SELECTION OF POULTRY
The way in which poultry is cooked has a bearing on the cost of this food, too. For example, a young, tender bird prepared by a wrong method not only is a good dish spoiled, but is a waste of expensive material.
Likewise, an older bird, which has more flavor but tougher tissues, is almost impossible as food if it is not properly prepared. Both kinds make appetizing dishes and do not result in waste if correct methods of cooking are followed in their preparation.
Even the way in which poultry is served has a bearing on the cost of this food. For this reason, it is necessary to know how to carve, as well as how to utilize any of this food that may be left over, if the
housewife is to get the most out of her investment.
SELECTION OF POULTRY
The selection of any kind of poultry to be used as food is a matter that should not be left to the butcher. Rather, it should be done by some one who understands the purpose for which the poultry is to
be used, and, in the home, this is a duty that usually falls to the housewife.
There are a number of general facts about poultry, and a knowledge of them will assist the housewife greatly in performing her tasks.
CLASSIFICATION OF POULTRY.
Poultry breeders and dealers divide the domestic fowls into three classes. In the first class are included those which have combs, such as chickens, turkeys, and guinea fowls. Quails and pheasants belong to this class also, but they are very seldom domesticated.
The birds in this class are distinguished by two kinds of tissue--light meat on the breast and dark meat on the other parts of the body. In the second class are included those fowls which swim, such as ducks and
geese. These are characterized by web feet and long thick bills, and their meat is more nearly the same color over the entire body.
The third class is comprised of birds that belong to the family of doves. Pigeons, which are called squabs when used as food, are the only domesticated birds of this class. They stand between the other two classes with respect to their flesh, which has some difference in color
between the breast and other muscles, but not so much as chicken and other fowls of the first class.
INFLUENCE OF FEEDING AND CARE ON QUALITY
To some extent, the breed affects the quality of poultry as food; still this is a far less important matter than a number of things that the purchaser is better able to judge. Among the factors that greatly influence the quality are the feeding and care that the birds receive up to the time of slaughter. These affect not only the flavor and the tenderness of the tissue, as well as the quantity of tissue in proportion to bone, but also the healthfulness of the birds themselves.
To keep the birds in good health and to build up sufficient flesh to make them plump, with as much meat as possible on the bones and a fair amount of fat as well, the food they get must be clean and of the right kind. Likewise, the housing conditions must be such that the birds are kept dry and sufficiently warm. The living space, also, must be adequate for the number that are raised.
Domestic fowls are not discriminating as to their food, and when they are forced to live in dirt and filth they will eat more or less of it and thus injure the quality of their flesh. Poultry that comes into the market looking drawn and thin, with blue-looking flesh and no fat, shows evidence of having had poor living conditions and inadequate feeding. Such poultry will be found to have a less satisfactory flavor than that which has received proper care.