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The Valuable Culinary Lesson Which a Professional Tramp Gave to Runaway Boys.
“The first time I ran away from home I learned a trick or two that was worth while,” said a well-known business man. “I started out on several unauthorized tours of adventure before I reached years of discretion, but the first is most vividly impressed upon my memory. Three of us kids caught a freight train and got some 60 or 70 miles away from home before the first nightfall. Then we didn’t know where to spend the night. Several attempts to quarter ourselves in empty box cars on the side track of a little village only resulted in our being chased away and threatened with arrest, so we went to the outskirts of the place, and built a fire on the bank of a little creek. Here we made ourselves as comfortable as possible, and one or two of us had actually dozed off for short naps when a regular hobo, a good specimen of the real article, happened along and wanted to know if we had anything to eat. Of course we hadn’t.
“‘Well,’ he said, ‘if you fellers’ll ketch a chicken, I’ll show you a trick that’ll be useful to you.’
“It didn’t take us long to catch the chicken and bring it back. The veteran member of the nomadic fraternity wrung its neck, jerked off its head, cleaned it and going down to the creek added it up, feathers, feet and all in a big ball of yellow clay. This he rolled into the fire and scraped the burning embers up around it. The clay soon hardened, and we could see it among the wood coals gradually becoming a bright cherry red. When it did so the cook rolled it out again, let it cool a little and then broke it open with a stone. The feathers had stuck to the baked clay and a clean, inviting chicken was ready to be served. All the moisture that in ordinary baking is lost had been kept in by the brick-like inclosure and the morsel that fell to my lot was the juiciest and sweetest I have ever eaten.”
– Cincinnati Enquirer
Daily Republican (Decatur, Illinois) Apr 6, 1899