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The Book of Household Management by Mrs. Isabella Beeton

Part 15 out of 34

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turned a year old, he is called a stirk, stot, or yearling; on
the completion of his second year, he is called a two-year-old
bull or steer (and in some counties a twinter); then, a
three-year-old steer; and at four, an ox or a bullock, which
latter names are retained till death. It may be here remarked,
that the term ox is used as a general or common appellation for
neat cattle, in a specific sense, and irrespective of sex; as
the British ox, the Indian ox. The female is termed cow, but
while sucking the mother, a cow-calf; at the age of a year, she
is called a yearling quey; in another year, a heifer, or
twinter; then, a three-year-old quey or twinter; and, at four
years old, a cow. Other names, to be regarded as provincialisms,
may exist in different districts.

RAGOUT OF COLD VEAL (Cold Meat Cookery).

900. INGREDIENTS.--The remains of cold veal, 1 oz. of butter, 1/2 pint
of gravy, thickening of butter and flour, pepper and salt to taste, 1
blade of pounded mace, 1 tablespoonful of mushroom ketchup, 1
tablespoonful of sherry, 1 dessertspoonful of lemon-juice, forcemeat

_Mode_.--Any part of veal will make this dish. Cut the meat into
nice-looking pieces, put them in a stewpan with 1 oz. of butter, and fry
a light brown; add the gravy (hot water may be substituted for this),
thicken with a little butter and flour, and stew gently about 1/4 hour;
season with pepper, salt, and pounded mace; add the ketchup, sherry, and
lemon-juice; give one boil, and serve. Garnish the dish with forcemeat
balls and fried rashers of bacon.

_Time_.--Altogether 1/2 hour.

_Average cost_, exclusive of the cold meat, 6d.

_Seasonable_ from March to October.

_Note_.--The above recipe may be varied, by adding vegetables, such as
peas, cucumbers, lettuces, green onions cut in slices, a dozen or two of
green gooseberries (not seedy), all of which should be fried a little
with the meat, and then stewed in the gravy.

VEAL RISSOLES (Cold Meat Cookery).

901. INGREDIENTS.--A few slices of cold roast veal, a few slices of ham
or bacon, 1 tablespoonful of minced parsley, 1 tablespoonful of minced
savoury herbs, 1 blade of pounded mace, a very little grated nutmeg,
cayenne and salt to taste, 2 eggs well beaten, bread crumbs.

_Mode_.--Mince the veal very finely with a little ham or bacon; add the
parsley, herbs, spices, and seasoning; mix into a paste with an egg;
form into balls or cones; brush these over with egg, sprinkle with bread
crumbs, and fry a rich brown. Serve with brown gravy, and garnish the
dish with fried parsley.

_Time_.--About 10 minutes to fry the rissoles.

_Seasonable_ from March to October.

VEAL ROLLS (Cold Meat Cookery).

902. INGREDIENTS.--The remains of a cold fillet of veal, egg and bread
crumbs, a few slices of fat bacon, forcemeat No. 417.

_Mode_.--Cut a few slices from a cold fillet of veal 1/2 inch thick; rub
them over with egg; lay a thin slice of fat bacon over each piece of
veal; brush these with the egg, and over this spread the forcemeat
thinly; roll up each piece tightly, egg and bread crumb them, and fry
them a rich brown. Serve with mushroom sauce or brown gravy.

_Time_.--10 to 15 minutes to fry the rolls.

_Seasonable_ from March to October.

SHOULDER OF VEAL, Stuffed and Stewed.

903. INGREDIENTS.--A shoulder of veal, a few slices of ham or bacon,
forcemeat No. 417, 3 carrots, 2 onions, salt and pepper to taste, a
faggot of savoury herbs, 3 blades of pounded mace, water, thickening of
butter and flour.

_Mode_.--Bone the joint by carefully detaching the meat from the
blade-bone on one side, and then on the other, being particular not to
pierce the skin; then cut the bone from the knuckle, and take it out.
Fill the cavity whence the bone was taken with a forcemeat made by
recipe No. 417. Roll and bind the veal up tightly; put it into a
stew-pan with the carrots, onions, seasoning, herbs, and mace; pour in
just sufficient water to cover it, and let it stew _very gently_ for
about 5 hours. Before taking it up, try if it is properly done by
thrusting a larding-needle in it: if it penetrates easily, it is
sufficiently cooked. Strain and skim the gravy, thicken with butter and
flour, give one boil, and pour it round the meat. A few young carrots
may be boiled and placed round the dish as a garnish, and, when in
season, green peas should always be served with this dish.

_Time_.--5 hours. _Average cost_, 7d. per lb.

_Sufficient_ for 8 or 9 persons. _Seasonable_ from March to October.

THE FATTENING OF CALVES.--The fattening of calves for the market
is an important business in Lanarkshire or Clydesdale, and
numbers of newly-dropped calves are regularly carried there from
the farmers of the adjacent districts, in order to be prepared
for the butcher. The mode of feeding them is very simple; milk
is the chief article of their diet, and of this the calves
require a sufficient supply from first to last. Added to this,
they must be kept in a well-aired place, neither too hot nor too
cold, and freely supplied with dry litter. It is usual to
exclude the light,--at all events to a great degree, and to put
within their reach a lump of chalk, which they are very fond of
licking. Thus fed, calves, at the end of 8 or 9 weeks, often
attain a very large size; viz., 18 to 20 stone, exclusive of the
offal. Far heavier weights have occurred, and without any
deterioration in the delicacy and richness of the flesh. This
mode of feeding upon milk alone at first appears to be very
expensive, but it is not so, when all things are taken into
consideration; for at the age of 9 or 10 weeks a calf,
originally purchased for 8 shillings, will realize nearly the
same number of pounds. For 4, or even 6 weeks, the milk of one
cow is sufficient,--indeed half that quantity is enough for the
first fortnight; but after the 5th or 6th week it will consume
the greater portion of the milk of two moderate cows; but then
it requires neither oil-cake nor linseed, nor any other food.
Usually, however, the calves are not kept beyond the age of 6
weeks, and will then sell for 5 or 6 pounds each: the milk of
the cow is then ready for a successor. In this manner a relay of
calves may be prepared for the markets from early spring to the
end of summer, a plan more advantageous than that of overfeeding
one to a useless degree of corpulency.


904. INGREDIENTS.--Equal quantities of fat bacon and lean veal; to every
lb. of meat, allow 1 teaspoonful of minced sage, salt and pepper to

_Mode_.--Chop the meat and bacon finely, and to every lb. allow the
above proportion of very finely-minced sage; add a seasoning of pepper
and salt, mix the whole well together, make it into flat cakes, and fry
a nice brown.

_Seasonable_ from March to October.

STEWED VEAL, with Peas, young Carrots, and new Potatoes.

905. INGREDIENTS.--3 or 4 lbs. of the loin or neck of veal, 15 young
carrots, a few green onions, 1 pint of green peas, 12 new potatoes, a
bunch of savoury herbs, pepper and salt to taste, 1 tablespoonful of
lemon-juice, 2 tablespoonfuls of tomato sauce, 2 tablespoonfuls of
mushroom ketchup.

_Mode_.--Dredge the meat with flour, and roast or bake it for about 3/4
hour: it should acquire a nice brown colour. Put the meat into a stewpan
with the carrots, onions, potatoes, herbs, pepper, and salt; pour over
it sufficient boiling water to cover it, and stew gently for 2 hours.
Take out the meat and herbs, put it in a deep dish, skim off all the fat
from the gravy, and flavour it with lemon-juice, tomato sauce, and
mushroom ketchup in the above proportion. Have ready a pint of green
peas boiled; put these with the meat, pour over it the gravy, and
serve. The dish may be garnished with a few forcemeat balls. The meat,
when preferred, may be cut into chops, and floured and fried instead of
being roasted; and any part of veal dressed in this way will be found
extremely savoury and good.

_Time_.--3 hours. _Average cost_, 9d. per lb.

_Sufficient_ for 6 or 7 persons.

_Seasonable_, with peas, from June to August.


906. INGREDIENTS.--3 sweetbreads, egg and bread crumbs, oiled butter, 3
slices of toast, brown gravy.

[Illustration: SWEETBREADS.]

_Mode_.--Choose large white sweetbreads; put them into warm water to
draw out the blood, and to improve their colour; let them remain for
rather more than 1 hour; then put them into boiling water, and allow
them to simmer for about 10 minutes, which renders them firm. Take them
up, drain them, brush over with egg, sprinkle with bread crumbs; dip
them in egg again, and then into more bread crumbs. Drop on them a
little oiled butter, and put the sweetbreads into a moderately-heated
oven, and let them bake for nearly 3/4 hour. Make 3 pieces of toast;
place the sweetbreads on the toast, and pour round, but not over them, a
good brown gravy.

_Time_.--To soak 1 hour, to be boiled 10 minutes, baked 40 minutes.

_Average cost_, 1s. to 5s. _Sufficient_ for an entree.

_Seasonable_.--In full season from May to August.

FRIED SWEETBREADS a la Maitre d'Hotel (an Entree).

907. INGREDIENTS.--3 sweetbreads, egg and bread crumbs, 1/4 lb. of
butter, salt and pepper to taste, rather more than 1/2 pint of Maitre
d'hotel sauce No. 466.

_Mode_.--Soak the sweetbreads in warm water for an hour; then boil them
for 10 minutes; cut them in slices, egg and bread crumb them, season
with pepper and salt, and put them into a frying-pan, with the above
proportion of butter. Keep turning them until done, which will be in
about 10 minutes; dish them, and pour over them a Maitre d'hotel sauce,
made by recipe No. 466. The dish may be garnished with slices of cut

_Time_.--To soak 1 hour, to be broiled 10 minutes, to be fried about 10

_Average cost_, 1s. to 5s., according to the season.

_Sufficient_ for an entree.

_Seasonable_.--In full season from May to August.

_Note_.--The egg and bread crumb may be omitted, and the slices of
sweetbread dredged with a little flour instead, and a good gravy may be
substituted for the _maitre d'hotel_ sauce. This is a very simple method
of dressing them.


908. INGREDIENTS.--3 sweetbreads, 1 pint of white stock No. 107,
thickening of butter and flour, 6 tablespoonfuls of cream, 1
tablespoonful of lemon-juice, 1 blade of pounded mace, white pepper and
salt to taste.

_Mode_.--Soak the sweetbreads in warm water for 1 hour, and boil them
for 10 minutes; take them out, put them into cold water for a few
minutes; lay them in a stewpan with the stock, and simmer them gently
for rather more than 1/2 hour. Dish them; thicken the gravy with a
little butter and flour; let it boil up, add the remaining ingredients,
allow the sauce to get quite _hot_, but _not boil_, and pour it over the

_Time_.--To soak 1 hour, to be boiled 10 minutes, stewed rather more
than 1/2 hour.

_Average cost_, from 1s. to 5s., according to the season.

_Sufficient_ for an entree.

_Seasonable_.--In full season from May to August.

_Note_.--A few mushrooms added to this dish, and stewed with the
sweetbreads, will be found an improvement.

SEASON AND CHOICE OF VEAL.--Veal, like all other meats, has its
season of plenty. The best veal, and the largest supply, are to
be had from March to the end of July. It comes principally from
the western counties, and is generally of the Alderney breed. In
purchasing veal, its whiteness and fineness of grain should be
considered, the colour being especially of the utmost
consequence. Veal may be bought at all times of the year and of
excellent quality, but is generally very dear, except in the
months of plenty.


