A haunch of venison is the prime joint, and is carved very similar to almost any roasted or boiled leg; it should be first cut crosswise down to the bone following the line from 1 to 2; then turn the platter with the knuckle farthest from you, put in the point of the knife, and cut down as far as you can, in the directions shown by the dotted lines from 3 to 4; then there can be taken out as many slices as is required on the right and left of this. Slices of venison should be cut thin, and gravy given with them, but as there is a special sauce made with red wine and currant jelly to accompany this meat, do not serve gravy before asking the guest if he pleases to have any.
The fat of this meat is like mutton, apt to cool soon, and become hard and disagreeable to the palate; it should, therefore, be served always on warm plates, and the platter kept over a hot-water dish, or spirit lamp. Many cooks dish it up with a white paper frill pinned around the knuckle bone.
A haunch of mutton is carved the same as a haunch of venison.
A turkey having been relieved from strings and skewers used in trussing should be placed on the table with the head or neck at the carver's right hand. An expert carver places the fork in the turkey, and does not remove it until the whole is divided. First insert the fork firmly in the lower part of the breast, just forward of fig. 2, then sever the legs and wings on both sides, if the whole is to be carved, cutting neatly through the joint next to the body, letting these parts lie on the platter. Next, cut downward from the breast from 2 to 3 as many even slices of the white meat as may be desired, placing the pieces neatly on one side of the platter. Now unjoint the legs and wings at the middle joint, which can be done very skillfully by a little practice. Make an opening into the cavity of the turkey for dipping out the inside dressing, by cutting a piece from the rear part 1, 1, called the apron. Consult the tastes of the guests as to which part is preferred; if no choice is expressed, serve a portion of both light and dark meat. One of the most delicate parts of the turkey are two little muscles, lying in small dish-like cavities on each side of the back, a little behind the leg attachments; the next most delicate meat fills the cavities in the neck bone, and next to this, that on the second joints. The lower part of the leg (or drumstick, as it is called) being hard, tough and stringy, is rarely ever helped to any one, but allowed to remain on the dish.
To carve a goose, first begin by separating the leg from the body, by putting the fork into the small end of the limb, pressing it closely to the body, then passing the knife under at 2, and turning the leg back as you cut through the joint. To take off the wing, insert the fork in the small end of the pinion, and press it close to the body; put the knife in at fig. 1, and divide the joint. When the legs and wings are off, the breast may be carved in long, even slices, as represented in the lines from 1 to 2. The back and lower side bones, as well as the two lower side bones by the wing, may be cut off; but the best pieces of the goose are the breast and thighs, after being separated from the drumsticks. Serve a little of the dressing from the inside, by making a circular slice in the apron at fig. 3. A goose should never be over a year old; a tough goose is very difficult to carve, and certainly most difficult to eat,
First insert the knife between the leg and the body, and cut to the bone; then turn the leg back with the fork, and if the fowl is tender the joint will give away easily. The wing is broken off the same way, only dividing the joint with the knife, in the direction from 1 to % The four quarters having been removed in this way, take off the merry-thought and the neck-bones; these last are to be removed by putting the knife in at figs. 3 and 4, pressing it hard, when they will break off from the part that sticks to the breast. To separate the breast from the body of the fowl, cut through the tender ribs close to the breast, quite down to the tail. Now turn the fowl over, back upwards; put the knife into the bone midway between the neck and the rump, and on raising the lower end it will separate readily. Turn now the rump from you, and take off very neatly the two side bones, and the fowl is carved. In separating the thigh from the drumstick, the knife must be inserted exactly at the joint, for if not accurately hit, some difficulty will be experienced to get them apart; this is easily acquired by practice. There is no difference in carving roast and boiled fowls if full grown; but in very young fowls the breast is usually served whole; the wings and breast are considered the best parts, but in young ones the legs are the most juicy. In the case of a capon or large fowl, slices may be cut off at the breast, the same as carving a pheasant.
A young duckling may be carved in the same manner as a fowl, the legs and wings being taken off first on either side. When the duck is full size, carve it like a goose; first cutting it in slices from the breast, beginning close to the wing and proceeding upward towards the breast bone, as is represented by the lines 1 to 2. An opening may be made by cutting out a circular slice, as shown by the dotted lines at number 3.
Some are fond of the feet, and when dressing the duck, these should be neatly skinned and never removed. Wild duck is highly esteemed by epicures; it is trussed like a tame duck, and carved in the same manner, the breast being the choicest part.
Partridges are generally cleaned and trussed the same way as a pheasant, but the custom of cooking them with the heads on is going into disuse somewhat. The usual way of carving them is similar to a pigeon, dividing it into two equal parts. Another method is to cut it into three pieces, by severing a wing and leg on either side from the body, by following the lines 1 to 2, thus making two servings of those parts, leaving the breast for a third plate. The third method is to thrust back the body from the legs, and cut through the middle of the breast, thus making four portions that may be served. Grouse and prairie-chicken are carved from the breast when they are largej and quartered or halved when of medium size.
Place your fork firmly in the centre of the breast of this large game bird and cut deep slices to the bone at figs. 1 and 2; then take off the leg in the line from 3 and 4, and the wing 3 and 5, severing both sides the same. In taking off the wings, be careful not to cut too near the neck; if you do you will hit upon the neck-bone, from which the wing must be separated. Pass the knife through the line 6, and under the merry-thought towards the neck, which will detach it. Cut the other parts as in a fowl. The breast, wings and merry-thought of a pheasant are the most highly prized, although the legs are considered very finely flavored. Pheasants are frequently roasted with the head left on; in that case, when dressing them, bring the head round under the wing, and fix it on the point of a skewer.
A very good way of carving these birds is to insert the knife at fig. 1, and cut both ways to 2 and 3, when each portion may be divided into two pieces, then served. Pigeons, if not too large, may be cut in halves, either across or down the middle, cutting them into two equal parts; if young and small they may be served entirely whole.
Tame pigeons should be cooked as soon as possible after they are killed, as they very quickly lose their flavor. Wild pigeons, on the contrary, should hang a day or two in a cool place before they are dressed. Oranges cut into halves are used as a garnish for dishes of small birds, such as pigeons, quail, woodcock, squabs, snipe, etc. These small birds are either served whole or split down the back, making two servings.
The mackerel is one of the most beautiful of fish, being known by its silvery whiteness. It sometimes attains to the length of twenty inches, but usually, when fully grown, is about fourteen or sixteen inches long, and about two pounds in weight. To carve a baked mackerel, first remove the head and tail by cutting downward at 1 and 2; then split them down the back, so as to serve each person a part of each side piece. The roe should be divided in small pieces and served with each piece of fish. Other whole fish may be carved in the same manner. The fish is laid upon a little sauce or folded napkin, on a hot dish, and garnished with parsley.
This fish is seldom sent to the table whole, being too large for any ordinary sized family; the middle cut is considered the choicest to boil. To carve it, first run the knife down and along the upper side of the fish from 1 to 2, then again on the lower side from 3 to 4. Serve the thick part, cutting it lengthwise in slices in the direction of the line from 1 to 2, and the thin part breadthwise, or in the direction from 5 to 6. A slice of the thick with one of the thin, where lies the fat, should be served to each guest. Care should be taken when carving not to break the flakes of the fish, as that impairs its appearance. The flesh of the salmon is rich and delicious in flavor. Salmon is in season from the first of February to the end of August.