Christmas goose

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Christmas goose
Goose with dumplings, red cabbage and sauce

The Christmas goose is a festive meal that is traditionally served at Christmas in German-speaking countries .


The origin of this roast goose goes to the Martin goose back, often at the memorial of St. Martin , was eaten before the beginning of Advent . Advent used to have the character of a period of fasting . This ended with the Christmas mass , and so a goose was prepared as a holiday roast.

Originally, roast goose was eaten in the Middle Ages not only on St. Martin's Day but also on Michaelmas on September 29th. The traditional Christmas dinner has been the “Mettenmahl” or “ Mettensau ” since the Middle Ages . This festive meal was a roast pork that was eaten on December 25th. The common people and farmers could only afford blood and liver sausages as festive dishes, which were called “Mettenwürste”, “Christmas sow” or “Christmas”. A part of this meal was saved together with figured bread and Kletzenbrot for those who died in the previous year and given to the poor. With growing prosperity during industrialization , the “Mettenmahl” was finally replaced by the much more festive roast goose, but sausages and roast pork are traditionally eaten as Christmas dinner in many families up to the present day.


There are several legends about the origin of the Christmas goose :

  • When the Senones attacked Rome in 390 BC. The city's geese are said to have sounded the alarm so that Marcus Manlius Capitolinus could initiate the necessary defensive measures. Since then the geese have enjoyed special veneration among the Romans (sacred geese of Juno ). So when the early Christians sought symbolic veneration in the form of food for the child of God, the choice fell immediately on the goose.
  • White is the color of innocence and purity . Since the Christ child is the symbol of these virtues, the first Christians introduced eating goose to Rome around 400 AD. Later other animals with white plumage or white meat were allowed to be eaten.
  • Influential gourmets are said to have found the dreary Christmas carp not too festive. For this reason, efforts were made to ensure that geese should be considered fish because of their affinity for water in the sense of the commandments. Since fish was one of the permitted foods during Lent, the term fish was interpreted very generously in the Middle Ages . So not only mussels , crabs and whales were called fish, but also other animal species that have adapted their habitat to water. This included, for example, ducks , puffins , beavers and geese. However, these controversial interpretations were already being questioned at that time. For example, Emperor Friedrich II questioned whether barnacle geese could be called fish. According to the idea at the time, fish grew up in mussels, and Friedrich II doubted that this type of geese, which only found itself on the coast of Northern Europe in autumn and whose breeding behavior could therefore not be observed, how fish grew up and could therefore also be called that.
  • In 1588, Queen Elizabeth I of England is said to have been eating a goose at Christmas time when the news arrived that the Spanish Armada had been defeated. Out of joy at this victory and as a token of a good omen , she is said to have declared the goose to be a Christmas roast. The custom is said to have spread to the European continent. Nowadays the traditional Christmas roast in Britain is no longer the goose but the turkey .


The goose is usually stuffed with apples, chestnuts , onions or prunes . Typical spices for roast goose are, in addition to salt and pepper, especially mugwort and marjoram . Traditional side dishes are red cabbage , dumplings and a sauce made from the gravy . Roast goose the Alsatian style is served with a sausage filling and sauerkraut . The side dishes of the Swedish Martin goose are Brussels sprouts and applesauce .

One of the oldest recipes for a festive roast goose comes from the cookbook daz buch von gute spîse (around 1350):

Diz is a good fill.
Stoz a goose at a spiz vnd suet daz kroese, nim four eyer
soten herte vnd nim dor zvo a brosmen beautiful bread vnd
kuemel dar zvo vnd a little pepper vnd saffrans, and nim
three served huones livers. Sometimes zvo sammene with
ezzige vnd with huener sode, zvo mazzen sur, vnd schele zwiboln vnd
snide them thin vnd tuo they denne in a port, tuo dor zvo smaltz
or wazzer and let them boil until they become soft. vnd nim
denne sur epfele, snit the core vz. When the twins are
cooked, throw the apples zvo, daz ez soft as you like, vnd tuo denne
daz painted and the apples and the twins all in a pan,
and when the goose is fried, so zvo lide, put it in a pan beautiful
vaz vnd guez daz condi elements are veber vnd they give out.

This is a good filling.
Put a goose on a spit and cook the middling. Take four hard-boiled
eggs and add crumbs of white bread and caraway seeds and a little pepper and saffron , and take three
boiled chicken livers. Mix them with
vinegar and chicken stock, but not too sour, and peel and thinly slice onions and
then put them in a saucepan,
add lard or water and let them simmer to soften. And take
sour apples, cut out the kernels. When the onions are
cooked, add the apples to soften them and put
the mixture and the apples and onions in a pan
and when the goose is fried, cut it up, put it in a nice container and pour the sauce over it and serve it.

See also


Web links

Commons : Christmas Dinner  - Collection of Images, Videos and Audio Files

Individual evidence

  1. Hans Bleibrunner: Niederbayerische Heimat , Isar-Post Verlag, Landshut 1987, pp. 256-257
  2. Elisabeth Bangert, Ente, Gans und Pute, Edition Xxl, 2010
  3. Bridget Ann Henisch: Fast and Feast. Food in Medieval Society. The Pennsylvania State University Press, University Park PA 1976, ISBN 0-271-01230-7 , p. 48
  4. ^ Brian Fagan : Fish on Friday. Feasting, Fasting and the Discovery of the New World. Basic Books, New York NY 2007, ISBN 978-0-465-02285-4 , p. 153