909. INGREDIENTS.--The gristles from 2 breasts of veal, stock No. 107, 1
faggot of savoury herbs, 2 blades of pounded mace, 4 cloves, 2 carrots,
2 onions, a strip of lemon-peel.

_Mode_.--The _tendrons_ or gristles, which are found round the front of
a breast of veal, are now very frequently served as an entree, and when
well dressed, make a nice and favourite dish. Detach the gristles from
the bone, and cut them neatly out, so as not to spoil the joint for
roasting or stewing. Put them into a stewpan, with sufficient stock, No.
107, to cover them; add the herbs, mace, cloves, carrots, onions, and
lemon, and simmer these for nearly, or quite, 4 hours. They should be
stewed until a fork will enter the meat easily. Take them up, drain
them, strain the gravy, boil it down to a glaze, with which glaze the
meat. Dish the _tendrons_ in a circle, with croutons fried of a nice
colour placed between each; and put mushroom sauce, or a puree of green
peas or tomatoes, in the middle.

_Time_.--4 hours. _Sufficient_ for one entree.

_Seasonable_.--With peas, from June to August.

COW-POX, OR VARIOLA.--It is to Dr. Jenner, of Berkeley,
Gloucestershire, who died in 1823, that we owe the practice of
vaccination, as a preservative from the attack of that
destructive scourge of the human race, the small-pox. The
experiments of this philosophic man were begun in 1797, and
published the next year. He had observed that cows were subject
to a certain infectious eruption of the teats, and that those
persons who became affected by it, while milking the cattle,
escaped the small-pox raging around them. This fact, known to
farmers from time immemorial, led him to a course of
experiments, the result of which all are acquainted with.


910. INGREDIENTS.--The gristles from 2 breasts of veal, stock No. 107, 1
faggot of savoury herbs, 1 blade of pounded mace, 4 cloves, 2 carrots, 2
onions, a strip of lemon-peel, egg and bread crumbs, 2 tablespoonfuls of
chopped mushrooms, salt and pepper to taste, 2 tablespoonfuls of sherry,
the yolk of 1 egg, 3 tablespoonfuls of cream.

_Mode_.--After removing the gristles from a breast of veal, stew them
for 4 hours, as in the preceding recipe, with stock, herbs, mace,
cloves, carrots, onions, and lemon-peel. When perfectly tender, lift
them out and remove any bones or hard parts remaining. Put them between
two dishes, with a weight on the top, and when cold, cut them into
slices. Brush these over with egg, sprinkle with bread crumbs, and fry a
pale brown. Take 1/2 pint of the gravy they were boiled in, add 2
tablespoonfuls of chopped mushrooms, a seasoning of salt and pepper, the
sherry, and the yolk of an egg beaten with 3 tablespoonfuls of cream.
Stir the sauce over the fire until it thickens; when it is on the _point
of boiling_, dish the tendrons in a circle, and pour the sauce in the
middle. Tendrons are dressed in a variety of ways,--with sauce a
l'Espagnole, vegetables of all kinds: when they are served with a puree,
they should always be glazed.

_Time_.--4-1/2 hours. _Average cost_.--Usually bought with breast of

_Sufficient_ for an entree.

_Seasonable_ from March to October.


911. INGREDIENTS.--Half a calf's head, or the remains of a cold boiled
one; rather more than 1 pint of good white stock, No. 107, 1 glass of
sherry or Madeira, cayenne and salt to taste, about 12 mushroom-buttons
(when obtainable), 6 hard-boiled eggs, 4 gherkins, 8 quenelles or
forcemeat balls, No. 422 or 423, 12 crayfish, 12 croutons.

_Mode_.--Half a calf's head is sufficient to make a good entree, and if
there are any remains of a cold one left from the preceding day, it will
answer very well for this dish. After boiling the head until tender,
remove the bones, and cut the meat into neat pieces; put the stock into
a stewpan, add the wine, and a seasoning of salt and cayenne; fry the
mushrooms in butter for 2 or 3 minutes, and add these to the gravy. Boil
this quickly until somewhat reduced; then put in the yolks of the
hard-boiled eggs _whole_, the whites cut in small pieces, and the
gherkins chopped. Have ready a few veal quenelles, made by recipe No.
422 or 423; add these, with the slices of head, to the other
ingredients, and let the whole get thoroughly hot, _without boiling_.
Arrange the pieces of head as high in the centre of the dish as
possible; pour over them the ragout, and garnish with the crayfish and
croutons placed alternately. A little of the gravy should also be served
in a tureen.

_Time_.--About 1/2 hour to reduce the stock.

_Sufficient_ for 6 or 7 persons.

_Average cost_, exclusive of the calf's head, 2s. 9d.

_Seasonable_ from March to October.

A FRENCHMAN'S OPINION OF VEAL.--A great authority in his native
Paris tells us, that veal, as a meat, is but little nourishing,
is relaxing, and sufficiently difficult of digestion. Lending
itself, as it does, he says, in all the flowery imagery of the
French tongue and manner, "to so many metamorphoses, it may be
called, without exaggeration, the chameleon of the kitchen. Who
has not eaten calf's head _au naturel_, simply boiled with the
skin on, its flavour heightened by sauce just a little sharp? It
is a dish as wholesome as it is agreeable, and one that the most
inexperienced cook may serve with success. Calf's feet _a la
poulette_, _au gratin_, fried, &c.; _les cervelles_, served in
the same manner, and under the same names; sweetbreads _en
fricandeau_, _piques en fin_,--all these offer most satisfactory
entrees, which the art of the cook, more or less, varies for the
gratification of his glory and the well-being of our appetites.
We have not spoken, in the above catalogue, either of the liver,
or of the _fraise_, or of the ears, which also share the honour
of appearing at our tables. Where is the man not acquainted with
calf's liver _a la bourgeoise_, the most frequent and convenient
dish at unpretentious tables? The _fraise_, cooked in water, and
eaten with vinegar, is a wholesome and agreeable dish, and
contains a mucilage well adapted for delicate persons. Calf's
ears have, in common with the feet and _cervelles_, the
advantage of being able to be eaten either fried or _a la
poulette_; and besides, can be made into a _farce_, with the
addition of peas, onions, cheese, &c. Neither is it confined to
the calf's tongue, or even the eyes, that these shall dispute
alone the glory of awakening the taste of man; thus, the
_fressure_ (which, as is known, comprises the heart, the _mou_,
and the _rate_), although not a very recherche dish, lends
itself to all the caprices of an expert artist, and may, under
various marvellous disguises, deceive, and please, and even
awaken our appetite."--Verily, we might say, after this rhapsody
of our neighbour, that his country's weal will not suffer in him
as an able and eloquent exponent and admirer.



[Illustration: BREAST OF VEAL.]

912. The carving of a breast of veal is not dissimilar to that of a
fore-quarter of lamb, when the shoulder has been taken off. The breast
of veal consists of two parts,--the rib-bones and the gristly brisket.
These two parts should first be separated by sharply passing the knife
in the direction of the lines 1, 2; when they are entirely divided, the
rib-bones should be carved in the direction of the lines 5 to 6; and the
brisket can be helped by cutting pieces in the direction 3 to 4. The
carver should ask the guests whether they have a preference for the
brisket or ribs; and if there be a sweetbread served with the dish, as
it often is with roast breast of veal, each person should receive a


[Illustration: CALF'S HEAD.]

913. This is not altogether the most easy-looking dish to cut when it is
put before a carver for the first time; there is not much real
difficulty in the operation, however, when the head has been attentively
examined, and, after the manner of a phrenologist, you get to know its
bumps, good and bad. In the first place, inserting the knife quite down
to the bone, cut slices in the direction of the line 1 to 2; with each
of these should be helped a piece of what is called the throat
sweetbread, cut in the direction of from 3 to 4. The eye, and the flesh
round, are favourite morsels with many, and should be given to those at
the table who are known to be the greatest connoisseurs. The jawbone
being removed, there will then be found some nice lean; and the palate,
which is reckoned by some a tit-bit, lies under the head. On a separate
dish there is always served the tongue and brains, and each guest should
be asked to take some of these.


[Illustration: FILLET OF VEAL.]

914. The carving of this joint is similar to that of a round of beef.
Slices, not too thick, in the direction of the line 1 to 2 are cut; and
the only point to be careful about is, that the veal be _evenly_ carved.
Between the flap and the meat the stuffing is inserted, and a small
portion of this should be served to every guest. The persons whom the
host wishes most to honour should be asked if they like the delicious
brown outside slice, as this, by many, is exceedingly relished.


[Illustration: KNUCKLE OF VEAL.]

915. The engraving, showing the dotted line from 1 to 2, sufficiently
indicates the direction which should be given to the knife in carving
this dish. The best slices are those from the thickest part of the
knuckle, that is, outside the line 1 to 2.


[Illustration: LOIN OF VEAL.]

916. As is the case with a loin of mutton, the careful jointing of a
loin of veal is more than half the battle in carving it. If the butcher
be negligent in this matter, he should be admonished; for there is
nothing more annoying or irritating to an inexperienced carver than to
be obliged to turn his knife in all directions to find the exact place
where it should be inserted in order to divide the bones. When the
jointing is properly performed, there is little difficulty in carrying
the knife down in the direction of the line 1 to 2. To each guest should
be given a piece of the kidney and kidney fat, which lie underneath, and
are considered great delicacies.





"Birds, the free tenants of land, air, and ocean,
Their forms all symmetry, their motions grace;
In plumage delicate and beautiful;
Thick without burthen, close as fishes' scales,
Or loose as full-blown poppies to the breeze."

_The Pelican Island_.

917. THE DIVISIONS OF BIRDS are founded principally on their habits of
life, and the natural resemblance which their external parts, especially
their bills, bear to each other. According to Mr. Vigors, there are five
orders, each of which occupies its peculiar place on the surface of the
globe; so that the air, the forest, the land, the marsh, and the water,
has each its appropriate kind of inhabitants. These are respectively
and, in contemplating their variety, lightness, beauty, and wonderful
adaptation to the regions they severally inhabit, and the functions they
are destined to perform in the grand scheme of creation, our hearts are
lifted with admiration at the exhaustless ingenuity, power, and wisdom
of HIM who has, in producing them, so strikingly "manifested His
handiwork." Not only these, however, but all classes of animals, have
their peculiar ends to fulfil; and, in order that this may be
effectually performed, they are constructed in such a manner as will
enable them to carry out their conditions. Thus the quadrupeds, that are
formed to tread the earth in common with man, are muscular and vigorous;
and, whether they have passed into the servitude of man, or are
permitted to range the forest or the field, they still retain, in a high
degree, the energies with which they were originally endowed. Birds, on
the contrary, are generally feeble, and, therefore, timid. Accordingly,
wings have been given them to enable them to fly through the air, and
thus elude the force which, by nature, they are unable to resist.
Notwithstanding the natural tendency of all bodies towards the centre of
the earth, birds, when raised in the atmosphere, glide through it with
the greatest ease, rapidity, and vigour. There, they are in their
natural element, and can vary their course with the greatest
promptitude--can mount or descend with the utmost facility, and can
light on any spot with the most perfect exactness, and without the
slightest injury to themselves.

