Move Over Turkey and Ham, It's All About Roast Goose

The holiday season is upon us. For many of us it's a time of family, friends, and fun. For others of us it's a time of stress—making travel plans, buying presents, and cooking large meals. I've hosted a number of holiday meals over the years, even in my small apartment kitchen, which features one of the smallest ovens I've seen that isn't a child's toy. My friends and family have always complimented me on how calm and collected I seem hosting a meal even when a couple of glasses of wine aren't involved. It's not that I'm a confident cook. I've never had any formal training, but I learned not to stress from a holiday meal my mother cooked when I was growing up.

My family had just moved into a new house and we were very excited to be spending our first Christmas there. To make it extra special, my mother had decided to make a traditional Christmas goose. It wasn't our tradition. No one in the family had ever made one before, or even tasted one before, for that matter. But I think a lot of Masterpiece Theater was being watched around that time, and all those Dickens characters sure made it sound like it was the most amazing food ever. Also, to make the dinner more special, my father gave my mother one of her gifts early—a food processor. While pretty common these days, not too many home kitchens had them back then. This was before Iron and Top Chefs had entered our living rooms. So to recap, my mother was gearing up to make a meal in a new kitchen, with equipment she'd never used, and a main course she had never cooked or tasted.

My father, younger brother, and myself sat down at the dining room table, while my mom began putting things together in the kitchen. My brother, a notoriously picky eater, was already starting to grouse about the goose. My father warned us in no uncertain terms that my mother had worked very hard on this and we were going to be polite. My mom ducked her head in to say the goose was taking a little longer than she thought. We could hear the food processor whirring in the back, making what would surely be the creamiest mashed potatoes we ever ate.

Some time later the moment arrived. The goose was cooked and my mother served us and put out the mashed potatoes. My mother told us to begin eating while she went to tend to something dessert related in the kitchen. We dug into our goose, and all looked at each other in horror. Although none of us had anything to compare it to, we knew in our hearts, and definitely in our mouths, that this couldn't possibly be the dish Tiny Tim and everyone got so worked up about. The flavor was not good, but the nearly indigestible quality of the meat distracted from that. My father said quietly, "Eat what you can and try and spread the rest around on your plate and hide it in your napkin. Next, we tried the potatoes. Here's something it doesn't say in the food processor directions. When you process potatoes too long, the starch breaks down and turns the whole thing into a gelatinous gooey substance—something like school paste, but stickier.

My mother came back and assumed her seat at the table. She asked how everything was. Through lips half-sealed with potato glue, we murmured, "Really good!" My mother dug into her goose and potatoes. A few seconds later, my mother looked at us in disbelief and our awkward smiles turned into uncontrolled laughter. My mother asked, "How much of this were you going to eat before you said something?" My mom returned to the kitchen, saying she would be right back. And she was, with the garbage can in tow, at which point the goose and potatoes met their final resting place. "We have leftover hamburgers from last night. I'll warm them up," she said to cheers around the table. "I don't think we'll be having goose again."

My family had numerous holiday meals over the years—turkeys, ham, prime rib—all successfully executed. But if you ask anyone what the most memorable meal of all time was, it was the year we had the Christmas goose. I don't think there was ever a time when we all laughed so hard. And that's how I've learned not to stress at holiday time. In order to succeed, you have to learn how to fail with style. If my mother could dump an entire day's work out and laugh about it, I'm not too worried if one of my dishes comes out less than perfect. Whatever holiday we're celebrating, it's always about the family and friends, not the food.

Skid Row Carnival of Love Highlights Help for Homeless

Help us celebrate this year's 6th Annual "Skid Row Carnival of Love" on SAT January 25th, 2020. This event promotes human kindness for those experiencing homelessness in and around downtown Los Angeles. To commemorate the event, OGTV is sharing the story we premiered in June, 2019... so watch, enjoy, and support this humanitarian effort.

