Saturday, May 22, 2010

To Caponize or Not to Caponize, That is the Question

The following excerpt is really of no import to me.  But I find it an interesting anecdote of life in the early 20th Century.  I'm reading In No Time at All, by Carl Hamilton.  The book is a collection of short essays of the major changes experienced in rural America during the various decades of the 1900s.  It is very interesting and sometimes humorous.

In the following excerpt, Mr. Hamilton is relating the the advent of visits from the county agent.  These college educated agricultural agents did have some helpful ideas.   But other shall see.
     Neutralizing the sex of male calves and pigs was a routine rainy-day farm operation.  Dad's jackknife (he felt as naked as without pants when he didn't have his favorite four-bladed knife in his pocket) had a special blade for surgical processes.  The glands of pigs and calves being located in obviously accessible places, this operation was no big deal.  Just a two man or a man-and-a-boy job.  Do it on a rainy day when no dust would get in the opening and recovery was remarkably rapid.
     With roosters, well, that's something else again.  The county agent, however, suggested that caponizing young roosters really was a home-talent operation and that the resulting price advantage of capons over roosters, with their added tenderness and size would make it a rewarding undertaking.
     Well, unfortunately, there turned out to be more "undertaking" in it than he--or we--had anticipated!  The rooster was stretched out on a board, the feathers were peeled off a part of his midsection, a small slit was made through the skin and flesh, and you peered into the darkness of his inner workings--hopefully within sight of his maleness.  Maleness in this instance was about the size of a pea and was to be removed with a pair of forceps sharp enough for the necessary detachment.
     In the fairly delicate little exercise, vision was totally restricted once the forceps were in the opening.  So by feel you snipped.  But if you mis-snipped, your bird didn't turn into a capon; he turned into an immediate fryer!  He quickly bled to death.  Well, you could only accommodate about so many fried chickens at a time without refrigeration.  Caponizing didn't catch on!.


Anonymous said...

In case anyone was wondering how...

Those Capons go rolling along!

madhenmom said...

Going to a retirement dinner tonight. Chickens on the menu. This could be great table conversation. :)

theMom said...

Always glad to be of assistance, Char. Bon apetite.