1 old duck
Minced ham or salt pork
1 large onion, chopped
1 tbs. catsup (type not specified)
1 tsp. brown sugar
1 tbs. browned flour
This is a good way to treat an old and tough fowl.
Clean and divide, as you would a chicken for fricassee. Put into a saucepan, with several (minced) slices of cold ham or salt pork which is not too fat, and stew slowly for at least an hour–keeping the lid on all the while. Then stir in a large chopped onion, a half-spoonful of powdered sage, or a whole spoonful of the green leaves cut fine, half as much parsley, a tablespoonful catsup, and black pepper. Stew another half-hour, or until the duck is tender, and add a teaspoonful brown sugar, and a tablespoonful of browned flour, previously wet with cold water. Boil up once, and serve in a deep covered dish, with green peas as an accompaniment.
Common Sense in the Household by Marion Harland, New York, 1871
Comment: While an “old duck” is called for here, these are still domestic fowl, not wild ducks, under discussion here. Keeping a backyard flock of chickens, ducks or geese was almost universal in the country, and very common even in cities until recent times. Not only did these provide people of lesser means a ready supply of eggs and meat for their own tables, by ancient tradition the proceeds gained from the sale in the market of any surplus was the rightful property of the woman of the house. “Butter and egg money” was often the only funds a woman had access to without having to go beg from her husband. Fowl intended for the table was normally killed while young and tender, but birds kept for egg-laying might last several years before winding up in the stewpot.