Hotel keepers, head waiters, and housekeepers' guide
- In Collections
Feeding America: the Historic American Cookbook Project
- Copyright Status
- No Copyright
Food service employees
African American cooking
- Material Type
- 192 pages
The introductory texts reproduced here were written by the original Feeding America team to contextualize the books that were selected for inclusion as part of the 2001 digitization project.
Hotel Keepers, Head Waiters, and Housekeepers' Guide
By Tunis Gulic Campbell
Boston: Coolidge and Wiley, 1848.
This is truly a rare work; this copy is one of the few known. It is the second major Black-authored culinary work in America. It is also (as with The House Servant's Directory by Roberts) more than a cookbook. It is one of the earliest manuals written by any American on the supervision and management of first-class restaurants and hotel dining rooms.
Campbell's book is evocative of a military manual. For example, detailed, exacting instructions for the dining table service brigade are given and illustrated in a series of ten plates. It begins with the admonition to "select men of good appearance, as near of a height as possible" and ends with the suggestion that "waiting-men should be drilled every day, except Saturday and Sunday. Saturday should be used as a general cleaning day; and Sunday we should, if possible, go to church."
The author is as careful to instruct his waiters on their responsibility as he is equally voluble in telling the employers that they also have a responsibility to treat their help with respect and dignity. This book is a vital part of a study of America's history of race relations.
The cooking recipes in this volume include, among many others, Corn Bread, Buckwheat Pancakes, Brown Celery Sauce, Lobster Sauce, Roasted Eel, Wild Duck, Wigeons or Teal, Larks, Fried Sweetbreads and Kidneys; Soups of Sorrel, Asparagus, Craw-fish, and Turnip; Tarts of Almond, Apple or Pear, and Lemon or Orange; Artichoke or Potatoe Pie, Apple Dumplings, and A Trifle. This book deserves to be better known.
This is the second of the five major works by African Americans we have selected to represent their contributions to American cookery.