Life's too short to eat bad food - Me

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic - Arthur C. Clarke

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Everything Old is New Again

The mission of the ideal woman is to make the whole world more homelike. - Frances Willard
How typical! Over the years I created multiple blogs to reflect different aspects of my interest in cookery. I create and launch the new CITP website to gather these varying strains together in one place. Organizing them in an easy to understand display.

And the first blog post that comes to mind bends the rules.

It's about a cookbook, so it should be in Coquus Libris, shouldn't it? After all, I made the arbitrary decision. But, it came up for a search while launching this page. So I hereby decree an exception.

Getting the page up also included a re-direct of my Domain Name, so I knew there would be some time lag in the transfer. I expected other glitches to pop up. I kept googling the name to see what popped up. I got the usual supects: a series of posts of mine and a link to an Eat It Up podcast I did for Donnie Burtless of Buffalo Eats.

There was the usual link to James Beard's Theory & Practice of Good Cooking at Amazon. That is as it should be. I came up with the name for this blog by mashing up that title with Aliester Crowley's Magick in Theory and Practice.

I found a link to a course at the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration (Fall, spring. 4 credits. Letter grades only.) Sounds like fun, no? What really caught my was this listing, styled exactly as I have dubbed this blog, from the archives of the NY Times:

The link leads to a 1901 review of a cookbook Elements Of The Theory And Practice Of Cookery. The entire review is below. The title of the book caught my eye, and not just because of the similarity to my blog. It turns out that I have a later edition in my library. So, of course I had to pull it down, knock the dust off it, and start reading. Any book which stresses the interweaving of there and practice in all aspects of cookery is worth the perusal.

At first blush this work is in the same quaint vein as other fin de si├Ęcle cookbooks. The book's opening quote (which tops this post) harkens back to a time when Mrs. Kander's famous cookbook was subtitled: "The Way to a Man's Heart". Consider this: "the home-makers have always been women common the care of the home and the management of household industries have been at all times in their hands."

There is more going on in this book. Much more. Scientific equipment in the Home Ec. classroom?
A microscope is a desirable part of the equipment of a school kitchen, but if one is not available, drawings or chart showing the appearance of common foods and foodstuffs under the microscope they answer instead of an exhibition of the specimen itself under the microscope.
Sure, how else could one view the reproduction of yeast microflora.
Yeast is a mass of tiny plants, each a single, rounded cell consisting of a sack filled with watery matter. Under a microscope new cells may be seen butting out of old ones, forming branching chains. Each cell, however, lives in grows independently. Sometimes, usually an old yeast, daughter-cells form as spores inside of a mother-cell, and burst through the enclosing said. The home of yeast is on the skin of grapes and on parts of some other plants.
The reasoning for such studies is subtly subversive, don't you think?
The schoolboy has long known that chemistry would be useful to him should he become a manufacturer, an engineer, or a physician. The schoolgirl is now being led to see clearly it's used to her in the business of housekeeping.
Housekeeping my gluteus maximus. Forget about those who feared that the teaching of cooking in school would be teaching girls a trade - this book is instruction girls in scientific method. In a back door way the students were getting the same knowledge that was supposed to reservered for the ale future Captains of industry.

Now add to the equation that this volume is intended for students in sixth to eighth grade. This is more than a cookery textbook - it's a subversive piece of feminist literature. Training young women for the skills they could use in a man's world. It is designed to give young women a broad-based science education nineteen years before they gained the right to vote.

Pretty cool, huh?

Through the wonders of the internets, you can read a later, revised edition of this book online here and read and download it here.

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Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
- Arthur C. Clarke

Life's too short to eat bad food -