918. THE MECHANISM WHICH ENABLES BIRDS to wing their course through the
air, is both singular and instructive. Their bodies are covered with
feathers, which are much lighter than coverings of hair, with which
quadrupeds are usually clothed. The feathers are so placed as to overlap
each other, like the slates or the tiles on the roof of a house. They
are also arranged from the fore-part backwards; by which the animals are
enabled the more conveniently to cut their way through the air. Their
bones are tubular or hollow, and extremely light compared with those of
terrestrial animals. This greatly facilitates their rising from the
earth, whilst their heads, being comparatively small, their bills shaped
like a wedge, their bodies slender, sharp below, and round above,--all
these present a union of conditions, favourable, in the last degree, to
cutting their way through the aerial element to which they are
considered as more peculiarly to belong. With all these conditions,
however, birds could not fly without wings. These, therefore, are the
instruments by which they have the power of rapid locomotion, and are
constructed in such a manner as to be capable of great expansion when
struck in a downward direction. If we except, in this action, the slight
hollow which takes place on the under-side, they become almost two
planes. In order that the downward action may be accomplished to the
necessary extent, the muscles which move the wings have been made
exceedingly large; so large, indeed, that, in some instances, they have
been estimated at not less than a sixth of the weight of the whole body.
Therefore, when a bird is on the ground and intends to fly, it takes a
leap, and immediately stretching its wings, strikes them out with great
force. By this act these are brought into an oblique direction, being
turned partly upwards and partly horizontally forwards. That part of the
force which has the upward tendency is neutralized by the weight of the
bird, whilst the horizontal force serves to carry it forward. The stroke
being completed, it moves upon its wings, which, being contracted and
having their edges turned upwards, obviate, in a great measure, the
resistance of the air. When it is sufficiently elevated, it makes a
second stroke downwards, and the impulse of the air again moves it
forward. These successive strokes may be regarded as so many leaps taken
in the air. When the bird desires to direct its course to the right or
the left, it strikes strongly with the opposite wing, which impels it to
the proper side. In the motions of the animal, too, the tail takes a
prominent part, and acts like the rudder of a ship, except that, instead
of sideways, it moves upwards and downwards. If the bird wishes to rise,
it raises its tail; and if to fall, it depresses it; and, whilst in a
horizontal position, it keeps it steady. There are few who have not
observed a pigeon or a crow preserve, for some time, a horizontal flight
without any apparent motion of the wings. This is accomplished by the
bird having already acquired sufficient velocity, and its wings being
parallel to the horizon, meeting with but small resistance from the
atmosphere. If it begins to fall, it can easily steer itself upward by
means of its tail, till the motion it had acquired is nearly spent, when
it must be renewed by a few more strokes of the wings. On alighting, a
bird expands its wings and tail fully against the air, as a ship, in
tacking round, backs her sails, in order that they may meet with all the
resistance possible.

919. IN THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE EYES of birds, there is a peculiarity
necessary to their condition. As they pass a great portion of their
lives among thickets and hedges, they are provided for the defence of
their eyes from external injuries, as well as from the effects of the
light, when flying in opposition to the rays of the sun, with a
nictating or winking membrane, which can, at pleasure, be drawn over the
whole eye like a curtain. This covering is neither opaque nor wholly
pellucid, but is somewhat transparent; and it is by its means that the
eagle is said to be able to gaze at the sun. "In birds," says a writer
on this subject, "we find that the sight is much more piercing,
extensive, and exact, than in the other orders of animals. The eye is
much larger in proportion to the bulk of the head, than in any of these.
This is a superiority conferred upon them not without a corresponding
utility: it seems even indispensable to their safety and subsistence.
Were this organ in birds dull, or in the least degree opaque, they would
be in danger, from the rapidity of their motion, of striking against
various objects in their flight. In this case their celerity, instead of
being an advantage, would become an evil, and their flight be restrained
by the danger resulting from it. Indeed we may consider the velocity
with which an animal moves, as a sure indication of the perfection of
its vision. Among the quadrupeds, the sloth has its sight greatly
limited; whilst the hawk, as it hovers in the air, can espy a lark
sitting on a clod, perhaps at twenty times the distance at which a man
or a dog could perceive it."

the least is the mode by which their respiration is accomplished. This
is effected by means of air-vessels, which extend throughout the body,
and adhere to the under-surface of the bones. These, by their motion,
force the air through the true lungs, which are very small, and placed
in the uppermost part of the chest, and closely braced down to the back
and ribs. The lungs, which are never expanded by air, are destined to
the sole purpose of oxidizing the blood. In the experiments made by Mr.
John Hunter, to discover the use of this general diffusion of air
through the bodies of birds, he found that it prevents their respiration
from being stopped or interrupted by the rapidity of their motion
through a resisting medium. It is well known that, in proportion to
celerity of motion, the air becomes resistive; and were it possible for
a man to move with the swiftness of a swallow, as he is not provided
with an internal construction similar to that of birds, the resistance
of the air would soon suffocate him.

the coldest as well as the hottest regions, although some species are
restricted to particular countries, whilst others are widely dispersed.
At certain seasons of the year, many of them change their abodes, and
migrate to climates better adapted to their temperaments or modes of
life, for a time, than those which they leave. Many of the birds of
Britain, directed by an unerring instinct, take their departure from the
island before the commencement of winter, and proceed to the more
congenial warmth of Africa, to return with the next spring. The causes
assigned by naturalists for this peculiarity are, either a deficiency of
food, or the want of a secure asylum for the incubation and nourishment
of their young. Their migrations are generally performed in large
companies, and, in the day, they follow a leader, which is occasionally
changed. During the night, many of the tribes send forth a continual
cry, to keep themselves together; although one would think that the
noise which must accompany their flight would be sufficient for that
purpose. The flight of birds across the Mediterranean was noticed three
thousand years ago, as we find it said in the book of Numbers, in the
Scriptures, that "There went forth a wind from the Lord, and brought
quails from the sea, and let them fall upon the camp, and a day's
journey round about it, to the height of two cubits above the earth."

922. IF THE BEAUTY OF BIRDS were not a recommendation to their being
universally admired, their general liveliness, gaiety, and song would
endear them to mankind. It appears, however, from accurate observations
founded upon experiment, that the notes peculiar to different kinds of
birds are altogether acquired, and that they are not innate, any more
than language is to man. The attempt of a nestling bird to sing has been
compared to the endeavour of a child to talk. The first attempts do not
seem to possess the slightest rudiments of the future song; but, as the
bird grows older and becomes stronger, it is easily perceived to be
aiming at acquiring the art of giving utterance to song. Whilst the
scholar is thus endeavouring to form his notes, when he is once sure of
a passage, he usually raises his tone, but drops it again when he finds
himself unequal to the voluntary task he has undertaken. "Many
well-authenticated facts," says an ingenious writer, "seem decisively to
prove that birds have no innate notes, but that, like mankind, the
language of those to whose care they have been committed at their birth,
will be their language in after-life." It would appear, however,
somewhat unaccountable why, in a wild state, they adhere so steadily to
the song of their own species only, when the notes of so many others are
to be heard around them. This is said to arise from the attention paid
by the nestling bird to the instructions of its own parent only,
generally disregarding the notes of all the rest. Persons; however, who
have an accurate ear, and who have given their attention to the songs of
birds, can frequently distinguish some which have their notes mixed with
those of another species; but this is in general so trifling, that it
can hardly be considered as more than the mere varieties of provincial

923. IN REFERENCE TO THE FOOD OF BIRDS, we find that it varies, as it
does in quadrupeds, according to the species. Some are altogether
carnivorous; others, as so many of the web-footed tribes, subsist on
fish; others, again, on insects and worms; and others on grain and
fruit. The extraordinary powers of the gizzard of the granivorous
tribes, in comminuting their food so as to prepare it for digestion,
would, were they not supported by incontrovertible facts founded on
experiment, appear to exceed all credibility. Tin tubes, full of grain,
have been forced into the stomachs of turkeys, and in twenty-four hours
have been found broken, compressed, and distorted into every shape.
Twelve small lancets, very sharp both at the point and edges, have been
fixed in a ball of lead, covered with a case of paper, and given to a
turkey-cock, and left in its stomach for eight hours. After that time
the stomach was opened, when nothing appeared except the naked ball. The
twelve lancets were broken to pieces, whilst the stomach remained
perfectly sound and entire. From these facts, it is concluded that the
stones, so frequently found in the stomachs of the feathered tribes, are
highly useful in assisting the gastric juices to grind down the grain
and other hard substances which constitute their food. The stones,
themselves, being also ground down and separated by the powerful action
of the gizzard, are mixed with the food, and, no doubt, contribute very
greatly to the health, as well as to the nourishment of the animals.

924. ALL BIRDS BEING OVIPAROUS, the eggs which they produce after the
process of incubation, or sitting for a certain length of time, are, in
the various species, different both in figure and colour, as well as in
point of number. They contain the elements of the future young, for the
perfecting of which in the incubation a bubble of air is always placed
at the large end, between the shell and the inside skin. It is supposed
that from the heat communicated by the sitting bird to this confined
air, its spring is increased beyond its natural tenor, and, at the same
time, its parts are put into motion by the gentle rarefaction. By this
means, pressure and motion are communicated to the parts of the egg,
which, in some inscrutable way, gradually promote the formation and
growth of the young, till the time comes for its escaping from the
shell. To preserve an egg perfectly fresh, and even fit for incubation,
for 5 or 6 months after it has been laid, Reaumur, the French
naturalist, has shown that it is only necessary to stop up its pores
with a slight coating of varnish or mutton-suet.

925. BIRDS HOWEVER, DO NOT LAY EGGS before they have some place to put
them; accordingly, they construct nests for themselves with astonishing
art. As builders, they exhibit a degree of architectural skill,
niceness, and propriety, that would seem even to mock the imitative
talents of man, however greatly these are marked by his own high
intelligence and ingenuity.

"Each circumstance
Most artfully contrived to favour warmth.
Here read the reason of the vaulted roof;
How Providence compensates, ever kind,
The enormous disproportion that subsists
Between the mother and the numerous brood
Which her small bulk must quicken into life."

In building their nests, the male and female generally assist each
other, and they contrive to make the outside of their tenement bear as
great a resemblance as possible to the surrounding foliage or branches;
so that it cannot very easily be discovered even by those who are in
search of it. This art of nidification is one of the most wonderful
contrivances which the wide field of Nature can show, and which, of
itself, ought to be sufficient to compel mankind to the belief, that
they and every other part of the creation, are constantly under the
protecting power of a superintending Being, whose benign dispensations
seem as exhaustless as they are unlimited.





926. INGREDIENTS.--2 chickens; seasoning to taste of salt, white pepper,
and cayenne; 2 blades of pounded mace, egg and bread crumbs, clarified
butter, 1 strip of lemon-rind, 2 carrots, 1 onion, 2 tablespoonfuls of
mushroom ketchup, thickening of butter and flour, 1 egg.

_Mode_.--Remove the breast and leg bones of the chickens; cut the meat
into neat pieces after having skinned it, and season the cutlets with
pepper, salt, pounded mace, and cayenne. Put the bones, trimmings, &c.,
into a stewpan with 1 pint of water, adding carrots, onions, and
lemon-peel in the above proportion; stew gently for 1-1/2 hour, and
strain the gravy. Thicken it with butter and flour, add the ketchup and
1 egg well beaten; stir it over the fire, and bring it to the
simmering-point, but do not allow it to boil. In the mean time, egg and
bread-crumb the cutlets, and give them a few drops of clarified butter;
fry them a delicate brown, occasionally turning them; arrange them
pyramidically on the dish, and pour over them the sauce.

