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.
If the birds have not been cleaned and drawn at the butcher's, it will be necessary for the housewife to attend to these details, which need not be irksome or disagreeable, if she knows how to do it.
First of all remove the pin feathers with a pair of broad tweezers. Then singe the bird by means of a little alcohol which has been poured into a saucer and lighted; or if this is not at hand twist up some newspaper into thick strips and use this. The bird should be turned constantly so that it will be thoroughly singed in every part. The head should then be removed, and the crop, attached to the gullet and the windpipe, may be drawn out of the neck opening. It is not usually necessary to make a slit in the neck. The neck should be cut off about two inches so that the skin may be folded back to present a neat appearance when the bird is cooked. The neck trimmings should be saved towards making stock.
The tendons should then be removed from the legs, for these harden on cooking and form the flinty, disagreeable substance with which we are all familiar in the "drumsticks." Make an inch slit lengthwise through the skin below the knee joint at one side; on laying open this skin, the tendons, which are shiny white cords, will be revealed. Slip a skewer or nail under each one and pull them out.
Then make a two-inch opening near the vent, insert two fingers, and gently loosen the entrails. When everything is loose, grasp gently the hardest substance - the gizzard - and pull it out. Everything else will come with it. Be careful not to press anything too hard and then there will be no muss, and no danger of breaking the gall bladder. When this has all been done, insert the hand and remove the spongy substances which lay under the breast in cavities, and the kidneys which will be found a little more than half way down the backbone in similar cavities. Then let cold water run through the bird until it is thoroughly cleaned. If the bird does not seem white on the outside, scrub it off with a little soap and water. This treatment is usually advocated only for goose, but it improves all poultry, unless they are freshly killed. If a bird looks wizened, let it stand for a few minutes in water to plump up. This treatment is especially good for cold-storage birds.