Skid Row – the image that immediately comes to mind is not pretty… a desolate street with boarded up windows…downtrodden people lurking in the shadows...broken glass…darkness…despair ... The Skid Row Carnival of Love is an initiative that is working to build community by providing resources and love to an often forgotten, and overlooked sector of one our largest cities: Los Angeles' homeless population of Skid Row. For one day, it's all about unconditional love and coming together as a community.

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Rescue, Transform, Share: How an Ohio Soup Shack Is Saving Lives

"It really does take a village to help people," says Sandra Lettie, a volunteer with La Soupe in Cincinnati, Ohio. La Soupe is helping to build and activate just such a "village" of compassionate people from the local area around the goal of producing food from discarded produce and providing it to families in need.

According to La Soupe's CEO, Suzy DeYoung, the organization's central mission is to "rescue, transform, and share." First, volunteers with La Soupe visit grocery stores and farms to pick up produce that was going to be discarded and "rescue" it for use in the soups that the team creates. That produce is then "transformed" into healthy, delicious food by the chefs at La Soupe. Finally, the food is "shared" with those in the local community who need it.

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Sweepstakes Winner Gets Unforgettable NASCAR Experience!

Stacy Comilang from Preston, CT., likes to think of herself as a "need for speed" kind of girl. She is a fan of NASCAR and had been to a few races while growing up in California. Even though she has never driven in a car much faster than the speed limit, or been in a race car, she would love to do both. Little did she know that when she casually entered a sweepstakes on the Coke website this past spring, that both of these dreams would soon come true!

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Man Goes on Cross-Country Hugging Tour To Spread Love

Hugging is considered to be a rather intimate form of affection across the US. Everyone hugs, but rarely do we ever hug strangers. Arie Moyal is willing to do just that. He is the founder and creator of the Hug Train, a national tour of free hugs to promote mental health awareness. Arie travels across the country giving hugs to strangers who are willing to give him an embrace.

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Dan's Coffee Runs Bring Warmth To Chemo Patients and Staff

Coffee and a smile are sometimes the best medicine. When Dan Dewey's father was being treated for cancer, Dan found himself following a routine in a situation which needed a little perking up.

Thus began what has become known as "Dan's Coffee Run". Every Thursday morning, Dan does a special coffee run for the staff and patients at the Michigan Cancer Institute in Bloomfield Hills, bringing Starbucks Coffee and a lot of smiles to the patients and providers at the cancer treatment center.

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This Organization Feeds Their Entire Community

If you are a kid and your bed is a lumpy, old couch or a cold, hard floor and you leave home for school without a regular breakfast, you will not excel in your classes. This daily struggle is shockingly common in many areas of the country and it sets many children on a downward spiral at an early age that is difficult to recover from. This is where Meals By Grace is making a difference.

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Anonymous Authors of Love Letters Uplift The Lonely

While it is exciting to see the bold type of a newly arrived email from an old friend or the pulsing dots of a long awaited text, there is still something special about the arrival of a hand written, stamped envelope in your home mailbox.

For those who are facing personal difficulties, adjusting to new circumstances, or just feeling isolated, the physical experience of handling a letter, opening the sealed side of the envelope, and sliding out a beautiful card brings the thrill and anticipation of contact with another person, something they may been missing for long time. Fulfilling this need is at the heart of an inspiring organization called "The World Needs More Love letters".

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A Father, A Son, And A Hockey Fan’s Dream Come True!

Coca-Cola, Shaw's Supermarkets, and the Boston Bruins have teamed up to make one lucky Bruins fan's dream come true. After purchasing a Coke from Shaw's in the New England area, contestants were encouraged to enter for a chance to win a "Player for a Day Experience" with the Boston Bruins.

The lucky winner's name is Mark Karolkiewicz. Mark has been a Bruins fan his whole life and even though he had the opportunity to be a Bruins Player for a Day, he selflessly gave the prize to his son Eric Karolkiewicz, also a die-hard Bruins fan!

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