A Goose and An Albatross Walk Into A Bar…

The Christmas Geese have come home to roost.

*Idiom: /ˈɪd.i.əm/ (Latin: idioma, “special property”, f. Greek: ἰδίωμα – idiōma, “special feature, special phrasing, a peculiarity”, f. Greek: ἴδιος – idios, “one’s own”):


an expression whose meaning is not predictable from the usual meanings of its constituent elements, as in “kick the bucket” or “hang one’s head”, or from the general grammatical rules of a language, as the table round for the round table, and that is not a constituent of larger expression of like characteristics.

a language, dialect, or style of speaking peculiar to a people.

a construction or expression of one language whose parts correspond to elements in another language but whose total structure or meaning is not matched in the same way in the second language.

the peculiar character or genius of a language.

a distinct style or character, in music, art, etc.:

the idiom of Bach.
*sources: Dictionary.com and Cambridge Dictionaries Online.
The chickens have come home to roost. You see, a good number of weeks have passed since the Holiday Season. The tree has been dislodged from its roots atop my coffee table. The baubles and lights have been bagged and buried.  And suddenly, all I have left of the mirth and merriment is the tens of pounds I have to melt off like hot wax after weeks of unabashed gluttony. When I say that the bird has come home to roost, it is only a demi-idiom: half of it is quite literal.
The idiom “chickens come home to roost” can be traced back to the epigram of Robert Southey’s 1810 poem The Curse of Kehama, which reads:
“Curses are like young chicken: they always come home to roost.”
Centuries before Southey, Geoffrey Chaucer had constructed a similar avian metaphor for ill deeds cycling back to haunt their perpetrator in his The Parson’s Tale:
“And ofte tyme swich cursynge wrongfully retorneth agayn to hym that curseth, as a bryd that retorneth agayn to his owene nest.”
Though written in Middle English, it is clear to the modern speaker of the language that there is some babble about birds returning to their nest. The aphorism was eventually abbreviated to its current idiomatic iteration in the 1800s.
In any case, this is my long winded way of telling you that there is now an albatross hanging around my neck. Or, rather, I should say, a goose clinging to my hips: a very fatty Christmas goose that has come home to roost. Though I cannot share with you the pain of post-yultide burpees, I hope to at least delight you with these photos of the Christmas spread that, in addition to all the cookies, tarts, duck, and chocolate, has made working off this cake no cakewalk at all.
The long and hard beginnings of Smitten Kitchen’s sweet potato gratin. Thinly mandolined sweet potato arranged, in a pool of peppered-and-salted olive oil and butter, into concentric circles and then stuffed with slivers of shallots.  The dish is baked until the potatoes are supple and soft yet crisp and crunchy on top. How can such a simple undertaking be, in reality, such a Herculean task?
Presenting the Grand Marnier-Glazed Goose.  Being done with all that slaving cooking meant I was on cloud nine!
 The goose was served and sweet potato gratin was served with honey butter yeast rolls (and luscious cinnamon butter), a salade frisée aux lardons with citrus vinaigrette and the vestiges of a  5 fruit Indian-spiced chutney I had cooked up some week back to give out as gifts.
I stepped into the bathroom after glazing the goose and left it in the oven a few seconds too long: my glaze began to burn as evidenced by the charred bits of goose flesh. But never mind it, my goose was not cooked, so to speak: it was still the jewel in my Christmas crown of a table.
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*A little note for etymology lovers: You’ll love Mark Forsyth’s blog , The Inky Fool, where he traces the origins of words and phrases with much dexterity and oodles of wit. And if the blog pleases,  his book, The Etymologicon, will be sure to tickle your fancy!

About Natasha

Word- and dough-smith. Girl in search of "the illumination, that ecstatic flash, from which truth emerges".

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