Poultry and Game

Poultry includes all domestic birds suitable for food except pigeon and squab. Examples: Chicken, fowl, turkey, duck, goose, etc. Game includes such birds and animals suitable for food as are pursued and taken in field and forest. Examples: Quail, partridge, wild duck, plover, deer, etc.
The flesh of chicken, fowl, and turkey has much shorter fibre than that of ruminating animals, and is not intermingled with fat,— the fat always being found in layers directly under the skin, and surrounding the intestines. Chicken, fowl, and turkey are nutritious, and chicken is specially easy of digestion. The white meat found on breast and wing is more readily digested than the dark meat. The legs, on account of constant motion, are of coarser fibre and darker color.

Since incubators have been so much used for hatching chickens, small birds suitable for broiling may be always found in market. Chickens which appear in market during January weighing about one and one-half pounds are called spring chickens.

Fowl is found in market throughout the year, but is at its best from March until June.

Philadelphia, until recently, furnished our market with philadelphia chickens and capons, but now Massachusetts furnishes equally good ones, which are found in market from December to June. They are very large, plump, and superior eating. At an early age they are deprived of the organs of reproduction, penned, and specially fatted for killing. They are recognized by the presence of head, tail, and wing feathers.

Turkeys are found in market throughout the year, but are best during the winter months. Tame ducks and geese are very indigestible on account of the large quantity of fat they contain. Goose meat is thoroughly infiltrated with fat, containing sometimes from forty to forty-five per cent. Pigeons, being old birds, need long, slow cooking to make them tender. Squabs (young pigeons) make a delicious tidbit for the convalescent, and are often the first meat allowed a patient by the physician.
The flesh of game, with the exception of wild duck and wild geese, is tender, contains less fat than poultry, is of fine though strong flavor, and easy of digestion. Game meat is usually of dark color, partridge and quail being exceptions, and is usually cooked rare. Venison, the flesh of deer, is short fibred, dark colored, highly savored, tender, and easy of digestion; being highly savored, it often disagrees with those of weak digestion.

Geese are in market throughout the year, Massachusetts and Rhode Island furnishing specially good ones. A goose twelve weeks old is known as a green goose. They may be found in market from May to September. Young geese which appear in market September first and continue through December are called goslings. They have been hatched during May and June, and then fatted for market.

Young ducks, found in market about March first, are called ducklings. Canvasback Ducks have gained a fine reputation throughout the country, and are found in market from the last of November until March. Redhead Ducks are in season two weeks earlier, and are about as good eating as Canvasback Ducks, and much less in price. The distinctive flavor of both is due to the wild celery on which they feed. Many other kinds of ducks are found in market during the fall and winter. Examples: Widgeon, Mallard, Lake Erie Teal, Black Ducks, and Butter-balls.

Fresh quail are in market from October fifteenth to January first, the law forbidding their being killed at any other time in the year. The same is true of partridge; but both are frozen and kept in cold storage several months. California sends frozen quail in large numbers to Eastern markets. Grouse (prairie chicken) are always obtainable, — fresh ones in the fall; later, those kept in cold storage. Plover may be bought from April until December.

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