Our friends at the British Goose Producers have been rasing the profile of their favourite dish, issuing a press release with seven interesting facts about geese. Here goes:

* The goose was seen through the centuries as the traditional roast meal for the Christmas table.

blackwell farm geese 034.jpg* Its popularity in Victorian times is illustrated in novels by Charles Dickens, including A Christmas Carol describing the Cratchit family’s Christmas meal.

* The goose is celebrated in nursery rhymes such as ‘Goosey, goosey gander’ and ‘Christmas is coming, the geese are getting fat’

* In the past goose fat was also used for medicinal purposes, rubbed on the chest as a cure for coughs and colds.

* The goose has also provided feathers for arrows, plumes for hats and quills for writing letters. Down filled one-piece suits and sleeping bags are used by Everest expeditions.

* Goose is the Christmas favourite in much of Europe. Some nations braise goose in wine or broth, serve it with pears and cognac, or even smoke it like salmon.

* In the Christmas song The Twelve Days of Christmas geese are featured on the sixth day, symbolizing in religion the six days of creation.

I still have a strong mental image of my mother trying to wring a goose’s neck with a broom handle one Christmas, and subsequently the rest of the flock looking in through the dining room window as we ate their brother (or sister). We switched back to turkey after that.