Now that all of your silver has been washed, polished and packed up after another successful Thanksgiving meal, it’s time to plan your Christmas feast. This year I’ll be roasting a goose; my perfect turkey record is beginning to make me smug, so I’m looking for a brand new challenge. The preliminary list of sides includes pork stuffing, Yorkshire pudding, Waldorf salad, twice-baked mini potatoes with truffle oil, and green beans with garlic butter and almonds, all of which will be preceded by a hot hors d’oeuvre of Swiss chard and gruyère mini-quiches. The pie will be apple, but instead of the lone Gala or Braeburn, I’ll throw in a single, finely chopped pear, balanced with a little extra salt and spice.
If you find the above menu as brilliant as I do, I’ll be posting the steps you’ll want to take over the course of the next month, under the heading “a do-what-I-say Christmas.” A month is the perfect amount of time to design and execute a holiday dinner, whether you’re planning for your entire extended family or just you and your special friend. Go ahead and infer whatever you want from “special.”
In fact, the first task is already at hand; it’s time to order the goose, as you’ll of course want to use fresh, not frozen. I always pre-order meat in person, and I dress for the occasion, just as I would for air travel, a dentist appointment, or a bank heist: a-line skirt, sweater set, pearls, tights. When it comes to securing the best from your butcher, it’s all about teeth and tits.
A 12-pound goose feeds four to six average diners, and that’s the biggest you want to go. You may be tempted to overestimate the amount of meat on your bird once she arrives – don’t. She’s just big-boned. Size corresponds to age with geese, and they don’t wear their years well, so if you plan to host more than six, make a turkey or figure out how to cook two geese in one oven. If you have a double-oven, congratulations. You’ve made it.
For anyone who’s in, check back at least weekly to stay abreast of new assignments (or follow on the Twitter @maryspena, thanks to Mr. P) and rest assured that if you do what I say, your Christmas dinner will raise your culinary acclaim to a whole nubba lebba.