Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Turkey Overtook the Festive Goose; Farming from Land to Mouth

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Turkey Overtook the Festive Goose; Farming from Land to Mouth

Article excerpt

Byline: Bill Weeks

CHRISTMAS is just about upon us once more but the season of goodwill, good cheer and a right merry time to all may not be so true for many poor souls living in less fortunate parts of the world than we who still have the good fortune to live in the only civilised part of what was once Great Britain.

But let's not be churlish. There are so many things to wonder about at Christmas, particularly for those of us who live in this glorious countryside.

Do we know where the turkey came from?

Most of us know our fine Tom Turkey, whether free range or intensive, was a native of the USA.

Christmas is a time for bonhomie and turkey - we shall have a magnificent free range beast from a favourite North Northumberland farm, stuffed with my own special brandied chestnut stuffing taken from a recipe I brought back from America in 1961.

Though turkey still remains the traditional role as the Christmas dish it hasn't always been the case.

As I said it arrived from America some 400 years ago, possibly from Mexico, and it was not a main feature of Christmas until the end of the 19th Century.

Up until the advent of the turkey, goose had been the main meat dish for Christmas and in cities goose clubs were a favourite means of raising, by weekly instalments, the wherewithal to have a real blow out on Christmas Day.

I reckon goose is the prime main dish for Christmas dinner. Turkey can be somewhat dry, but a goose... Never!

Your true festive goose should be reared extensively with access to water for a swim, and, like turkey, raised slowly on a low protein diet.

I also think that your goose or turkey should be dry plucked or ploated. This could possibly increase the price but the risk of water borne bacterial infections could be reduced.

As for the stuffing - well a good Christmas stuffing should contain a fair proportion of succulent chestnuts. …

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