There are plenty of celebrations held throughout the year which have their origins in the Christian calendar, but apart from the well-known few such as Christmas, Easter and maybe pancake day, many have fallen away from many people’s lives. Michaelmas isn’t much celebrated in general, but it used to be. Traditionally families would eat a goose, a Michaelmas goose, apparently sometimes called a stubble-goose because that’s where the creature would be feeding at this post-harvest time of year. Chaucer mentions a stubble goose in the prologue to the Cook’s Tale.

I was thinking about Michaelmas geese because there is a recipe for goose;’s drumsticks in the National Mark Calendar of Cooking, the little 1930’s seasonal cookery book produced by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. There seems to be a constant refrain in modern cookery that before Elizabeth and cooks like her, no-one in these islands used and had barely heard of such things as spices, garlic and olive oil; not true… this recipe uses olive oil:

The Goose’s Drumsticks

  • 2 goose drumsticks (it doesn’t specify but i think they must be cooked already)
  • thin bacon rashers
  • 1 egg beaten
  • s slices of onion, blanched and finely chopped
  • 1 tsp parsley finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp breadcrumbs
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • mixed herbs finely chopped
  • olive oil
  • cayenne pepper
  • salt
  1. skin the drumsticks and let them soak in olive oil seasoned with salt and pepper for 1-2 hours, turning from time to time
  2. make a forcemeat by mixing the herbs, breadcrumbs, onion, seasoning, zest, egg
  3. wipe the drumsticks of excess oil and cover them with the forcemeat, then wrapping them with the bacon; secure with string, cocktail sticks, or just sit them in a dish rasher ends underneath
  4. bake them in a hot oven for about 20 minutes



  1. lynnee8

    In Germany they still celebrate St Martin’s day with a goose, although in Italy, in the Marche region, they celebrate with cold meats, cheeses and preserves. There is also a sparkling fortified red wine called Vernacchia. Delicious on a not so warm November evening in the mountains!

    Liked by 1 person

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