This section is from the book "Mrs. Allen's Cook Book", by Mrs. Ida C. Bailey Allen. See also: The Conscious Cook: Delicious Meatless Recipes That Will Change the Way You Eat.
Veal is divided like lamb and is becoming the most expensive of all meats. The shoulder and breast may be stuffed with a bread or potato and onion dressing. The neck is used for stew and the rump for pot-roasting or braising. The leg weighs about eleven pounds and contains about eight pounds of solid meat and three of bone. The fillet is cut from the leg and then cut up for roasting or into cutlets. The balance is used for stew or casserole. A large family can dispose of the whole leg of veal, but as comparatively few use the knuckle, or end of the leg, the butcher is compelled to charge a large price for the cutlets in order to make any profit.
Good bacon is firm and does not cook away, because it is from hogs fattened with corn; hams should be plump and round. Thin hams indicate poorly fed animals. Shoulder pork chops should be purchased to a larger extent than is the case, as they average four cents less a pound than those of the loin and contain more meat. A loin of pork for roasting averages two cents a pound less than when cut into chops and contains a third bone waste. On the other hand a fresh shoulder of ham, if well cut, is a cheaper roast and may be boned and stuffed to good advantage, while a fresh ham, although it is heavy, contains very little waste and is delicious.
In buying chicken or other poultry, the housewife should always demand the very best quality, or the so-called "fatted" chicken, for in the end it is the cheapest. The fatted chicken of three and a half pounds, for instance, contains as much meat as the cheaper grade of four and a half pounds, as in the latter the bones and waste more than make up for the extra pound and the meat is not nearly so good.
The same rule applies to turkeys. A housewife should never over-buy, that is, secure more than she really needs. This is a mistake which most people make and the result is that many cannot afford to have turkey, when if they would buy a small turkey of the very best quality, paying perhaps a few cents more per pound, the cost would really not be too expensive for the average housewife. In most cases where a woman needs a five pound chicken the turkey need not be heavier than seven or eight pounds, as it contains more meat in proportion than a chicken.
In a young chicken of good quality the eyes will be bright and the feet smooth and rather soft, while a fowl, or older chicken, will have rough feet and, often, spurs, and the eyes will be dull. By opening the bill and smelling of the mouth, one can determine somewhat the freshness of a bird. Also by feeling of the bone on the under part of the chicken between the legs. If it is soft and pliable the chicken is young and tender.