Sunday, May 26, 2013

Exotic/Disgusting Foods and Beverages Forum--Goose

     This is going to be one of the posts where “exotic” is definitely in the eye of the beholder.  For example, I understand that goose is a frequent meal in Europe, especially Northern Europe, and is fairly common in many Asian countries.  However, here in the U.S. it’s not common at all—I’ve never seen it for sale in grocery stores, and aside from the restaurant I reference in this post I’ve never seen it offered.  Here I’m referring to roast, entire goose—pate, which often includes goose liver, is sometimes available in the U.S. supermarkets that I’ve visited.
     Therefore, I was quite excited to try goose.  I got the opportunity in 2011, while I was working in the Chicago area.  My friends Ricky and Michele took me to a local German restaurant for my birthday, and there it was on the menu.  So after an appetizer of Oysters Rockefeller, and washed down with some good German beer (Edelweiss, among others), I gave it a shot.
     I’d like to digress for a moment and discuss my feelings about poultry in general.  I’ll never understand why white meat is considered superior to dark meat.  Whenever you read a poultry entrée description on menus they almost always proudly mention that’s it chicken or turkey breast (white) meat.  Well to me that’s not a selling point.  I think white meat is dry and bland, whereas its darker cousin is delightfully moist and flavorful.  (I realize that dark meat may be fattier, greasier, and therefore less healthy than white meat, but I’m just talking about taste here, and, in this case (like many) unhealthier trumps healthier.)  So when we’re carving up the Thanksgiving turkey, it’s the drumstick or thigh for me, and others can fight over the breast.
     Goose left me favorably impressed.  It was very good.  I found it to be rather like a cross between turkey and duck.  Its meat was distinctly darker, juicier, and even a little gamier than turkey, which all added up to a superior taste.  (As it turns out, I like all poultry, but I would rank them, best first, as duck, goose, turkey, and chicken.)  So all in all, goose helped make that a very enjoyable birthday.
     Geese themselves are known as being among the most aggressive of birds.  Due to this and their large size they’re sometimes used as watch/guard animals.  In the wild, they’re also pretty territorial, and occasionally even stand up to/attack human trespassers, especially if they’re guarding their young.
     Most people probably know that a group of geese is called a “gaggle,” but apparently a group of them in flight is called (among others) a “skein.”  My dictionary defines skein as “A quantity of yarn, thread, silk, etc. put up after it is taken from the reel in a loose twisted shape.”  Meaning, this stays consistent with the tendency of animal group names to not make any damn sense.
     (Oh, and in case you were wondering, I’m a fan of pate as well.  Not too surprising, considering I like liver in pretty much all of its forms.)

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