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OP: Hotel Monthly Handbooks (6 Vols)

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by Hotel Monthly Press

From the time that Kitchen Arts opened a little less than forty years ago, we have been asked repeatedly by our professional customers for a number of little kitchen manuals that had been recommended to them by their chefs—who had, in turn, been advised by their own teachers and mentors years earlier to seek them out.

Known as the Hotel Monthly handbooks, these useful books, jammed full of advice, reference information, ideas, and concise recipes were produced by John Willy, a Chicago publishing firm that, since the early 1880s, had supplied the hospitality industry with printed materials ranging from hotel registers to textbooks, magazines, and instructional works by leading chefs. This particular series was made to be easily handled and small enough to be slipped into an apron pocket.

Case-bound but with flexible or semi-flexible boards, they are of uniform size (roughly 8-½” x 3-¼ “ and averaging 150 to 160 pages for each book. The cloth bindings have similar designs but are of varied colors. Happily, they are extremely durable, the paper stock tending to retain its whiteness and showing no sign of becoming brittle. 

Dating the printings of these books is problematic. Some carry no dates at all, although we have been able to reconstruct the year of publication with a fair degree of confidence. All of the copies we offer, with one exception, are from early printings—1901 to 1917. They are easily identifiable by distinctive patterned endpapers, the pattern of which, under magnification, is revealed to be a tiny chef, waving implements in each of his hands. Our selection, excluding volumes devoted to waiters, bell-hops, and housekeepers, is as follows:

THE FISH AND OYSTER BOOK by Leon Kientz (“of Rectors”) Fine, unused. [1901]

THE VEST POCKET VEGETABLE BOOK by Charles G. Moore. Very Good. 1906

PASTRY AND THE RESTAURANT by Paul Richards. Very Good. [1914]

THE BOOK OF SAUCES by C. Herman Senn. Very Good with light wear at the head and foot of spine. 1915

EGGS IN A THOUSAND WAYS by Adolphe Meyer. Very Good. 1917

A SELECTION OF DISHES AND THE CHEF’S REMINDER by Charles Fellows. Fine, unused [1909]. This is the only volume in this group that is not one of the early printings. It was by far the most popular of the series and older copies in top condition are scarce. This one appears to be from a printing of the 1940s or a little later. It has plain endpapers and the advertising for other Hotel Monthly titles has been omitted.

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