Though to prepare poultry for cooking is by no means an agreeable business, yet some knowledge of it may be very useful to the mistress of a house, in case she should have occasion to instruct a servant in the manner of doing it; or in the possible event of her being obliged to do it herself; for instance, if her cook has been suddenly taken ill, or has left her unexpectedly.
As all poultry is, of course, drawn in the same manner, it will be sufficient to designate the mode of emptying the inside of a fowl. In winter, if the fowl is frozen, lay it before the fire till it has completely thawed. Then have ready one or more large pieces of waste paper, rolled up loosely into a long wisp; lay the fowl down on a clean part of the hearth, and, taking its legs in your hand, light the paper, and pass it back and forward above the surface of the skin, (turning the fowl on both sides,) so as to singe off all the hairs; doing it so carefully as not to burn or scorch the skin. There should always be a quantity of old newspapers, or other waste paper, kept in a closet or drawer of the kitchen for this and other purposes. Next, lay the fowl upon its back on a clean old waiter or tray, (such as should be kept in every kitchen,) and with a large sharp knife cut off, first the head, and then the legs at the first joint. The next thing is to cut a very long slit in the skin at the right side of the neck, and with your fingers strip down the skin towards the shoulders, till you come to the craw, which you must take out with your hand. Then with your knife make two long deep cuts or incisions on each side of the body, going downward towards the tail. Put your hand into the cut or orifice on the right side, and pull out the heart, liver, gizzard, and then the entrails. Take care not to break the gall-bag, or its liquor will run over the liver, and make it so bitter that it cannot be eaten, and should therefore be thrown away without cooking. Next, to flatten the body, break the breast-bone by striking on it hard with your hand. Then tuck the legs into the lower part of the slits that you have cut on each side of the body. Afterwards with your hand bend or curve inwards the end of the neck-bone, and tuck it away under the long loose piece of skin left there. After this, lay the fowl in a small tub of cold water, and wash it well inside and out: then dry it with a clean towel.
Next, cut open the gizzard, empty it of the sand and gravel, and take out the thick inside skin. Split open the heart, and let out the blood that is in it. Then carefully cut the gall-bag from the liver, so as not to break it. Wash clean the heart, liver, and gizzard, (having trimmed them neatly,) and return the heart to the inside of the breast; putting back also the eggs, if you have found any. Have ready the stuffing, and fill up with it the vacancy from which you have taken the craw, etc, pressing it in hard. Next, taking between your thumb and finger the above-mentioned piece of skin at the top of the neck, draw it down tightly towards the back of the fowl, (folding it nicely over the bent end of the neck-bone,) and fasten it down between the shoulders with a skewer, which must be stuck in so as to go lengthways down the back. This will prevent any of the stuffing from getting out, and will keep all compact and nice.
Then run a skewer through both the wings and the upper part of the body, tucking in the liver so as to appear from under the right pinion, and the gizzard (scoring it first) on the left. Both pinions must be bent upwards. Lastly, secure all by tying two strings of small twine tightly round the fowl; one just above the skewer that confines the legs; the other just below that which passes through the wings.
Of course, the strings and skewers are removed before the poultry is sent to table.
Turkeys, geese, and ducks are always trussed in this manner, the legs being cut off at the first joint. So are fowls for boiling. But when fowls are to be roasted, some cooks leave on the whole of the legs and feet, (scraping and washing them clean,) and drawing the feet up quite to the breast, where they are tied together by a string.
Pigeons, pheasants, partridges, etc, are all trussed as above, with the legs short.
To draw a little roasting pig, cut the body open by one long slit, and before you take out what is inside, loosen it all with a sharp knife; then extract it with your hands. Empty the head also. Afterwards wash the animal clean, (inside and out,) and fill the vacancy with stuffing. Having bent the knees under, skewer the legs to the body, and secure the stuffing by tying twine tightly'several times round the body; first fastening the slit by pinning it with a wooden skewer. Having boiled the liver and heart, chop them to enrich the gravy.