Poultry Preparation 101

So You Think You Know How To Kill A Turkey?

One Tough Bird

Christmas Dinner 1950

Cookie raised chickens and rabbits to supplement our food supply. He wasnít a farmer but he tried hard, and that led to some bizarre incidents.

He bought a few turkey chicks through the mail in the Spring of 1950. All but one went into family meals by Christmas. The one remaining was a 26 pound tom that was being saved for the big day.
I had recently begun dating my future wife Jean, and she was at the Theobald house. We were all set to go to a movie, and I was dressed in my brotherís clean pressed Army kaiki pants and bright white ironed shirt. Cookie asked me to help in ending the life of that big tom.

He had learned that the best method was to bleed the turkey immediately. To that end, he tied the birds legs to an apple tree branch with doubled clothesline, and took a straight razor to itís neck. This was the first time Cookie used this method, and hadnít yet learned to tie down the wings before dispatching Christmas dinner.
Pound for pound, that turkey proved to be one of the strongest animals around. With a great flapping and flopping, it broke that doubled clothesline, and hit the ground. Cookie jumped on the struggling bird, demanding that I join in to prevent the meat from being bruised. During the next several minutes as we lay on top of the turkey, itís jugular vein was spewing bright red blood straight up in the air and all over both man and boy.

After it was over, Cookie and I went back into the house covered with blood, scaring the daylights out of everyone. It took some explaining and a long clothes-and-all shower in the basement, but it provided a lot of laughs for many weeks.
Hey Neighbor! Would You Do Me A Favor?

Clem's Birds

Ran Out Of "Rooster Viagra"

Our neighbor Clem Bauer had raised a dozen White Leghorn hens for the eggs. After a few years most had stopped laying, so he decided to turn them all into stew birds. Knowing the Theobald expertise in this area, he bartered three chickens in exchange for Cookieís and Lilís preparation skills. I was recruited to help in this effort.

Back by the chicken coop under two feet of fresh snow, the chopping block was uncovered . It was a short stump with 2 nails driven about an inch apart. A normally routine task began.

Stretching the neck and beheading each bird in turn, Cookie tossed them into the snow, where they flopped about violently for a minute or so. When the last of twelve were dispatched, it looked like the aftermath of a terrible battle at Valley Forge in Winter.

It took a couple of hours to find the last white bird in all that bloody white snow. Scalding, plucking and eviscerating took Cookie and Lil until the wee hours of the morning.

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