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Talk turkey, you silly goose

December 20, 2007

Re "Christmas goose is starting to cook," Dec. 17

The implication of this story on the rising popularity of goose over turkey as a Christmas dish is that "the goose-centric literary and cultural traditions of Britain and Europe" preferred geese. The story cites the Cratchit family's goose dinner in Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" as the most famous example of that preference.

But whatever the relative costs of fowl today, goose was more common in Victorian England because it was relatively cheap -- it was all the Cratchits could afford. Their drooling over their goose would have been recognized by Dickens' readers as pathetic, and they would have perfectly understood the significance of Scrooge's first good deed after his conversion: buying the Cratchits a turkey.

Robert Newsom

Newport Beach

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