t matter much.

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: December 22, 2017, 11:47 am

I may be a wild animal that lives down a hole in the ground but even I draw the line at pink meat, or worse… Must be some strong stomachs out there in minionland!

The goose thing is a bit vexed. Well cooked goose is very nice but something was amiss with the one we had a few years ago. The problem with goose is that it needs to be eaten at one sitting. Cold goose sandwiches on Boxing Day? I don’t think so…

Comment from Can’t Hark My Cry
Time: December 22, 2017, 3:51 pm

Some Vegetable–like Armybrat, I live in a community with a substantial Italian-heritage population, so the Feast of the Seven Fishes gets written up in the paper during December on an average of once every other year. For some reason, the dish that is ALWAYS mentioned is Bacalao–salted, dried codfish reconstituted and cooked with stuff. The recipe given this year looked intriguing, and for reasons I’d just as soon not try to analyze I have had a one-pound package of salted dried codfish in my freezer for quite a while now, so I decided to give it a whirl.
The codfish has to be soaked for 3 to 4 days, water changed daily.
Fortunately, I am a salt-craver, so I’ll probably be OK even if turns out that didn’t eliminate quite all the salt …

Comment from Wolfus Aurelius
Time: December 22, 2017, 4:31 pm

I’m about to head out for the Christmas break and may not be able to stop in until after the 25th, so I wanted to post these two items:

Since I rarely see anything like a “winter wonderland,” I’ve written my own lyrics to that song:

“Later on, we’ll perspire —
‘Is that A/C? Turn it higher!’
We drive and we grump
O’er potholes and bumps,
Sweating in a sticky swampy land!”

And my version of Rudolph:

“Rudolph the Sweat-Soaked Reindeer
Oozed onto Santa’s bench;
And if you ever smelled him,
You would surely say, ‘What a stench!'”

“. . . Then one soggy Christmas Eve
Santa came to say,
‘Rudolph, with your sweat so thick,
Take a bath! You make me sick!’
Then all the reindeer dunked him,
And scrubbed and really made him gleam;
Rudolph the Once-Foul Reindeer —
You’ve never seen an a** so clean!”

An early Merry Christmas to everyone at Sweasel!

Comment from BJM
Time: December 22, 2017, 7:22 pm

@Some Veg…yep I started the sauce today…made with a couple of pork steaks bone-in… meatballs and sweet fennel sausages will follow. Funny how the sausages never seem to make it into the lasagna.

I canned a couple of pints of dark sweet and sour cherries last summer in a thick, lush Kirsch-y syrup in anticipation of trifle or Pav for Christmas. Maybe I’ll go the easy route and just spoon it over vanilla ice cream.

Last week I made a pan of candied orange rind…a family tradition…my Cara Cara oranges didn’t really sweeten up this year but the peel is delicious. It’s disappearing at an alarming rate.

Anyhoo..whatever your family traditions…have a wonderful Christmas!

Comment from Deborah HH
Time: December 22, 2017, 10:41 pm

@Durnedyankee—I think it was awfully brave of you to attempt cooking a goose over a campfire.

Comment from Durnedyankee
Time: December 23, 2017, 1:57 am

I tried it at Heritage Village in downtown Dallas – during “Candlelight” one cold December day/evening.

Every year after that the ladies who re-enact the log cabin settlers would come out and ask me how the goose was doing.
Some of the guys tried to salvage it by cooking it in the fireplace in the cabin – that just made it worse.

Chicken pot pie – I’ve done, yeast bread, I’ve done, roast leg of lamb, turkey soup/stew, not to mention assorted ‘what have we got’ meals thrown together from the cookbox. I’m quite comfortable with dutch ovens and cast iron skillets and open flame and coals (it’s not an event unless I burn my fingers at some point, sorta like it’s not a project around the house until I’ve spilled some of my blood on it).

the goose though….my nemesis. I doubt I will ever try one again.

Comment from Niña
Time: December 23, 2017, 6:07 am

I travelled up to Washington state to spend Christmas with my eldest daughter, and we’re having lasagna at friends’ for Christmas dinner. They promise to make the onions and mushrooms avoidable, and we are bringing pies. It sounds terrific!

I’ve never had goose. I’d try it, but I’d never bake one without knowing if I liked it.

Comment from jwm
Time: December 25, 2017, 3:03 am

I’ve heard many stories of goose disasters at Christmas. I’ve never heard a wonderful goose-at-Christmas report. Never once.


Comment from Crabby Old Bat
Time: December 26, 2017, 10:00 pm

My grandmother (German immigrant) cooked a goose one Christmas. It was wonderful – fifty years ago, and I remember it still. Usually, though, she defaulted to the more typical German Christmas fare: ham. I’ve always been too intimidated to try cooking a goose myself.

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