In preparing a small and tender fish, where possible, the point under the head, where the gills meet, is cut, fingers thrust in and the entrails drawn through this opening; the fish is then washed, cleaned and wrapped in a coating of paper or fallen leaves, before the clay is applied. Place the fish upon a pancake of stiff clay (Fig. 147), fold the clay over the fish (Fig. 148), press the edges together, thus making a clay dumpling (Fig. 149); cook by burying the dumpling in the embers of an ordinary surface fire, or in the embers in a pit-fire (Fig. 150).

A brace of partridges may be beheaded, drawn, washed out thoroughly and stuffed with fine scraps of chopped bacon or pork, mixed with bread crumbs, generously seasoned with salt, pepper and sage, if you have any of the latter. The birds with the feathers on them are then plastered over with clean clay made soft enough to stick to the feathers, the outside is wrapped with stiffer clay and the whole molded into a ball, which is buried deep in the glowing cinders and allowed to remain there for an hour, and at the end of that time the clay will often be almost as hard as pottery and must be broken open with a stick. When the outside clay comes off the feathers will come with it, leaving the dainty white meat of the bird all ready to be devoured.

Woodchucks, raccoons, opossums, porcupines, rabbits had better be barbecued (see Figs. 114, 115 and 155), but squirrels and small creatures may be baked by first removing the insides of the creatures, cleaning them, filling the hollow with bread crumbs, chopped bacon and onions, then closing the opening and plastering the bodies over with stiff clay and baking them in the embers. This seals the meat inside of the mud wrapper and when it is cooked and the brick-like clay broken off, the skin comes off with the broken clay, leaving the juicy meat exposed to view.

Mud Cooking