As the turkey is a traditional Christmas dinner here in the USA, the goose is a favorite Christmas dish in Germany.
Region: Throughout Germany
Photo: © Thaut Images
The goose is traditionally filled with apples, chestnuts, onions, or prunes. Common herbs and spices used are salt, pepper, marjoram, and mugwort.
The goose is traditionally served with red cabbage, dumplings, and a sauce.
Various theories try to explain how this tradition got started.
The most credible of these credits the tradition to an old custom of the Catholic Church. On St. Martins Day (November 11th), a day to honor St. Martin von Tours, it was custom to prepare and eat a "Martins-goose." Shortly after St. Martins Day began the Advent fasting period. The fasting period ended on Christmas Eve, December 24th, when another goose was prepared to celebrate.
Another legend exists that credits the tradition to the British. The legend states that on Christmas Day 1588, Queen Elisabeth I was eating goose for dinner when she was told about the defeat of the Spanish Armada. Out of joy and what she considered a good omen, she declared that goose would be served for every Christmas. This tradition is supposed to have spread throughout Europe.
The grey goose can weigh up to 26 lbs (12 kg). The white goose is smaller, weighing between 9 to 13 lbs (4 to 6 kg). Goose is one of the fattiest types of poultry. However its fat is particularly high in mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids that have healthful and protective benefits.