The red-legged French partridges are rather larger and cheaper than the English, but they are not considered so good. The size of the spur, the smoothness of the legs and the tenderness of the pinion are the best guides in choosing a pheasant; and, indeed, these always are the points to observe in all birds, so far as their age is concerned.
If they are in good condition the breast is thick and hard; if lean, the breast feels thin and soft. The feet generally tell if a bird is fresh. They should be supple and moist, especially in water birds, but they soon become stiff and dry after the bird is dead.
Game is less fat than poultry or butcher's meat, and is generally thought to be very nourishing. It is also easy of digestion, and is valued in the sick room as well as on the table of the epicure. This does not apply to wild fowl, which have close, firm, and rather oily flesh, and are, therefore, unsuitable for delicate persons.
A number of small birds spoken of in this chapter do not, strictly speaking, come within the limits of either game, wild fowl or poultry. They are eaten as articles of luxury to no great amount, and are included here because they often replace game on the dinner table.
Table Showing Relative Value of Poultry and Game.
Giving the actual cost of the eatable portion of all, after deducting Loss in Weight from Cooking, Bone, Skin and Waste.
Much time and trouble has been spent in preparing the following table, all the Poultry and Game having been specially cooked and tested. It will surprise many to see the result, which shows how very costly most of the small birds are, reckoning their price per lb., instead of the usual way at so much each, or per brace.
|Name of bird.||How
Note.—The weights given in the third column are those of poultry and game, after being drawn and trussed for cooking.