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If one spends time with this delightful, little book, he will soon notice that interest moved from the kitchen into the dining room. From preparing food for the family to serving and entertaining guests, and from seeking the bare necessities to desiring the finer things in life.
The Civil War had ended only a generation before, and in only a few more years the twentieth century and a definite "new age" would arrive. It had been only a few years since the first telephone call, and also a few years since the first automobile was offered for sale to the public. The whole American continent was on the move. Americans were looking for the better things in life, so a large silver manufacturing company found it worthwhile to publish a lovely cookbook with some 100 recipes based only on the chafing dish cookery.
An attempt was made to put the chafing dish into a historical and cultural context by tracing its history from the ancient Greeks and Romans, to the Middle Ages, into the Age of Discovery, and finally bringing it to the New World in 1720. According to the Introduction, "The colonists having overcome the difficulties incidental upon the making of a new country, began to appreciate and to desire the luxuries and adornments of refined living."
After reassuring the reader that the sincerest expression of hospitality is to serve with chafing dishes, a long list of useful and not-so-useful recipes is given. Some of them are still as excellent today a they were when the book was written. Among those worth trying are the ones we have translated for the modern cook - Crab Meat a la Newburgh (p. 52), Liver a la Suisse (p. 158), and Rum Omelette(p. 129).
It is interesting to note that this little book attempts to give accurate measurements and accurate timings, explaining the conditions under which the dishes were prepared in the company's testing facilities, restaurant-type dishes, such as those recipes which use lobster, crab, oysters and steak, the author also includes wholesome, but very simple dishes such as Frankfurter and Cabbage (p. 158), Welsh Rarebit (p. 178) and Smoked Pigs Jowl (p.97).
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