Boy, it was hard to find a place to eat lunch yesterday. Egg man Howard Helmer had asked me to have lunch with him and the president (and I believe the only member) of the National Goose Council, Jim Schiltz.
We had planned on eating at Bistro Desaret, because it’s near NRN’s offices and because Howard likes the kind of homey French food that they serve. But Howard had found out the day before that they no longer served lunch on Mondays, due to the fact that no one was eating there even if they were open.
So we planned on lunch at the Japanese noodle shop Menchanko-Tei, near Howard’s Midtown apartment.
A sign on the restaurant said “temporarily closed.”
So we went across the street to the La Bonne Soupe, a neighborhood favorite with a croque madame that Howard loves.
The place was quite busy, but a table was available for us. Howard had his croque madame, Jim had a daily special of red snapper in red pepper coulis, and I had brandade de moroue.
And Jim explained that he had developed a new process for harvesting his geese that got him a lot more USDA-approved goose fat than he did previously. He figured it out during the end of last autumn’s harvest cycle, so now he has 6,000 pounds of goose fat for sale. Most years he has 2,000 pounds.
But this is the big news: Next year he’ll have 80,000 pounds of the stuff, and he plans to undercut the duck fat merchants by selling it for $2 a pound.
Duck fat usually wholesales for about $3 a pound, he says.
Goose fat is most famously used in the French dish pommes sarladaise, which is basically potatoes fried in goose fat. It’s something you should try sometime in your life, maybe every day.
But it’s a wonderful frying medium for all sorts of things, and soon it will be available cheap. Hurray!
Today for lunch I had smoked goose breast at my desk.