Cut up a pair of fine plump fowls into pieces, as when carving. Lay them in a pan of cold water, till all the blood is drawn out. Put into a pot, two large table-spoonfuls of lard, and set it over the fire. When the lard has come to a boil, put in the chickens with an onion finely minced. Dredge them well with flour, and season slightly with salt and pepper; and, if you like it, a little chopped marjoram. Pour on it two quarts of boiling water. Cover it, and let it simmer slowly for three hours. Then stir into it two heaped tea-spoonfuls of sassafras powder. Afterwards, let it stew five or six minutes longer, and then send it to table in a deep dish; having a dish of boiled rice to be eaten with it by those who like rice.
This gumbo will be much improved by stewing with it three or four thin slices of cold boiled ham, in which case omit the salt in the seasoning. Whenever cold ham is an ingredient in any dish, no other salt is required.
A dozen fresh oysters and their liquor, added to the stew about half an hour before it is taken up, will also be an improvement.
If you cannot conveniently obtain sassafras-powder, stir the gumbo frequently with a stick of sassafras root.