Posted by: Rachel | January 2, 2011

no guarantees

I can’t promise that this will happen to you, even given the exact same circumstances. I can only recount what happened to me, and I can’t even guarantee that I’d see the same results should I happen to be in this situation again.

What I can tell you is, over the years I have carried a vast and strange assortment of culinary weirdness on airplanes. Even during the past 10 years with our new, more stringent security rules, I have been allowed to travel in possession of farm-raised, processed, frozen chickens(thanks, Shades of Green Farm) , a 6-pack of frozen quail, various jams and chutneys, several tablespoons of walnut vinegar in an unmarked glass jar (under 3 ounces, certainly, but suspect nonetheless I would have thought) to make a proper vinaigrette for an endive salad, endive for same (just in case there was none available at my destination, you never know), pomegranate seeds (they might have spoiled before I got home again!), fragrant dried porcini mushrooms, any and all sorts of left-overs to eat on the plane… you get the drift.

Anyway, although I regularly get strange looks from TSA agents, I’d never been divested of anything at security. But this trip was a new record for carry-on bizarreness, even for me. See, we had goose for Christmas dinner (very Dickensian!) and no one wanted the bones.

Now if you’ve read the other page of this blog, if you’ve only noted the title, or if you know me at all you can probably guess that I really didn’t want any of the goose to go to waste. So, I mentioned to my host that, once all the meat was properly carved and kept, I’d love to have the bones. She’s a good friend, and patient and tolerant, and said she’d be happy to comply.

The next day she called and informed me that, as she put it “my carcass is in the fridge”. Not a sentence I ever thought to hear, but it filled me with joy. And, she said, she’d got a nice jar of goose schmaltz for me as well. Oh yum!

I retrieved both items, froze them for safekeeping, and, having triple-bagged the bones and taped and bagged the schmaltz, I rolled the whole mess up in my coat, stuffed the coat in a grocery-style reusable shopping bag, and, with a little trepidation (Bones? Really? For what purpose, ma’am?) approached airport security.

They ran everything through, then backed it up and ran it again. The agent approached me. “Do you have a candle in your bag?” “Oh no”, I assured him, “no candle.” “There’s something cylindrical…” he started to say, and “Oh, that’s the goose schmaltz!” I offered brightly, with a nice smile. “Rendered goose fat, you know. It is wonderful for cooking potatoes.”

“Well, ma’am” he said, (I swear this is true and I should have seen it coming) “I’m afraid your goose is cooked. We can’t let that on the plane.” Sorrow and sadness, but you cannot argue with the TSA. I must have looked totally abject. “Its all frozen and everything,” I said, not arguing but informing. “Oh, well,” he said, “If its frozen that should be alright.” I grabbed my bags and moved quickly away before he changed his mind again.

I have no idea why the schmaltz being frozen made a difference, or if he just took pity on me or perhaps thought I was daft enough to not be a danger to anyone. I mean, who would want a bunch of bones and grease… um, me? Yes, please!

The much-anitcipated goose stock is on the stove and my house smells wonderful. The schmaltz will be appearing occasionally in recipes on this blog for the next few months I’m sure, with the understanding that vegetarians can sub in a mixture of butter and olive oil, and vegans can use olive oil alone (but ohhhhh, goose schmaltz!).

Here is what I did once I got it safely home.

pot of goose stock

goosey goodness

Contraband Goose Stock

1 goose carcass, all meat carved off and enjoyed
1 onion, chopped
1 head of garlic, cut in half
3 stalks of celery
2 bay leaves
water to cover

Put all in a deep heavy Dutch oven. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 2 hours. Let cool, remove the bones, strain and chill the stock overnight in the fridge. Skim any fat (schmaltz) and retain for cooking. Parcel the stock as desired and freeze.

Goose is dark meat, very tasty and almost sweet, not as distinctive as duck. I think it tastes like chicken should. I have no idea if any of the groceries around here carry goose any time of the year, but I plan to explore this. I’ll let you know what I find out!

A safe and happy New Year to all!



  1. Goose schmaltz on a plane: the title of a movie about your life.

  2. Safer than snakes, although I’ve eaten snake too, just never transported any…

  3. “Your goose is cooked” I just couldn’t stop laughing! Only you Rachel…

  4. Oui, voila, c’est l’histoire de ma vie… et, je te jure que c’est la verite!

    Bonne annee!!

  5. […] you have been reading this blog for a while you may remember last New Year’s near thing. If not, well, go see what I’m talking about if you like, and in any event, let me just say […]

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