_Time_.--10 minutes to fry the cutlets. _Average cost_, 2s. each.

_Sufficient_ for an entree.

_Seasonable_ from April to July.

FOWLS AS FOOD.--Brillat Savarin, pre-eminent in gastronomic
taste, says that he believes the whole gallinaceous family was
made to enrich our larders and furnish our tables; for, from the
quail to the turkey, he avers their flesh is a light aliment,
full of flavour, and fitted equally well for the invalid as for
the man of robust health. The fine flavour, however, which
Nature has given to all birds coming under the definition of
poultry, man has not been satisfied with, and has used many
means--such as keeping them in solitude and darkness, and
forcing them to eat--to give them an unnatural state of fatness
or fat. This fat, thus artificially produced, is doubtless
delicious, and the taste and succulence of the boiled and
roasted bird draw forth the praise of the guests around the
table. Well-fattened and tender, a fowl is to the cook what the
canvas is to the painter; for do we not see it served boiled,
roasted, fried, fricasseed, hashed, hot, cold, whole,
dismembered, boned, broiled, stuffed, on dishes, and in
pies,--always handy and ever acceptable?

THE COMMON OR DOMESTIC FOWL.--From time immemorial, the common
or domestic fowl has been domesticated in England, and is
supposed to be originally the offspring of some wild species
which abound in the forests of India. It is divided into a
variety of breeds, but the most esteemed are, the Poland or
Black, the Dorking, the Bantam, the Game Fowl, and the Malay or
Chittagong. The common, or barn-door fowl, is one of the most
delicate of the varieties; and at Dorking, in Surrey, the breed
is brought to great perfection. Till they are four months old,
the term chicken is applied to the young female; after that age
they are called pullets, till they begin to lay, when they are
called hens. The English counties most productive in poultry are
Surrey, Sussex, Norfolk, Herts, Devon, and Somerset.


927. INGREDIENTS.--The remains of cold roast or boiled fowl, fried
bread, clarified butter, the yolk of 1 egg, bread crumbs, 1/2
teaspoonful of finely-minced lemon-peel; salt, cayenne, and mace to
taste. For sauce,--1 oz. of butter, 2 minced shalots, a few slices of
carrot, a small bunch of savoury herbs, including parsley, 1 blade of
pounded mace, 6 peppercorns, 1/4 pint of gravy.

_Mode_.--Cut the fowls into as many nice cutlets as possible; take a
corresponding number of sippets about the same size, all cut one shape;
fry them a pale brown, put them before the fire, then dip the cutlets
into clarified butter mixed with the yolk of an egg, cover with bread
crumbs seasoned in the above proportion, with lemon-peel, mace, salt,
and cayenne; fry them for about 5 minutes, put each piece on one of the
sippets, pile them high in the dish, and serve with the following sauce,
which should be made ready for the cutlets. Put the butter into a
stewpan, add the shalots, carrot, herbs, mace, and peppercorns; fry for
10 minutes or rather longer; pour in 1/2 pint of good gravy, made of the
chicken bones, stew gently for 20 minutes, strain it, and serve.

_Time_.--5 minutes to fry the cutlets; 35 minutes to make the gravy.

_Average cost_, exclusive of the chicken, 9d.

_Seasonable_ from April to July.

EGGS FOR HATCHING.--Eggs intended for hatching should be removed
as soon as laid, and placed in bran in a dry, cool place. Choose
those that are near of a size; and, as a rule, avoid those that
are equally thick at both ends,--such, probably, contain a
double yolk, and will come to no good. Eggs intended for
hatching should never be stored longer than a month, as much
less the better. Nine eggs may be placed under a Bantam hen, and
as many as fifteen under a Dorking. The odd number is considered
preferable, as more easily packed. It will be as well to mark
the eggs you give the hen to sit on, so that you may know if she
lays any more: if she does, you must remove them; for, if
hatched at all, they would be too late for the brood. If during
incubation an egg should be broken, remove it, and take out the
remainder, and cleanse them in luke-warm water, or it is
probable the sticky nature of the contents of the broken egg
will make the others cling to the hen's feathers; and they, too,
may be fractured.

HENS SITTING.--Some hens are very capricious as regards sitting;
they will make a great fuss, and keep pining for the nest, and,
when they are permitted to take to it, they will sit just long
enough to addle the eggs, and then they're off again. The safest
way to guard against such annoyance, is to supply the hen with
some hard-boiled eggs; if she sits on them a reasonable time,
and seems steadily inclined, like a good matron, you may then
give her proper eggs, and let her set about the business in


928. INGREDIENTS.--The remains of cold roast chicken or fowl; to every
1/4 lb. of meat allow 2 oz. of ham, 3 tablespoonfuls of cream, 2
tablespoonfuls of veal gravy, 1/2 teaspoonful of minced lemon-peel;
cayenne, salt, and pepper to taste; 1 tablespoonful of lemon-juice, 1
oz. of butter rolled in flour; puff paste.

_Mode_.--Mince very small the white meat from a cold roast fowl, after
removing all the skin; weigh it, and to every 1/4 lb. of meat allow the
above proportion of minced ham. Put these into a stewpan with the
remaining ingredients, stir over the fire for 10 minutes or 1/4 hour,
taking care that the mixture does not burn. Roll out some puff paste
about 1/4 inch in thickness; line the patty-pans with this, put upon
each a small piece of bread, and cover with another layer of paste;
brush over with the yolk of an egg, and bake in a brisk oven for about
1/4 hour. When done, cut a round piece out of the top, and, with a small
spoon, take out the bread (be particular in not breaking the outside
border of the crust), and fill the patties with the mixture.

_Time_.--1/4 hour to prepare the meat; not quite 1/4 hour to bake the

_Seasonable_ at any time.

HATCHING.--Sometimes the chick within the shell is unable to
break away from its prison; for the white of the egg will
occasionally harden in the air to the consistence of joiners'
clue, when the poor chick is in a terrible fix. An able writer
says, "Assistance in hatching must not be rendered prematurely,
and thence unnecessarily, but only in the case of the chick
being plainly unable to release itself; then, indeed, an
addition may probably be made to the brood, as great numbers are
always lost in this way. The chick makes a circular fracture at
the big end of the egg, and a section of about one-third of the
length of the shell being separated, delivers the prisoner,
provided there is no obstruction from adhesion of the body to
the membrane which lines the shell. Between the body of the
chick and the membrane of the shell there exists a viscous
fluid, the white of the egg thickened with the intense heat of
incubation, until it becomes a positive glue. When this happens,
the feathers stick fast to the shell, and the chicks remain
confined, and must perish, if not released."

The method of assistance to be rendered to chicks which have a
difficulty in releasing themselves from the shell, is to take
the egg in the hand, and dipping the finger or a piece of linen
rag in warm water, to apply it to the fastened parts until they
are loosened by the gluey substance becoming dissolved and
separated from the feathers. The chick, then, being returned to
the nest, will extricate itself,--a mode generally to be
observed, since, if violence were used, it would prove fatal.
Nevertheless, breaking the shell may sometimes be necessary; and
separating with the fingers, as gently as may be, the membrane
from the feathers, which are still to be moistened as mentioned
above, to facilitate the operation. The points of small scissors
may be useful, and when there is much resistance, as also
apparent pain to the bird, the process must be conducted in the
gentlest manner, and the shell separated into a number of small
pieces. The signs of a need of assistance are the egg being
partly pecked and chipped, and the cluck discontinuing its
efforts for five of six hours. Weakness from cold may disable
the chicken from commencing the operation of pecking the shell,
which must then be artificially performed with a circular
fracture, such as is made by the bird itself.


929. INGREDIENTS.--2 small fowls or 1 large one, white pepper and salt
to taste, 1/2 teaspoonful of grated nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoonful of pounded
mace, forcemeat No. 417, a few slices of ham, 3 hard-boiled eggs, 1/2
pint of water, puff crust.

_Mode_.--Skin and cut up the fowls into joints, and put the neck, leg,
and backbones in a stewpan, with a little water, an onion, a bunch of
savoury herbs, and a blade of mace; let these stew for about an hour,
and, when done, strain off the liquor: this is for gravy. Put a layer of
fowl at the bottom of a pie-dish, then a layer of ham, then one of
forcemeat and hard-boiled eggs cut in rings; between the layers put a
seasoning of pounded mace, nutmeg, pepper, and salt. Proceed in this
manner until the dish is full, and pour in about 1/2 pint of water;
border the edge of the dish with puff crust, put on the cover, ornament
the top, and glaze it by brushing over it the yolk of an egg. Bake from
1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hour, should the pie be very large, and, when done, pour
in, at the top, the gravy made from the bones. If to be eaten cold, and
wished particularly nice, the joints of the fowls should be boned, and
placed in the dish with alternate layers of forcemeat; sausage-meat may
also be substituted for the forcemeat, and is now very much used. When
the chickens are boned, and mixed with sausage-meat, the pie will take
about 2 hours to bake. It should be covered with a piece of paper when
about half-done, to prevent the paste from being dried up or scorched.

_Time_.--For a pie with unboned meat, 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hour; with boned
meat and sausage or forcemeat, 1-1/2 to 2 hours.

_Average cost_, with 2 fowls, 6s. 6d.

_Sufficient_ for 6 or 7 persons.

_Seasonable_ at any time.

THE YOUNG CHICKS.--The chicks that are hatched first should be
taken from underneath the hen, lest she might think her task at
an end, and leave the remaining eggs to spoil. As soon as the
young birds are taken from the mother, they must be placed in a
basket lined with soft wool, flannel, or hay, and stood in the
sunlight if it be summer time, or by the fire if the weather be
cold. It is a common practice to cram young chicks with food as
soon as they are born. This is quite unnecessary. They will, so
long as they are kept warm, come to no harm if they take no food
for twenty-four hours following their birth. Should the whole of
the brood not be hatched by that time, those that are born may
be fed with bread soaked in milk, and the yolk of a hard-boiled

POTTED CHICKEN OR FOWL (a Luncheon or Breakfast Dish).

930. INGREDIENTS.--The remains of cold roast chicken; to every lb. of
meat allow 1/4 lb. of fresh butter, salt and cayenne to taste, 1
teaspoonful of pounded mace, 1/4 small nutmeg.

_Mode_.--Strip the meat from the bones of cold roast fowl; when it is
freed from gristle and skin, weigh it, and, to every lb. of meat, allow
the above proportion of butter, seasoning, and spices. Cut the meat
into small pieces, pound it well with the fresh butter, sprinkle in the
spices gradually, and keep pounding until reduced to a perfectly smooth
paste. Put it into potting-pots for use, and cover it with clarified
butter, about 1/4 inch in thickness, and, if to be kept for some time,
tie over a bladder: 2 or 3 slices of ham, minced and pounded with the
above ingredients, will be found an improvement. It should be kept in a
dry place.

_Seasonable_ at any time.

