After cooking, free the ends of the drumsticks from the body and trim them with a paper ruffle. This will enable the carver to touch them if necessary without soiling his or her hands. Place the turkey on the platter with the head at the left. Unless the platter is very large, provide an extra dish, also a fork for serving. I like to place fancy greens around the platter under the turkey and place small clumps of red and green grapes, nuts and cranberries around the golden bird. I bring it to the table for everyone to “ooh” and “aaah”, and then proceed to carve. To do this, insert the carving-fork across the middle of the breast-bone. Cut through the skin between the breast and the thigh. Bend the leg over, and cut off close to the body and through the joint. Cut through the top of the shoulder down through the wing-joint. Shave off the breast in thin slices, slanting from the front of the breast-bone down toward the wing-joint.
If the family is small and the turkey is to be served for a second dinner, carve only from the side nearest you. Tip the bird over slightly, and with the point of the knife remove the oyster and the small dark portion found on the side-bone. Then remove the fork from the breast and divide the leg and wing. Cut through the skin between the body and breast, and with a spoon remove a portion of the stuffing. Serve light or dark meat and stuffing, as preferred. If carved in this way, the turkey will be left with one half entire, and if placed on a clean platter with the cut side nearest the carver, and garnished with parsley, will present nearly as nice an appearance, to all but the carver, as when first served.
When there are many to be served, take off the leg and wing from each side and slice the whole of the breast before removing the fork; then divide as required.
It is not often necessary to cut up the whole body of the turkey, but to use every scrap of the meat, proceed to carve as follows:
Put the fork in firmly across the middle of the breast-bone. Cut through the skin between the leg and body. Bend the leg over and cut off at the joint. If the turkey be very tender or overcooked, the side-bone will separate from the back and come away with the second joint, making it more difficult to separate the thigh from the side-bone. Cut through the top of the shoulder and separate the wing at the joint. Cut off the leg and wing from the other side. Carve the breast on each side, in thin slices, slanting slightly toward the wing. Be careful to take a portion of crisp outside with each slice. Shave off the crisp skin near the neck, in order to reach the stuffing. Insert the point of the knife at the front of the breast-bone, turn back the wish-bone and separate it. Cut through the cartilage on each side, separating the collar-bones from the breast. Tip the body slightly over and slip the knife under the end of the shoulder-blade; turn it over toward the wing. Repeat this process on the opposite side. Cut through the cartilage which divides the ribs, separating the breast-bone from the back. Lay the breast one side and remove the fork from it. Take the stuffing from the back. Turn the back over, place the knife midway just below the ribs, and with the fork lift up the tail end, separating the back from the body. Place the fork in the middle of the backbone, and cut close to the backbone from one end to the other, on each side, freeing the side-bone. Then divide the legs and wings at the joints. The joint in the leg is not quite in the middle of the bend, but a trifle nearer the thigh. It requires some practice to strike these joints in the right spot. Cut off the meat from each side of the bone in the second joint and leg, as these when large are more than one person requires, and it is inconvenient to have such large bones on one's plate.
It is easier to finish the carving before beginning to serve. An expert carver will have the whole bird disjointed and literally in pieces with a very few strokes of the knife.