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OP: Hotel Meat Cooking

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by Jessup Whitehead

Jessup Whitehead & Co., Publishers, 1891. Hardcover. Nearly Very Good. Fifth edition.

London-born Jessup Whitehead (1833–1889)—chef, traveler, and newspaper columnist—was a prolific writer in the late 19th century US where he made his home. His many cookbooks focus on institutional cooking, as in hotel and catering businesses.

During a period when the hospitality industry was booming, Whitehead’s self-publishing enterprise proved to be prescient, and books like The Hotel Book of Breads and Cakes (1881), The American Pastry Cook (1882), Hotel Meat Cooking (1883), Cooking for Profit (1886), and The Steward’s Handbook and Guide to Party Catering (1889), were extremely successful.

We offer here the second of his “oven and range” series, Hotel Meat Cooking, somewhat confusingly titled American Meat Cooking on the cover. Sections include The Hotel Fish and Oyster Cook; How to Cut Meats and Roast, Boil, and Broil; The Hotel Book of Soups and Entrees; and The Cook's Scrap Book: Blank Pages For Writing Recipes Upon—which consists of pages that are not in fact blank but full of anecdotal articles from various publications.

Whitehead’s writing is both friendly and informative, weaving digressive asides between the numerous recipes. He has much to say about the use of French terms on hotel menus, at one point saying, “That which was, perhaps, a good enough fashion once has become vulgarized like any past fashion in dress by every class of incompetent imitators trying it on and producing frightful effects”—a pragmatism fitting for the middle-American audience.

Ours is the scarce fifth edition, Nearly Very Good, the book block showing use with light blemishes and pencil marks. The dark brown cloth case is worn about the edges, exposing the boards underneath in some spots, fraying about the corners.

This copy comes from the Sontheimer Foundation Library. Carl Sontheimer (1914–1998) invented the original Cuisinart food processor.

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