FEEDING AND COOPING THE CHICKS.--When all the chicks are
hatched, they should be placed along with the mother under a
coop in a warm dry spot. If two hens happen to have their broods
at the same time, their respective chicks should be carefully
kept separate; as, if they get mixed, and so go under the wrong
coop, the hens will probably maim and destroy those who have
mistaken their dwelling. After being kept snug beneath the coop
for a week (the coop should be placed under cover at nightfall),
the chicks may be turned loose for an hour or so in the warmest
part of the day. They should be gradually weaned from the soaked
bread and chopped egg, instead of which grits or boiled barley
should be given; in 8 or 10 days their stomachs will be strong
enough to receive bruised barley, and at the end of 3 weeks, if
your chicks be healthy, they will be able to take care of
themselves. It will be well, however, to keep your eye on them a
week or so longer, as the elder chickens may drive them from
their food. Great care should be taken that the very young
chicks do not run about the wet ground or on damp grass, as this
is the most prominent and fatal cause of disease. While under
the coop with their mother, a shallow pan or plate of water
should be supplied to the chicks, as in a deeper vessel they are
liable to drench themselves and take cold, or possibly to get


931. INGREDIENTS.--The remains of cold roast or boiled chicken, 2
lettuces, a little endive, 1 cucumber, a few slices of boiled beetroot,
salad-dressing No. 506.

_Mode_.--Trim neatly the remains of the chicken; wash, dry, and slice
the lettuces, and place in the middle of a dish; put the pieces of fowl
on the top, and pour the salad-dressing over them. Garnish the edge of
the salad with hard-boiled eggs cut in rings, sliced cucumber, and
boiled beetroot cut in slices. Instead of cutting the eggs in rings, the
yolks may be rubbed through a hair sieve, and the whites chopped very
finely, and arranged on the salad in small bunches, yellow and white
alternately. This should not be made long before it is wanted for table.

_Average cost_, exclusive of the cold chicken, 8d.

_Sufficient_ for 4 or 5 persons.

_Seasonable_ at any time.

AGE AND FLAVOUR OF CHICKENS.--It has been the opinion of the
medical faculty of all ages and all countries, that the flesh of
the young chicken is the must delicate and easy to digest of all
animal food. It is less alkalescent than the flesh of any other
animal, and its entire freedom from any irritating quality
renders it a fit dish for the ailing, or those whose stomachs
are naturally weak. In no animal, however, does age work such a
change, in regard to the quality of its flesh, as it does in
domestic fowls. In their infancy, cocks and hens are equally
tender and toothsome; but as time overtakes them it is the cock
whose flesh toughens first. A year-old cock, indeed, is fit for
little else than to be converted into soup, while a hen at the
same age, although sufficiently substantial, is not callous to
the insinuations of a carving-knife. As regards capons, however,
the rule respecting age does not hold good. There is scarcely to
be found a more delicious animal than a well-fed, well-dressed
capon. Age does not dry up his juices; indeed, like wine, he
seems but to mellow. At three years old, even, he is as tender
as a chick, with the additional advantage of his proper chicken
flavour being fully developed. The above remarks, however,
concerning the capon, only apply to such as are _naturally_ fed,
and not crammed. The latter process may produce a
handsome-looking bird, and it may weigh enough to satisfy the
whim or avarice of its stuffer; but, when before the fire, it
will reveal the cruel treatment to which it has been subjected,
and will weep a drippingpan-ful of fat tears. You will never
find heart enough to place such a grief-worn guest at the head
of your table. It should be borne in mind as a rule, that
small-boned and short-legged poultry are likely to excel the
contrary sort in delicacy of colour, flavour, and fineness of

HASHED DUCK (Cold Meat Cookery).

932. INGREDIENTS.--The remains of cold roast duck, rather more than 1
pint of weak stock or water, 1 onion, 1 oz. of butter, thickening of
butter and flour, salt and cayenne to taste, 1/2 teaspoonful of minced
lemon-peel, 1 dessertspoonful of lemon-juice, 1/2 glass of port wine.

_Mode_.--Cut the duck into nice joints, and put the trimmings into a
stewpan; slice and fry the onion in a little butter; add these to the
trimmings, pour in the above proportion of weak stock or water, and stew
gently for 1 hour. Strain the liquor, thicken it with butter and flour,
season with salt and cayenne, and add the remaining ingredients; boil it
up and skim well; lay in the pieces of duck, and let them get thoroughly
hot through by the side of the fire, but do not allow them to boil: they
should soak in the gravy for about 1/2 hour. Garnish with sippets of
toasted bread. The hash may be made richer by using a stronger and more
highly-flavoured gravy; a little spice or pounded mace may also be
added, when their flavour is liked.

_Time_.--1-1/2 hour. _Average cost_, exclusive of the cold duck, 4d.

_Seasonable_ from November to February; ducklings from May to August.

THE DUCK.--This bird belongs to the order of _Natatores_, or
Swimmers; the most familiar tribes of which are ducks, swans,
geese, auks, penguins, petrels, pelicans, guillemots, gulls, and
terns. They mostly live in the water, feeding on fish, worms,
and aquatic plants. They are generally polygamous, and make
their nests among reeds, or in moist places. The flesh of many
of the species is eatable, but that of some is extremely rank
and oily. The duck is a native of Britain, but is found on the
margins of most of the European lakes. It is excessively greedy,
and by no means a nice feeder. It requires a mixture of
vegetable and animal food; but aquatic insects, corn, and
vegetables, are its proper food. Its flesh, however, is savoury,
being not so gross as that of the goose, and of easier
digestion. In the green-pea season it is usually found on an
English table; but, according to Ude, "November is its proper
season, when it is plump and fat."


933. INGREDIENTS.--1 large duck, pepper and salt to taste, good beef
gravy, 2 onions sliced, 4 sage-leaves, a few leaves of lemon thyme,
thickening of butter and flour.

_Mode_.--After having emptied and singed the duck, season it inside with
pepper and salt, and truss it. Roast it before a clear fire for about 20
minutes, and let it acquire a nice brown colour. Put it into a stewpan
with sufficient well-seasoned beef gravy to cover it; slice and fry the
onions, and add these, with the sage-leaves and lemon thyme, both of
which should be finely minced, to the stock. Simmer gently until the
duck is tender; strain, skim, and thicken the gravy with a little butter
and flour; boil it up, pour over the duck, and serve. When in season,
about, 1-1/2 pint of young green peas, boiled separately, and put in the
ragout, very much improve this dish.

_Time_.--20 minutes to roast the duck; 20 minutes to stew it.

_Average cost_, from 2s. 3d. to 2s. 6d. each.

_Sufficient_ for 4 or 5 persons.

_Seasonable_ from November to February; ducklings from April to August.

[Illustration: BUENOS AYRES DUCKS.]

THE BUENOS AYRES DUCK.--The Buenos Ayres duck is of East-Indian
birth, and is chiefly valuable as an ornament; for we suppose
one would as soon think of picking a Chinese teal for luncheon,
or a gold fish for breakfast, as to consign the handsome Buenos
Ayres to the spit. The prevailing colour of this bird is black,
with a metallic lustre, and a gleaming of blue steel about its
breast and wings.

VARIETIES OF DUCKS.--Naturalists count nearly a hundred
different species of ducks; and there is no doubt that the
intending keeper of these harmless and profitable birds may
easily take his choice from amongst twenty different sorts.
There is, however, so little difference in the various members
of the family, either as regards hardiness, laying, or hatching,
that the most incompetent fancier or breeder may indulge his
taste without danger of making a bad bargain. In connection with
their value for table, light-coloured ducks are always of milder
flavour than those that are dark-coloured, the white Aylesbury's
being general favourites. Ducks reared exclusively on vegetable
diet will have a whiter and more delicate flesh than those
allowed to feed on animal offal; while the flesh of birds
fattened on the latter food, will be firmer than that of those
which have only partaken of food of a vegetable nature.


934. INGREDIENTS.--A couple of ducks; sage-and-onion stuffing No. 504; a
little flour.

_Choosing and Trussing_.--Choose ducks with plump bellies, and with
thick and yellowish feet. They should be trussed with the feet on, which
should be scalded, and the skin peeled off, and then turned up close to
the legs. Run a skewer through the middle of each leg, after having
drawn them as close as possible to the body, to plump up the breast,
passing the same quite through the body. Cut off the heads and necks,
and the pinions at the first joint; bring these close to the sides,
twist the feet round, and truss them at the back of the bird. After the
duck is stuffed, both ends should be secured with string, so as to keep
in the seasoning.

[Illustration: ROAST DUCK.]

_Mode_.--To insure ducks being tender, never dress them the same day
they are killed; and if the weather permits, they should hang a day or
two. Make a stuffing of sage and onion sufficient for one duck, and
leave the other unseasoned, as the flavour is not liked by everybody.
Put them down to a brisk clear fire, and keep them well basted the whole
of the time they are cooking. A few minutes before serving, dredge them
lightly with flour, to make them froth and look plump; and when the
steam draws towards the fire, send them to table hot and quickly, with a
good brown gravy poured _round_, but not _over_ the ducks, and a little
of the same in a tureen. When in season, green peas should invariably
accompany this dish.

_Time_.--Full-grown ducks from 3/4 to 1 hour; ducklings from 25 to 35

_Average cost_, from 2s. 3d. to 2s. 6d. each.

_Sufficient_.--A. couple of ducks for 6 or 7 persons.

_Seasonable_.--Ducklings from April to August; ducks from November to

_Note_.--Ducklings are trussed and roasted in the same manner, and
served with the same sauces and accompaniments. When in season, serve
apple sauce.

[Illustration: ROUEN DUCKS.]

THE ROUEN DUCK.--The Rouen, or Rhone duck, is a large and
handsome variety, of French extraction. The plumage of the Rouen
duck is somewhat sombre; its flesh is also much darker, and,
though of higher flavour, not near so delicate as that of our
own Aylesbury. It is with this latter breed that the Rouen duck
is generally mated; and the result is said to be increase of
size and strength. In Normandy and Brittany these ducks, as well
as other sorts, greatly abound; and the "duck-liver _pates_" are
there almost as popular as the _pate de foie gras_ of Strasburg.
In order to bring the livers of the wretched duck to the
fashionable and unnatural size, the same diabolical cruelty is
resorted to as in the case of the Strasburg goose. The poor
birds are _nailed_ by the feet to a board placed close to a
fire, and, in that position, plentifully supplied with food and
water. In a few days, the carcase is reduced to a mere shadow,
while the liver has grown monstrously. We would rather abstain
from the acquaintance of a man who ate _pate de foie gras_,
knowing its component parts.

DUCK'S EGGS.--The ancient notion that ducks whose beaks have a
tendency to curve upwards, are better layers than those whose
beaks do not thus point, is, we need hardly say, simply absurd:
all ducks are good layers, if they are carefully fed and tended.
Ducks generally lay at night, or early in the morning. While
they are in perfect health, they will do this; and one of the
surest signs of indisposition, among birds of this class, is
irregularity in laying. The eggs laid will approach nearly the
colour of the layer,--light-coloured ducks laying white eggs,
and brown ducks greenish-blue eggs; dark-coloured birds laying
the largest eggs. One time of day the notion was prevalent that
a duck would hatch no other eggs than her own; and although this
is not true, it will be, nevertheless, as well to match the
duck's own eggs as closely as possible; for we have known
instances wherein the duck has turned out of the nest and
destroyed eggs differing from her own in size and colour.

