Gray Matter


What’s Sauce for the Goose Is Sauce for the Gander

RT Cunningham | July 29, 2020 (UTC) | Culture

gooseI’ve never seen a goose up close, that I can remember. People tell me geese look like ducks with long necks. I’ll probably never see one where I live now, unless it’s in a zoo or something.

I’ve never eaten one and I probably wouldn’t even if it was offered as part of a meal. I don’t like the taste of ducks, so I probably wouldn’t like the taste of geese. Of course, I’m pretty sure I’d like it if it was the only thing to eat, especially if I had to do without food for a couple of days.

Sauce for the Goose

The meaning behind the phrase is that it makes things equal. I’m sure the phrase, “what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander”, is the way it was said originally. The version I always heard substituted “good” for “sauce”.

Until recently, and only because I never thought about it more than a few seconds at a time, I didn’t even know what a gander was.

I also heard “too much sauce spoils the goose” and I have no idea where that came from.

Way back when I saw “Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan” the first time, I remember when Captain Spock said to Mr. Saavik (a female Vulcan officer), “Sauce for the goose, Mr. Saavik. The odds will be even.” I had no idea what it meant back then and I really didn’t care. Now I know.

I remember watching “A Christmas Story” years ago, years before the TNT television network decided to air it back to back for 24 hours. There were some scenes where dogs busted in and stole the cooked turkey and the family ended up eating their Christmas dinner in a Chinese restaurant. To this day, I can’t remember if they ate a goose or a duck at the restaurant. I don’t think they ever said what it was. Oh well, it doesn’t matter now, I suppose.

Wild Goose Stories

Geese must have been way more plentiful a couple of hundred years ago than they are today. Why else would so many phrases involving a goose exist (“your goose is cooked”, “wild goose chase”, etc.)?

Why else would people use it as a nickname (one of the characters in “Top Gun”) or part of a trademark?


Geese is the plural of goose, but goose also means the female. Gander is the male and a gosling is the child. It’s hard to remember things like this when I have all this bouncing around in my head with the terms for other types of animals. A Cornish Game Hen isn’t necessarily a hen even though hen means female chicken (and the female of a number of bird species).

I hope I don’t learn anything else when it concerns trivia. I’m afraid I’ll forget something important when I do (kind of like Kelly Bundy in “Married with Children”).

Photo Attribution: WikiImages from Pixabay
Edited and updated. Originally published at one of my other websites in April 2016.

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