The Greylag Goose – evolved from a species of ancient goose, which was domesticated at least as early as 1360 BC.
|Wild Goose: horizontal posture and|
slim rear end.
It is a wild goose … and often mixes with Canada geese as it finds resting and feeding grounds (gravel pits, lakes and reservoirs) around the UK …
|Farm Bred Goose: erect posture and|
fat rear end
… the truly wild flocks are found in Scotland – where there is not as much ‘protection’ of their sites ... while in the south of England they tend not to migrate.
Migration takes place in Spring … finding new breeding grounds perhaps if their pastures have been depleted, or are taken over by other farm animals.
|Sebastopol Goose -|
this is a new one on me!
Domesticity reigns now – but there are various breeds listed as Rare: Brecon Buff, Buff Back, Embden, Grey Black, Pilgrim, Sebastopol, Shetland, Toulouse, West of England …
|Roast Goose with stuffing and|
good roast potatoes
Roast Goose, as an alternative to turkey, is a good choice – but it will serve fewer people, and though having a high fat content, most of this is under the skin, rather than in the meat, which means that during cooking it melts and bastes the breast, keeping it juicy.
The extra goose fat found inside the carcass can be cut away, rendered and used for frying or roasting … delicious! I gather it was an aphrodisiac in Ancient Greece and Rome … perhaps now?
|Ancient Egyptian Stele showing|
Amun-Ra as a goose, man and ram
25th dynasty - c 700 BC
Though Greylags have been revered across Eurasia, linked with the goddess of healing … in Ancient Egypt geese symbolised the sun god Ra ...
... in culture they often feature … raising the alarm when the Gauls attacked Rome in 390 BC … and its role in fertility survives in modern Britain with the nursery rhyme Goosey Goosey Gander …
Should you roast a goose – the pulling of the wishbone derives from the roasted goose at Michaelmas (29th September) – when geese were at their best to eat …
It goes without saying the best geese are organic, free-range, reared in the traditional way.
|Those Geese no longer have to walk to|
experience this ... they may stay at home!
The Goose Fair at Michaelmas has been held for centuries at Royal markets … the Geese were walked to the market … some farmers covered the geese’s feet with tar and sand to protect them from wear and tear – they ‘walked’ 8 – 9 miles a day …
Over the millennia geese have served us well – from those ancient times - for food, for quill pens – choose a primary feather from the left wing as the curvature would bend away from us right-handed writers …
|Battle of Agincourt (15th C miniature) from the|
Chronicles of Enguerrand de Monstrelet
… as too feathers for fletch arrows - in medieval times Fletching, a village in Sussex, was a major producer of bows and arrows – many of which were used by Henry V’s armies in the Battle of Agincourt in 1415. (PS good pub there!)
Goose Down is considered to be the finest quality for a duvet and thus a good night’s sleep – much needed perhaps after that roast dinner.
That is G for Gorgeous Goslings, Gandering Ganders, Gregarious Greylags … from Aspects of British County Rare Breeds …
Counties with the letter G …
(note some Counties have been retired!, or amended over historical local government … but some I’ve included)
England: Gloucestershire; Greater London; Greater Manchester
Northern Ireland: None
Scotland: City of Glasgow
Wales: Glamorgan; Gwent; Gwynedd
Goosey Goosey Gander - the nursery rhyme
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