DUCKS.--The Mallard, or Wild Duck, from which is derived the
domestic species, is prevalent throughout Europe, Asia, and
America. The mallard's most remarkable characteristic is one
which sets at defiance the speculations of the most profound
ornithologist. The female bird is extremely plain, but the
male's plumage is a splendour of greens and browns, and browns
and blues. In the spring, however, the plumage of the male
begins to fade, and in two months, every vestige of his finery
has departed, and he is not to be distinguished from his
soberly-garbed wife. Then the greens, and the blues, and the
browns begin to bud out again, and by October he is once more a
gorgeous drake. It is to be regretted that domestication has
seriously deteriorated the moral character of the duck. In a
wild state, he is a faithful husband, desiring but one wife, and
devoting himself to her; but no sooner is he domesticated than
he becomes polygamous, and makes nothing of owning ten or a
dozen wives at a time. As regards the females, they are much
more solicitous for the welfare of their progeny in a wild state
than a tame. Should a tame duck's duckling get into mortal
trouble, its mother will just signify her sorrow by an extra
"quack," or so, and a flapping of her wings; but touch a wild
duck's little one if you dare! she will buffet you with her
broad wings, and dash boldly at your face with her stout beak.
If you search for her nest amongst the long grass, she will try
no end of manoeuvres to lure you from it, her favourite _ruse_
being to pretend lameness, to delude you into the notion that
you have only to pursue _her_ vigorously, and her capture is
certain; so you persevere for half a mile or so, and then she is
up and away, leaving you to find your way back to the nest if
you can. Among the ancients, opinion was at variance respecting
the wholesomeness and digestibility of goose flesh, but
concerning the excellence of the duck all parties were agreed;
indeed, they not only assigned to duck-meat the palm for
exquisite flavour and delicacy, they even attributed to it
medicinal powers of the highest order. Not only the Roman
medical writers of the time make mention of it, but likewise the
philosophers of the period. Plutarch assures us that Cato
preserved his whole household in health, in a season when plague
and disease were rife, through dieting them on roast duck.

STEWED DUCK AND PEAS (Cold Meat Cookery).

935. INGREDIENTS.--The remains of cold roast duck, 2 oz. of butter, 3 or
4 slices of lean ham or bacon, 1 tablespoonful of flour, 2 pints of thin
gravy, 1, or a small bunch of green onions, 3 sprigs of parsley, 3
cloves, 1 pint of young green peas, cayenne and salt to taste, 1
teaspoonful of pounded sugar.

_Mode_.--Put the butter into a stewpan; cut up the duck into joints, lay
them in with the slices of lean ham or bacon; make it brown, then dredge
in a tablespoonful of flour, and stir this well in before adding the
gravy. Put in the onion, parsley, cloves, and gravy, and when it has
simmered for 1/4 hour, add a pint of young green peas, and stew gently
for about 1/2 hour. Season with cayenne, salt, and sugar; take out the
duck, place it round the dish, and the peas in the middle.

_Time_.--3/4 hour.

_Average cost_, exclusive of the cold duck, 1s.

_Seasonable_ from June to August.

DUCKS HATCHING.--Concerning incubation by ducks, a practised
writer says, "The duck requires a secret and safe place, rather
than any attendance, and will, at nature's call, cover her eggs
and seek her food. On hatching, there is not often a necessity
for taking away any of the brood; and, having hatched, let the
mother retain her young ones upon the nest her own time. On her
moving with her brood, let a coop be prepared upon the short
grass, if the weather be fine, and under shelter, if otherwise."

COOPING AND FEEDING DUCKLINGS.--Brood ducks should be cooped at
some distance from any other. A wide and flat dish of water, to
be often renewed, should stand just outside the coop, and
barley, or any other meal, be the first food of the ducklings.
It will be needful, if it be wet weather, to clip their tails,
lest these draggle, and so weaken the bird. The period of the
duck's confinement to the coop will depend on the weather, and
on the strength of the ducklings. A fortnight is usually the
extent of time necessary, and they may even be sometimes
permitted to enjoy the luxury of a swim at the end of a week.
They should not, however, be allowed to stay too long in the
water at first; for they will then become ill, their feathers
get rough, and looseness of the bowels ensue. In the latter
case, let them be closely cooped for a few days, and bean-meal
or oatmeal be mixed with their ordinary food.

[Illustration: AYLESBURY DUCKS.]

THE AYLESBURY DUCK.--The white Aylesbury duck is, and
deservedly, a universal favourite. Its snowy plumage and
comfortable comportment make it a credit to the poultry-yard,
while its broad and deep breast, and its ample back, convey the
assurance that your satisfaction will not cease at its death. In
parts of Buckinghamshire, this member of the duck family is bred
on an extensive scale; not on plains and commons, however, as
might be naturally imagined, but in the abodes of the cottagers.
Round the walls of the living-rooms, and of the bedroom even,
are fixed rows of wooden boxes, lined with hay; and it is the
business of the wife and children to nurse and comfort the
feathered lodgers, to feed the little ducklings, and to take the
old ones out for an airing. Sometimes the "stock" ducks are the
cottager's own property, but it more frequently happens that
they are intrusted to his care by a wholesale breeder, who pays
him so much _per_ score for all ducklings properly raised. To be
perfect, the Aylesbury duck should be plump, pure white, with
yellow feet, and a flesh-coloured beak.

STEWED DUCK AND PEAS (Cold Meat Cookery).

936. INGREDIENTS.--The remains of cold roast duck, 1/2 pint of good
gravy, cayenne and salt to taste, 1/2 teaspoonful of minced lemon-peel,
1 teaspoonful of pounded sugar, 2 oz, of butter rolled in flour, 1-1/2
pint of green peas.

_Mode_.--Cut up the duck into joints, lay it in the gravy, and add a
seasoning of cayenne, salt, and minced lemon-peel; let tins gradually
warm through, but not boil. Throw the peas into boiling water slightly
salted, and boil them rapidly until tender. Drain them, stir in the
pounded sugar, and the butter rolled in flour; shake them over the fire
for two or three minutes, and serve in the centre of the dish, with the
duck laid round.

_Time_.--15 minutes to boil the peas, when they are full grown.

_Average cost_, exclusive of the cold duck, 10d.

_Seasonable_ from June to August.

FATTENING DUCKS.--Many duck-keepers give their birds nothing in
the shape of food, letting them wander about and pick up a
living for themselves; and they will seem to get fat even upon
this precarious feeding. Unless, however, ducks are supplied
with, besides chance food, a liberal feed of solid corn, or
grain, morning and evening, their flesh will become flabby and
insipid. The simple way to fatten ducks is to let them have as
much, substantial food as they will eat, bruised oats and
pea-meal being the standard fattening food for them. No cramming
is required, as with the turkey and some other poultry: they
will cram themselves to the very verge of suffocation. At the
same time, plenty of exercise and clean water should be at their

AMERICAN MODE OF CAPTURING DUCKS.--On the American rivers, the
modes of capture are various. Sometimes half a dozen artificial
birds are fastened to a little raft, and which is so weighted
that the sham birds squat naturally on the water. This is quite
sufficient to attract the notice of a passing flock, who descend
to cultivate the acquaintance of the isolated few when the
concealed hunter, with his fowling-piece, scatters a deadly
leaden shower amongst them. In the winter, when the water is
covered with rubble ice, the fowler of the Delaware paints his
canoe entirely white, lies flat in the bottom of it, and floats
with the broken ice; from which the aquatic inhabitants fail to
distinguish it. So floats the canoe till he within it
understands, by the quacking, and fluttering, and whirring of
wings, that he is in the midst of a flock, when he is up in a
moment with the murderous piece, and dying quacks and
lamentations rend the still air.

[Illustration: BOW-BILL DUCKS.]

Bow-BILL DUCKS, &c.--Every one knows how awkward are the
_Anatidae_, waddling along on their unelastic webbed toes, and
their short legs, which, being placed considerably backward,
make the fore part of the body preponderate. Some, however, are
formed more adapted to terrestrial habits than others, and
notably amongst these may be named _Dendronessa sponsa_, the
summer duck of America. This beautiful bird rears her young in
the holes of trees, generally overhanging the water. When strong
enough, the young scramble to the mouth of the hole, launch into
the air with their little wings and feet spread out, and drop
into their favourite element. Whenever their birthplace is at
some distance from the water, the mother carries them to it, one
by one, in her bill, holding them so as not to injure their yet
tender frame. On several occasions, however, when the hole was
30, 40, or more yards from a piece of water, Audubon observed
that the mother suffered the young to fall on the grass and
dried leaves beneath the tree, and afterwards led them directly
to the nearest edge of the next pool or creek. There are some
curious varieties of the domestic duck, which only appear
interesting from their singularity, for there does not seem to
be anything of use or value in the unusual characteristics which
distinguish them; thus, the bow-bill duck, as shown in the
engraving, called by some writers the hook-bill, is remarkable
for the peculiarly strange distortion of its beak, and the tuft
on the top of its head. The penguin duck, again, waddles in an
upright position, like the penguin, on account of the unnatural
situation of its legs. These odd peculiarities add nothing of
value to the various breeds, and may be set down as only the
result of accidental malformation, transmitted from generation
to generation.


937. INGREDIENTS.--The remains of cold roast duck, 1/2 pint of good
gravy, 4 shalots, a few slices of carrot, a small bunch of savoury
herbs, 1 blade of pounded mace, 1 lb. of turnips, weighed after being
peeled, 2 oz. of butter, pepper and salt to taste.

_Mode_.--Cut up the duck into joints, fry the shalots, carrots, and
herbs, and put them, with the duck, into the gravy; add the pounded
mace, and stew gently for 20 minutes or 1/2 hour. Cut about 1 lb. of
turnips, weighed after being peeled, into 1/2-inch squares, put the
butter into a stewpan, and stew them till quite tender, which will be in
about 1/2 hour, or rather more; season with pepper and salt, and serve
in the centre of the dish, with the duck, &c. laid round.

_Time_.--Rather more than 1/2 hour to stew the turnips.

_Average cost_, exclusive of the cold duck, 1s.

_Seasonable_ from November to February.

THE WILD DUCK.--In many parts of England the wild duck is to be
found, especially in those desolate fenny parts where water
abounds. In Lincolnshire they are plentiful, and are annually
taken in the decoys, which consist of ponds situate in the
marshes, and surrounded with wood or reeds to prevent the birds
which frequent them from, being disturbed. In these the birds
sleep during the day; and as soon as evening sets in, the _decoy
rises_, and the wild fowl feed during the night. Now is the time
for the decoy ducks to entrap the others. From the ponds
diverge, in different directions, certain canals, at the end of
which funnel nets are placed; along these the _decoy ducks_,
trained for the purpose, lead the others in search of food.
After they have got a certain length, a decoy-man appears, and
drives them further on, until they are finally taken in the
nets. It is from these decoys, in Lincolnshire, that the London
market is mostly supplied. The Chinese have a singular mode of
catching these ducks. A person wades in the water up to the
chin, and, having his head covered with an empty calabash,
approaches the place where the ducks are. As the birds have no
suspicion of the nature of the object which is concealed under
the calabash, they suffer its approach, and allow it to move at
will among their flock. The man, accordingly, walks about in the
midst of his game, and, whenever he pleases, pulls them by the
legs under the water, and fixes them to his belt, until he has
secured as many as he requires, and then moves off as he went
amongst them, without exciting the slightest suspicion of the
trick he has been playing them. This singular mode of
duck-hunting is also practised on the Ganges, the earthen
vessels of the Hindoos being used instead of calabashes. These
vessels, being those in which the inhabitants boil their rice,
are considered, after once being used, as defiled, and are
accordingly thrown into the river. The duck-takers, finding them
suitable for their purpose, put them on their heads; and as the
ducks, from seeing them constantly floating down the stream, are
familiar with their appearance, they regard them as objects from
which no danger is to be expected.

[Illustration: CALL-DUCKS.]

