Thursday, September 11, 2008

Home-style cooking a winner on railroad dining car

Here's a nice quote from the 1921 The Journal of Home Economics. Despite efforts by many eateries of the period to introduce "foreign" food into their menus, one railroad dining car department was adapting home-style cookery into its menu.

Enjoy ...
Most of us who have tasted both American and foreign cooking prefer our home dishes, when well prepared, to anything else for a steady diet. Those who travel much and those who depend upon restaurants and hotels miss these home dishes and wish they could get them. Some of the more progressive hotels realize the importance of this matter and have tried to remedy it by installing home kitchens as a part of their equipment. Some of the best restaurants, dining-cars, cafes, and cafeterias also specialize on "home" food. For instance, one evidence that the wishes of the traveling public are not being overlooked, is shown by the Northern Pacific Railway, which has adopted "home" foods and "home" cookery in its dining-car service. A book of instructions for dining-car stewards and chefs on this railway has recently been published by G. W. Nelson, who makes the following statement:

"The art of cookery in all its branches is in such process of evolution that a few years only are sufficient to completely change the methods of preparing dishes once enthusiastically received by the public. Our departure from French and French cookery, and the adoption of plain English designations, and the plain home-like cookery have won the approval of our patrons. The variety of food products adaptable to dining-car service is small compared to that which the large hotel may use with unlimited combinations. We have, therefore, given you a limited specification of dishes that may be run on your specials, together with their prices, and you will strictly confine your menu-making to those things designated, and do not at any time run anything on your specials that deviate from the instructions. All dishes must be prepared according to the recipes which we provide, and these, together with the portion list will be issued to you in circular form" (Hotel Monthly, 29 (1921), no. 334, pp. 58 and 59).
Source: "A Plea for American Cookery and Home Dishes," The Journal of Home Economics, vol. 13, no. 10 (Oct. 1921), p. 506 (published by the American Home Economics Association).

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