This section is from the book "A Book Of Recipes For The Cooking School", by Carrie Alberta Lyford. Also available from Amazon: A book of recipes for the cooking school.
Poultry is the term given to the domestic birds used as food and includes fowls and chickens, turkeys, tame ducks and geese. A chicken which is more than one year old is known as a fowl. A chicken which is not more than five months old is known as a "spring chicken."
Fowls are always in market but are cheapest through the winter when they are not laying eggs. Chickens (spring) are in
market through the summer and fall.
A chicken is known by the soft feet, smooth skin, and soft cartilage at the end of the breast bone. An abundance of fine feathers indicates a young bird, while the presence of long hairs denotes age. In a fowl the feet have become hard and dry with coarse scales, and the cartilage at the end of the breastbone is ossified.
In fowls which have been picked without scalding the skin is in much better condition.
The flesh of chickens, fowls, and turkeys has a short fiber and is not intermingled with fat. The fat is always found under the skin in layers or in masses surrounding the intestines. The breast meat in fowls and turkeys has a short, tender fiber, the meat on the legs is darker and has more flavor. The meat of fowls has more flavor than that of young chickens.
Poultry that is to be kept for some time should first be drawn and cleaned and kept very cold. After having been frozen the flesh loses flavor and spoils very rapidly when thawed.
Young chickens are broiled and fried; fowls are stewed, braized and roasted. Poultry is very nutritious and is easily digested if not too fat. The white meat is especially easy of digestion.
Singe the fowl to remove long hairs by holding over a flame from gas, alcohol, or burning paper. Cut off the head, turn back the skin and cut the neck off quite close; take out the wind pipe and crop, cutting off close to the body. Cut through the skin around the leg 1/2 inch below the leg joint, take out the tendons, and separate the leg at the joint; in old birds each tendon must be removed separately by using a skewer. Remove pin feathers with the point of a knife. Remove oil-bag from the tail. To remove the internal organs make an opening under one of the legs, or at the vent, and remove them carefully, leaving a strip of skin above the vent, The intestines, gizzard, heart and liver should all be removed together; care must be taken that the gall bladder, which lies under the liver, be not broken; it must be carefullv cut away from the liver. The lungs and the kidneys lying in the hollows of the backbone must be carefully removed. Press the heart to extract any blood. Take off the outer coat of the gizzard, and discard the sack within. The gizzard, heart, and liver constitute the giblets, and can be used for making gravy. Wash the giblets, put the heart and gizzard in cold water, heat quickly, and cook slowly 1 hour, then add the liver and cook until all are tender, about 1/2 hour longer. Cleanse the fowl by wiping thoroughly inside and out with a damp cloth. Stuff and truss for roasting, or cut into pieces for stew or fricassee.