DUCK-SNARES IN THE LINCOLNSHIRE FENS.--The following interesting
account of how duck-snaring used to be managed in the
Lincolnshire fens, was published some years ago, in a work
entitled the "Feathered Tribes."--"In the lakes to which they
resorted, their favourite haunts were observed, and in the most
sequestered part of a haunt, a pipe or ditch was cut across the
entrance, decreasing gradually in width from the entrance to the
further end, which was not more than two feet wide. The ditch
was of a circular form, but did not bend much for the first ten
yards. The banks of the lake on each side of the ditch were kept
clear of weeds and close herbage, in order that the ducks might
get on them to sit and dress themselves. Along the ditch, poles
were driven into the ground close to the edge on each side, and
the tops were bent over across the ditch and tied together. The
poles then bent forward at the entrance to the ditch, and formed
an arch, the top of which was tea feet distant from the surface
of the water; the arch was made to decrease in height as the
ditch decreased in width, so that the remote end was not more
than eighteen inches in height. The poles were placed about six
feet from each other, and connected by poles laid lengthwise
across the arch, and tied together. Over the whole was thrown a
net, which was made fast to a reed fence at the entrance and
nine or ten yards up the ditch, and afterwards strongly pegged
to the ground. At the end of the ditch furthest from the
entrance, was fixed what was called a tunnel-net, of about four
yards in length, of a round form, and kept open by a number of
hoops about eighteen inches in diameter, placed at a small
distance from each other to keep it distended. Supposing the
circular bend of the ditch to be to the right, when one stands
with his back to the lake, then on the left-hand side, a number
of reed fences were constructed, called shootings, for the
purpose of screening the decoy-man from observation, and, in
such a manner, that the fowl in the decoy would not be alarmed
while he was driving those that were in the pipe. These
shootings, which were ten in number, were about four yards in
length and about six feet high. From the end of the last
shooting a person could not see the lake, owing to the bend of
the ditch; and there was then no further occasion for shelter.
Were it not for these shootings, the fowl that remained about
the mouth of the ditch would have been alarmed, if the person
driving the fowl already under the net should have been exposed,
and would have become so shy as entirely to forsake the place."

THE DECOY MAN, DOG, AND DUCKS.--"The first thing the decoy-man
did, on approaching the ditch, was to take a piece of lighted
peat or turf, and to hold it near his mouth, to prevent the
birds from smelling him. He was attended by a dog trained to
render him assistance. He walked very silently about halfway up
the shootings, where a small piece of wood was thrust through
the reed fence, which made an aperture just large enough to
enable him to see if there were any fowl within; if not, he
walked to see if any were about the entrance to the ditch. If
there were, he stopped, made a motion to his dog, and gave him a
piece of cheese to eat, when the dog went directly to a hole
through the reed fence, and the birds immediately flew off the
back into the water. The dog returned along the bank between the
reed fences, and came out to his master at another hole. The man
then gave the dog something more to encourage him, and the dog
repeated his rounds, till the birds were attracted by his
motions, and followed him into the mouth of the ditch--an
operation which was called 'working them.' The man now retreated
further back, working the dog at different holes, until the
ducks were sufficiently under the net. He then commanded his dog
to lie down under the fence, and going himself forward to the
end of the ditch next the lake, he took off his hat, and gave it
a wave between the shootings. All the birds that were under the
net could then see him, but none that were in the lake could.
The former flew forward, and the man then ran to the next
shooting, and waved his hat, and so on, driving them along until
they came into the tunnel-net, into which they crept. When they
were all in, the man gave the net a twist, so as to prevent them
getting back. He then took the net off from the end of the
ditch, and taking out, one by one, the ducks that were in it,
dislocated their necks."


[Illustration: BOILED FOWL.]

938. INGREDIENTS.--A pair of fowls; water.

_Choosing and Trussing_.--In choosing fowls for boiling, it should be
borne in mind that those that are not black-legged are generally much
whiter when dressed. Pick, draw, singe, wash, and truss them in the
following manner, without the livers in the wings; and, in drawing, be
careful not to break the gall-bladder:--Cut off the neck, leaving
sufficient skin to skewer back. Cut the feet off to the first joint,
tuck the stumps into a slit made on each side of the belly, twist the
wings over the back of the fowl, and secure the top of the leg and the
bottom of the wing together by running a skewer through them and the
body. The other side must be done in the same manner. Should the fowl be
very large and old, draw the sinews of the legs before tucking them in.
Make a slit in the apron of the fowl, large enough to admit the parson's
nose, and tie a string on the tops of the legs to keep them in their
proper place.

_Mode_.--When, they are firmly trussed, put them into a stewpan with
plenty of hot water; bring it to boil, and carefully remove all the scum
as it rises. _Simmer very gently_ until the fowl is tender, and bear in
mind that the slower it boils, the plumper and whiter will the fowl be.
Many cooks wrap them in a floured cloth to preserve the colour, and to
prevent the scum from clinging to them; in this case, a few slices of
lemon should be placed on the breasts; over these a sheet of buttered
paper, and then the cloth; cooking them in this manner renders the flesh
very white. Boiled ham, bacon, boiled tongue, or pickled pork, are the
usual accompaniments to boiled fowls, and they may be served with
Bechamel, white sauce, parsley and butter, oyster, lemon, liver, celery,
or mushroom sauce. A little should be poured over the fowls, after the
skewers are removed, and the remainder sent in a tureen to table.

_Time_.--Large fowl, 1 hour; moderate-sized one, 3/4 hour; chicken, from
20 minutes to 1/2 hour.

_Average cost_, in full season, 5s. the pair.

_Sufficient_ for 7 or 8 persons.

_Seasonable_ all the year, but scarce in early spring.

[Illustration: GAME-FOWLS.]

THE GAME FOWL.--Respecting the period at which this well-known
member of the _Gallus_ family became domesticated, history is
silent. There is little doubt, however, that, like the dog, it
has been attached to mankind ever since mankind were attached to
civilization. Although the social position of this bird is, at
the present time, highly respectable, it is nothing to what it
was when Rome was mistress of the world. Writing at that period,
Pliny says, respecting the domestic cock, "The gait of the cock
is proud and commanding; he walks with head erect and elevated
crest; alone, of all birds, he habitually looks up to the sky,
raising, at the same time, his curved and scythe-formed tail,
and inspiring terror in the lion himself, that most intrepid of
animals.----They regulate the conduct of our magistrates, and
open or close to them their own houses. They prescribe rest or
movement to the Roman fasces: they command or prohibit battles.
In a word, they lord it over the masters of the world." As well
among the ancient Greeks as the Romans, was the cock regarded
with respect, and even awe. The former people practised
divinations by means of this bird. Supposing there to be a doubt
in the camp as to the fittest day to fight a battle, the letter
of every day in the week would be placed face downwards, and a
grain of corn placed on each; then the sacred cock would be let
loose, and, according to the letters he pecked his corn from, so
would the battle-time be regulated. On one momentous occasion,
however, a person inimical to priestly interest officiously
examined the grain, and found that those lying on the letters
not wanted were made of wax, and the birds, preferring the true
grain, left these untouched. It is needless to add that, after
this, divination through the medium of cocks and grain fell out
of fashion. Whether or no the learned fowl above alluded to were
of the "game" breed, is unknown; but that the birds were bred
for the inhuman sport of fighting many hundred years before the
Christian era, there can be no doubt. Themistocles, the Athenian
king, who flourished more than two thousand years ago, took
advantage of the sight of a pitched battle between two cocks to
harangue his soldiers on courage. "Observe," said he, "with what
intrepid valour they fight, inspired by no other motive than
lore of victory; whereas you have to contend for your religion
and your liberty, for your wives and children, and for the tombs
of your ancestors." And to this day his courage has not
degenerated. He still preserves his bold and elegant gait, his
sparkling eye, while his wedge-shaped beak and cruel spurs are
ever ready to support his defiant crow. It is no wonder that the
breed is not plentiful--first, on account of the few eggs laid
by the hen; and, secondly, from the incurable pugnacity of the
chicks. Half fledged broods may be found blind as bats from
fighting, and only waiting for the least glimmer of sight to be
at it again. Without doubt, the flesh of game fowls is every way
superior to that of every chicken of the family.


939. INGREDIENTS.--A large fowl, seasoning, to taste, of pepper and
salt, 2 handfuls of button mushrooms, 1 slice of lean ham, 3/4 pint of
thickened gravy, 1 teaspoonful of lemon-juice, 1/2 teaspoonful of
pounded sugar.

_Mode_.--Cut the fowl into quarters, roast it until three-parts done,
and keep it well basted whilst at the fire. Take the fowl up, broil it
for a few minutes over a clear fire, and season it with pepper and salt.
Have ready some mushroom sauce made in the following manner. Put the
mushrooms into a stewpan with a small piece of butter, the ham, a
seasoning of pepper and salt, and the gravy; simmer these gently for 1/2
hour, add the lemon-juice and sugar, dish the fowl, and pour the sauce
round them.

_Time_.--To roast the fowl, 35 minutes; to broil it, 10 to 15 minutes.

_Average cost_, in full season, 2s. 6d.

_Sufficient_ for 4 or 5 persons.

_Seasonable_.--In full season from May to January.

[Illustration: BLACK BANTAMS.]

THE BANTAM.--No one will dispute that for beauty, animation,
plumage, and courage the Bantam is entitled to rank next to the
game fowl. As its name undoubtedly implies, the bird is of
Asiatic origin. The choicest sorts are the buff-coloured, and
those that are entirely black. A year-old Bantam cock of pure
breed will not weigh more than sixteen ounces. Despite its small
size, however, it is marvellously bold, especially in defence of
its progeny. A friend of the writer's, residing at Kensington,
possessed a pair of thorough-bred Bantams, that were allowed the
range of a yard where a fierce bull-terrier was kennelled. The
hen had chicks; and, when about three weeks old, one of them
strayed into the dog-kennel. The grim beast within took no
notice of the tiny fledgling; but, when the anxious mother
ventured in to fetch out the truant, with a growl the dog woke,
and nearly snapped her asunder in his great jaws. The cock bird
saw the tragic fate of its partner; but, nothing daunted, flew
at the dog with a fierce cry, and pecked savagely at its face.
The odds, however, were too great; and, when the terrier had
sufficiently recovered from the astonishment caused by the
sudden and unexpected attack, he seized the audacious Bantam,
and shook him to death; and, in five minutes, the devoted couple
were entombed in _Pincher's_ capacious maw.


940. INGREDIENTS.--1 fowl, mutton broth, 2 onions, 2 small blades of
pounded mace, pepper and salt to taste, 1/4 pint of rice, parsley and

_Mode_.--Truss the fowl as for boiling, and put it into a stewpan with
sufficient clear well-skimmed mutton broth to cover it; add the onion,
mace, and a seasoning of pepper and salt; stew very gently for about 1
hour, should the fowl be large, and about 1/2 hour before it is ready
put in the rice, which should be well washed and soaked. When the latter
is tender, strain it from the liquor, and put it on a sieve reversed to
dry before the fire, and, in the mean time, keep the fowl hot. Dish it,
put the rice round as a border, pour a little parsley and butter over
the fowl, and the remainder send to table in a tureen.

_Time_.--A large fowl, 1 hour.

_Average cost_, in full season, 2s. 6d.

_Sufficient_ for 3 or 4 persons.

_Seasonable_ all the year, but scarce in early spring.

[Illustration: DORKINGS.]

