I take it that we are in general agreement that nothing in this life, viewed
from a material angle, is of greater importance than Food. Not only is this
true from the standpoint of bodily nourishment, but also when considered as a
contributing factor to the joy of living. Food, then, to be of value in the promo-
tion of health, must necessarily be pure, fresh, properly preserved and of good
quality. For if these elements do not obtain primarily, no amount of culinary
skill can make up for their loss.
This first step is a problem of the purveyors; those whose duty it is to pro-
vide the foods. The public is justified in demanding that these purchase only
such foods as are wholesome and of standard grade. It has been no uncommon
thing to see many a meal prove disappointing because some of the dishes com-
posing it were prepared from products that were far below the grade to which
the patrons were accustomed.
With more science in agriculture, more skill among the raisers of cattle,
sheep and bogs, and the increase in knowledge among manufacturers and pre-
servers of food products, it is becoming easier to meet the Public's demands for
foods that leave nothing to be desired in nourishing qualities or eating pleasures.
Repeating then, it will appear that our first problem is the preserving of
health-giving, nourishing, pleasure creating foods to satisfy one of the Public's
demands in food.
PREPARATION OF FOOD
Having procured appropriate foods of the right quality, we now move on
to their preparation.
I do not think the kings of the earth, or the otherwise great, have had more
paens of praise in their honor than have those humble artists whose studies
are the kitchens and whose productions make their appeal, not to the eye or ear,
but to the palate.
The tremendous increase in the number of hotels, restaurants, dining cars,
wayside eating places and high class passenger steamships, attests the great
growth of the eating public. Those whose work consists of preparing the food
in many of the establishments enumerated above, know just how discriminating
and exacting is the public taste.
Here arises a perfectly fair question relating specifically to our group. Are
we meeting fully the cooking demands of this discriminating and exacting
Public? I wish it were possible for me to say, without any mental reservations,
that we are. But I fear that heretofore we have been satisfied in far too many
cases, in merely "getting by." Nor have we looked upon the science and art of
cookery as constituting a profession comparable in dignity and importance with
those of medicine, law or any other of the so-called learned professions.
Mr. Washington, who was so closely identified with the conception, organiza-
tion and early work of this League, used" to emphasize in his own inimical manner,
how dignity could be attached to any kind of labor; that whatever was worth
doing at all, had a light to all we possess in the way of intelligence, energy and
Now to meet the Public demand in the preparation of food, our present
cook needs to know much of the relative values of foods; nutrition, the effect of
heat on certain foods at various temperatures; the principles underlying and the
reasons for boiling, baking and frying, sanitation, the fine art of seasoning and
a working knowledge of what is being- done elsewhere in the field of cookery,
sufficient to keep him abreast of the times. He should be imbued with the spirit
of progress, keeping always in mind that perfection in every line, is the human
goal, always lying just beyond that to which we have attained. He will not be
a guesser; but every food production of his will have its ingredients as carefully
selected and measured as a Doctor's prescription for some bodily ailment. Above
all, he himself, and his bodily surroundings, will be scrupulously clean, for he
will be aware that this is a Public demand as relates to food that is becoming
more and more insistent.
Summarizing; our cook will know much about the various kinds of foods and
their relative values; he will be able to prepare many palatable tempting dishes;
he and his surroundings will be scrupulously clean; his work will be carefully and
intelligently planned, and executed with judgment and fidelity; he will be more
cheerful and progrissive; in short, he will be more than an artisan; he will be an
SERVING THE FOOD
Having selected the foods of quality, purity and appropriateness, and having
prepared them in a wholesome and appetizing manner to meet the Public's
demands, we now come to the final act in the drama—serving.