I always hate this bit. With all the nice things to eat that you two-legses will be making for Christmas, and the whole spirit of sharing, Christmas can be a wonderful time for pets. Trouble is, most of the things we would like to eat, we can’t. Or, if we can, we can’t have anywhere near as much as we would like.
Take turkey, for instance. Really nice…and good for us too… but only if you cook it without anything added… no oils, butter, and definitely no stuffing…and we shouldn’t have much at once either. (We won’t mention the ‘borrowed’ turkey episode…)
Chocolate. We almost all love chocolate. Not allowed. No nuts. No fruitcake or mince pies. Nothing with onions. No gorgeous, greasy sausages and bacon. We shouldn’t really have ham either, becuse it is salty. (We won’t mention the ‘borrowed’ ham episode either…).
And, in the interests of interspecies cooperation (and if I can’t have stuff, I don’t see why a cat should) I feel obliged to mention that all those things dogs shouldn’t have? Cats can’t have them either.
Mind you, I imagine their are a few of my four-legged and feathered friends around who just wish we would all go vegetarian about now…
D. Wallace Peach
While the old birds shopped for Christmas presents, Felix and Mort made their annual Black Friday visit to the local tavern to plan Christmas dinner. They’d taken charge of the cooking years ago, and ever since the first year – when they’d admittedly ruffled a few feathers – the girls happily left them to it.
They poured over recipes and shared reviews while Phil, the barkeep, kept the bourbon flowing. Felix spread out his clippings and arranged them into piles. “Time to talk turkey.”
Phil leaned on the bar. “Having turkey this year?”
“Goodness no!” Mort shook his head so hard his chin wobbled. “Goose! We always recommend goose.”
Phil raised an eyebrow. “What about Christmas traditions?”
“I’ll have you know, goose has a very long history,” Felix said and searched for the magazine article. “All the way back to the ancient Egyptians. Did you know that Marco Polo reported seeing geese in China? And Queen Elizabeth ordered that goose be served every Michaelmas in honor of her victory over the Spanish Armada.”
“But what about Ben Franklin?” the barkeep pointed out. “He was a big fan of turkey.”
“A turkey if there ever was one.” The two cooks laughed. “He should have stopped at electricity.”
“Nothing beats goose,” Mort said. “Goose fat has a far better flavor than peanut oil. Some people even save it for cooking. Did you know you can buy pure goose fat on Amazon?”
Phil shook his head. “My wife hates all the grease.”
“Aah…” Felix said, taking Phil under his wing. “But everything about roasted goose tops turkey. The skin is crispy. A goose is juicier than a turkey, and its dark, succulent flesh has a distinctive rich flavor all of its own, with just the right amount of gaminess. Most importantly, the meat isn’t dry; it flakes off the bone.”
Mort’s beady eyes turned dreamy. “Alongside the golden goose, I’m thinking airy potato dumplings, red cabbage, and a baked apple with lingonberries. And apple-sausage stuffing.”
“And liver paté,” Felix added, waving a recipe like a flag.
Mort started sifting through the piles. “Shredded confit! Or we can pack the meat into pastries for deep-fried goose spring rolls.”
Phil replenished their bourbon and slid a recipe from the pile nearest him. “Goose crown pink with celeriac and cranberries. I don’t even know what that means, but it sounds good.”
Felix sighed. “We need to make a decision and get our ducks in a row. How about classic orange and thyme-scented goose? With all Mort’s fixings.”
“Sounds perfect.” Mort beamed. “We should slow-roast for 4-5 hours at 120C. We’ll still get crispy skin, but the breast will stay tender. Then for the last half hour, we’ll turn the temperature up to 220C.”
“You’ve convinced me,” Phil said, topping off their glasses. “I’m trying goose this year.”
“Your wife will love it.” Felix grinned and swayed on his perch. “Oh, my. I’m feeling loose as a goose!” He rested a wing on the bar, holding himself up.
Phil helped them gather up their recipes. “Time for you two turkeys to head home or your gals are going to cook your gooses.”
With a laugh, the two strutted from the bar, waddles wagging and tail feathers fanned. “We did it,” Felix chortled. “Another successful convert.”
“It was easy.” Mort danced a little turkey trot. “He was a sitting duck.”
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About the author
D. Wallace Peach started writing later in life after the kids were grown and a move left her with hours to fill. Years of working in business surrendered to a full-time indulgence in the imaginative world of books, and when she started writing, she was instantly hooked. Diana lives in a log cabin amongst the tall evergreens and emerald moss of Oregon’s Coastal Mountains with her husband, two dogs, and Pinky the Cat.
Find all Diana’s books on Amazon
The Rose Shield Tetralogy:
An Invitation from the Small Dog
If you would like to help Ani make her advent calendar this year, send your letters to Santa, festive memories, short stories, flash fiction or poems to the Small Dog. She will post them every day through December until Christmas…and there are still spaces left!
She would especially like to hear from her four-legged or feathered friends (she has a special place very close to her heart for turkeys)… but she says that two-legs are better than none, so she will accept submissions from humans too (and even no-legs if there is the odd literary snake out there…). To get in touch, please use the form on the contact page or email Ani at firstname.lastname@example.org