Attracted by the challenge, the novelty, and—to be honest—a certain competitiveness with a friend who had boasted about his success in roasting a goose, we decided to try it. We also knew that it would mean lots of flavorful goose fat left over for roasting vegetables, baking, and making luscious confit. The prospect sent my husband, a skilled and effortlessly confident home cook, to consult several cookbooks and the Internet. His hesitation stemmed partly from the fact that we'd had to special-order the goose. And we were definitely not exulting, as Bob Cratchit had, in its cheapness. Even at our enlightened, reasonable, noncorporate local supermarket, the sticker shock had inspired one of those what-the-heck-it's-the-holidays moments of giddy abandon. On principle, you don't want to screw up an expensive 12-pound bird you've personally had to ask the butcher for—especially when it's the main course at the family holiday dinner.