18-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today:
Wednesday, December 31, 1913: Cut up chicken no. 2 and got a breast bone in with the back. That’s one in many of the many failures I’ve committed this year. Wonder how many will occur next year. Hope it will be some different any way.
Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:
Good Grief Grandma—
Don’t measure the success or failure of the year based on how well you dress chickens!
In the big scheme of things, how well you cut-up a chicken doesn’t matter much.
I’ve occasionally bought whole chickens and then tried to cut them into pieces—and it’s always been a disaster with mangled parts (such as the breast bone in with the back).
Here are the directions in The American Woman’s Cookbook for cutting up a chicken. (The directions start with a more whole chicken than what you’d find at the store today. :) )
Remove head, tendons, and oil sac. Cut off the legs at thigh joint and separate drumsticks from thigh. Cut the wings from the body, removing tips.
Separate the breast from back by cutting down both sides of bird below ribs. Remove heart, liver, gizzard, entrails and fat together. Remove windpipe, crop and lungs.
Cut back and breast crossswise. The back may be further divided by cutting lengthwise. Remove the wishbone by inserting knife under the tip and cut downward, following the bone.