THE DORKING.--This bird takes its name from that of a town in
Surrey, where the breed is to be found in greater numbers, and
certainly in greater perfection, than elsewhere. It is generally
believed that this particular branch of poultry was found in the
town above mentioned as long ago as the Roman era. The Dorking's
chief characteristic is that he has five claws on each foot; the
extra claw, however, is never of sufficient length to encumber
the foot, or to cause it to "drag" its nest, or scratch out the
eggs. The colour of the true Dorking is pure white; long in the
body, short in the legs, and a prolific layer. Thirty years ago,
there was much controversy respecting the origin of the Dorking.
The men of Sussex declared that the bird belonged to them, and
brought birds indigenous to their weald, and possessing all the
Dorking fine points and peculiarities, in proof of the
declaration. Others inclined to the belief that the Poland bird
was the father of the Dorking, and not without at least a show
of reason, as the former bird much resembles the latter in
shape; and, despite its sombre hue, it is well known that the
Poland cock will occasionally beget thorough white stock from
white English hens. The commotion has, however, long ago
subsided, and Dorking still retains its fair reputation for


941. INGREDIENTS.--1 fowl, 2 oz. of butter, 3 onions sliced, 1 pint of
white veal gravy, 1 tablespoonful of curry-powder, 1 tablespoonful of
flour, 1 apple, 4 tablespoonfuls of cream, 1 tablespoonful of

_Mode_.--Put the butter into a stewpan, with the onions sliced, the fowl
cut into small joints, and the apple peeled, cored, and minced. Fry of a
pale brown, add the stock, and stew gently for 20 minutes; rub down the
curry-powder and flour with a little of the gravy, quite smoothly, and
stir this to the other ingredients; simmer for rather more than 1/2
hour, and just before serving, add the above proportion of hot cream and
lemon-juice. Serve with boiled rice, which may either be heaped lightly
on a dish by itself, or put round the curry as a border.

_Time_.--50 minutes.

_Average cost_, 3s. 3d.

_Sufficient_ for 3 or 4 persons.

_Seasonable_ in the winter.

_Note_.--This curry may be made of cold chicken, but undressed meat will
be found far superior.

THE POLAND.--This bird, a native of Holland, is a great
favourite with fowl-keepers, especially those who have on eye to
profit rather than to amusement. Those varieties known as the
"silver spangled" and the "gold spangled" are handsome enough to
please the most fastidious; but the common black breed, with the
bushy crown of white feathers, is but a plain bird. The chief
value of the common Poland lies in the great number of eggs they
produce; indeed, in many parts, they are as well known as
"everlasting layers" as by their proper name. However, the
experienced breeder would take good care to send the eggs of his
everlasting layers to market, and not use them for home
consumption, as, although they may be as large as those laid by
other hens, the amount of nutriment contained in them is not
nearly so great. Mr. Mowbray once kept an account of the number
of eggs produced by this prolific bird, with the following
result:--From the 25th of October to the 25th of the following
September five hens laid 503 eggs; the average weight of each
egg was one ounce five drachms, and the total weight of the
whole, exclusive of the shells, 50-1/4 pounds. Taking the weight
of the birds at the fair average of five pounds each, we thus
see them producing within a year double their weight of egg
alone; and, supposing every egg to contain a chick, and allowing
the chick to, grow, in less than eighteen months from the laying
of the first egg, _two thousand five hundred pounds_ of
chicken-meat would be the result. The Poland is easily fattened,
and its flesh is generally considered juicier and of richer
flavour than most others.

[Illustration: SPANGLED POLANDS.]


942. INGREDIENTS.--The remains of cold roast fowls, 2 large onions, 1
apple, 2 oz. of butter, 1 dessertspoonful of curry-powder, 1 teaspoonful
of flour, 1/2 pint of gravy, 1 tablespoonful of lemon-juice.

_Mode_.--Slice the onions, peel, core, and chop the apple, and cut the
fowl into neat joints; fry these in the butter of a nice brown; then add
the curry-powder, flour, and gravy, and stew for about 20 minutes. Put
in the lemon-juice, and serve with boiled rice, either placed in a ridge
round the dish or separately. Two or three shallots or a little garlic
may be added, if approved.

_Time_.--Altogether 1/2 hour. _Av. cost_, exclusive of the cold fowl,

_Seasonable_ in the winter.

[Illustration: COCHIN-CHINAS.]

THE COCHIN-CHINA.--About fifteen years ago, the arrival of this
distinguished Asiatic created in England as great a sensation as
might be expected from the landing of an invading host. The
first pair that ever made their appearance here were natives of
Shanghai, and were presented to the queen, who exhibited them at
the Dublin poultry-show of 1818. Then began the "Cochin"
_furor_. As soon as it was discovered, despite the most
strenuous endeavours to keep the tremendous secret, that a
certain dealer was possessed of a pair of these birds,
straightway the avenues to that dealer's shop were blocked by
broughams, and chariots, and hack cabs, until the shy poulterer
had been tempted by a sufficiently high sum to part with his
treasure. Bank-notes were exchanged for Cochin chicks, and
Cochin eggs were in as great demand as though they had been laid
by the fabled golden goose. The reign of the Cochin China was,
however, of inconsiderable duration. The bird that, in 1847,
would fetch thirty guineas, is now counted but ordinary
chicken-meat, and its price is regulated according to its weight
when ready for the spit. As for the precious buff eggs, against
which, one time of day, guineas were weighed,--send for
sixpenn'orth at the cheesemonger's, and you will get at least
five; which is just as it should be. For elegance of shape or
quality of flesh, the Cochin cannot for a moment stand
comparison with our handsome dunghill; neither can the
indescribable mixture of growling and braying, peculiar to the
former, vie with the musical trumpeting of our own morning
herald: yet our poultry-breeders have been immense gainers by
the introduction of the ungainly celestial, inasmuch as _new
blood_ has been infused into the English chicken family. Of this
incalculable advantage we may be sure; while, as to the Cochin's
defects, they are certain to be lost in the process of "cross
and cross" breeding.


943. INGREDIENTS.--A pair of fowls, 1 pint of Bechamel, No, 367, a few
bunches of boiled brocoli or cauliflower.

_Mode_.--Truss and boil the fowls by recipe No. 938; make a pint of
Bechamel sauce by recipe No. 367; pour some of this over the fowls, and
the remainder send to table in a tureen. Garnish the dish with bunches
of boiled cauliflowers or brocoli, and serve very hot. The sauce should
be made sufficiently thick to adhere to the fowls; that for the tureen
should be thinned by adding a spoonful or two of stock.

_Time_.--From 1/2 to 1 hour, according to size.

_Average cost_, in full season, 5s. a pair.

_Sufficient_ for 6 or 7 persons.

_Seasonable_ all the year, but scarce in early spring.

SPACE FOR FOWLS.--We are no advocates for converting the
domestic fowl into a cage-bird. We have known amateur
fowl-keepers--worthy souls, who would butter the very barley
they gave their pets, if they thought they would the more enjoy
it--coop up a male bird and three or four hens in an ordinary
egg-chest placed on its side, and with the front closely barred
with iron hooping! This system will not do. Every animal, from
man himself to the guinea-pig, must have what is vulgarly, but
truly, known as "elbow-room;" and it must be self-evident how
emphatically this rule applies to winged animals. It may be
urged, in the case of domestic fowls, that from constant disuse,
and from clipping and plucking, and other sorts of maltreatment,
their wings can hardly be regarded as instruments of flight; we
maintain, however, that you may pluck a fowl's wing-joints as
bare as a pumpkin, but you will not erase from his memory that
he is a fowl, and that his proper sphere is the open air. If he
likewise reflects that he is an ill-used fowl--a prison-bird--he
will then come to the conclusion, that there is not the least
use, under such circumstances, for his existence; and you must
admit that the decision is only logical and natural.

BOILED FOWL, with Oysters.


944. INGREDIENTS.--1 young fowl, 3 dozen oysters, the yolks of 2 eggs,
1/4 pint of cream.

_Mode_.--Truss a young fowl as for boiling; fill the inside with oysters
which have been bearded and washed in their own liquor; secure the ends
of the fowl, put it into a jar, and plunge the jar into a saucepan of
boiling water. Keep it boiling for 1-1/2 hour, or rather longer; then
take the gravy that has flowed from the oysters and fowl, of which there
will be a good quantity; stir in the cream and yolks of eggs, add a few
oysters scalded in their liquor; let the sauce get quite _hot_, but do
not allow it to _boil;_ pour some of it over the fowl, and the remainder
send to table in a tureen. A blade of pounded mace added to the sauce,
with the cream and eggs, will be found an improvement.

_Time_.--1-1/2 hour. Average cost, 4s. 6d.

_Sufficient_ for 3 or 4 persons.

_Seasonable_ from September to April.

THE FOWL-HOUSE.--In building a fowl-house, take care that it be,
if possible, built against a wall or fence that faces the
_south_, and thus insure its inmates against many cold winds,
driving rains, and sleets they will otherwise suffer. Let the
floor of the house slope half an inch to the foot from back to
front, so as to insure drainage; let it also be close, hard, and
perfectly smooth; so that it may be cleanly swept out. A capital
plan is to mix a few bushels of chalk and dry earth, spread it
over the floor, and pay a paviour's labourer a trifle to hammer
it level with his rammer. The fowl-house should be seven feet
high, and furnished with perches at least two feet apart. The
perches must be level, and not one above the other, or
unpleasant consequences may ensue to the undermost row. The
perches should be ledged (not fixed--just dropped into sockets,
that they may be easily taken out and cleaned) not lower than
five feet from the ground, convenient slips of wood being driven
into the wall, to render the ascent as easy as possible. The
front of the fowl-house should be latticed, taking care that the
interstices be not wide enough even to tempt a chick to crawl
through. Nesting-boxes, containing soft hay, and fitted against
the walls, so as to be easily reached by the perch-ladder,
should be supplied. It will be as well to keep by you a few
portable doors, so that you may hang one before the entrance to
a nesting-box, when the hen goes in to sit. This will prevent
other hens from intruding, a habit to which some are much


945. INGREDIENTS.--2 small fowls or 1 large one, 3 oz. of butter, a
bunch of parsley and green onions, 1 clove, 2 blades of mace, 1 shalot,
1 bay-leaf, salt and white pepper to taste, 1/4 pint of cream, the yolks
of 3 eggs.

_Mode_.--Choose a couple of fat plump chickens, and, after drawing,
singeing, and washing them, skin, and carve them into joints; blanch
these in boiling water for 2 or 3 minutes; take them out, and immerse
them in cold water to render them white. Put the trimmings, with the
necks and legs, into a stewpan; add the parsley, onions, clove, mace,
shalot, bay-leaf, and a seasoning of pepper and salt; pour to these the
water that the chickens were blanched in, and simmer gently for rather
more than 1 hour. Have ready another stewpan; put in the joints of fowl,
with the above proportion of butter; dredge them with flour, let them
get hot, but do not brown them much; then moisten the fricassee with the
gravy made from the trimmings, &c., and stew very gently for 1/2 hour.
Lift the fowl into another stewpan, skim the sauce, reduce it quickly
over the fire, by letting it boil fast, and strain it over them. Add the
cream, and a seasoning of pounded mace and cayenne; let it boil up, and
when ready to serve, stir to it the well-beaten yolks of 3 eggs: these
should not be put in till the last moment, and the sauce should be made
_hot_, but must _not boil_, or it will instantly curdle. A few
button-mushrooms stewed with the fowl are by many persons considered an

_Time_.--1 hour to make the gravy, 1/2 hour to simmer the fowl.

_Average cost_, 5s. the pair.

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