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Caithness, the most northerly County in Scotland, has always been famous for the quality of its geese, which were raised on the good grass until the autumn, when they were turned out on to the bere or oat stubbles to be fattened for the Christmas fairs. They were either killed, and sent by boat to Leith, where they were sold in the Edinburgh markets, or driven down the old drove roads direct to markets in Inverness and beyond. The term, "Caithness goose" refers specifically to a smoked, cured goose, which was a popular dish throughout the kingdom, but for the local people, was simply a means of keeping the meat through the winter when times were hard. This is described in Meg Dod's "A Cook and Housewife's Manual" - 1824 as "highly relishing", and is included in her suggested bill of fare for St.Andrew's night or Burn's night dinners. Indeed the combination of the rich, succulent meat , lightly salted and smoked, makes for a most delicious and savoury combination, and a wonderful starter at a special meal on any occasion. Of course, the goose was primarily the bird that was eaten at Christmas, but was also served as a "green goose" at Martinmas, straight from the grass, and under 4 months of age.
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