Foto: Cornell Capa

The Cook
A Cook to be perfect, should know a little of most sciences, have a taste for the fine arts, and be capable of modelling and drawing; then by daily practice he becomes familiarized with the medical properties of the viands at his command.
Though many say that a good dinner without the cook possessing the foregoing knowledge, yet it is also said the artist in whome these qualifications are combined becomes the most perfect in his art. To these qualities are to be joined those of activity, cleanliness, cool-mindedness, vigilance, firmess, and discretion.
In fine, the culinary art, as practised by the artist, calls for such knowledge as is not often to be found in other professions ranking higher than his in the social scale.
Coolness should never abandon him, since during his work the accidents he may have to endure are numerous. His dinner is clearly not of the order of those works which admit of being postponed till the morrow; his assistant may, in an excess o zeal of duty, casually overturn a dish; or a servent may slip, and destroy some tasteful preparation: still, it is expected that this artist should have, at all times, resources which he can immediately call into action, and so cover the failures of those about him.
It should also be well remebered that an illtempered man can never succeed as a master in the culinary art, since the derangement of his gastric juice destroys the peculiar excellence wich should govern his palate: it leaves it vitiated and tasteless. (…)

In “The Household Manager”, Charles Pierce, 1857