Miss Annie Manchester
Washington County, Pennsylvania
February 8th 1875
It has been said that cooking is an art and, to be proficient in that art is an accomplishment through it is the fewest number of persons who consider it an accomplishment to be a good cook. To be what is called a good cook is to know how to cook all kinds of plain food, and to make it palatable for all. Cooking is not one of the easiest things that there is to do. Every person can not cook well. Some men think they can cook with out even learning how. Without going through the slow, tedious process of learning how much soda is required to make the biscuits-lightly, or any of those matters which seem almost trivial in themselves, yet are so very important. Cooking is generally considered the work of woman, and, the kitchen her proper sphere. Some persons think that woman never can accomplish anything worthy of note, and think their highest aims in life should be to excel in cooking and to have a thorough knowledge of housekeeping I admit both of these are essential to the happiness of all. But are they the only thing? I think not. I read of a man once whole told his wife- that he could do the cooking and manage the house hold matters much better than she was doing. She told him she would give a chance to manage the house hold if he wished it. She left the house to his care and went visiting. But ok: how different it was from what he anticipated. The first thing he did was to prepare dinner for himself. He found it – different work from what he thought it was he got the dinner after having foiled the potatoes in the teakettle. Cooking a quart of rice, and making some biscuits without salt, soda, or shortening. And doing other things in a like ridiculous manner. He found somehow that his dinner was not what he expected it to be. It wasn’t even good as good as his wife’s would have been. I have no doubt that most men if left to do the cooking themselves would do something like that man did unless they were professional cooks. We have all read no doubt Prof. Blot the celebrated teacher and writer on all matters relating to the culinary department, Of course I doubt say but that there are men who can cook. But it is the fewest number of them that can cook well unless they have learned how or have been pupils of Prof. Blot or someone else. It is women who have the cooking to do. Is women who have to see to the household and it is they who have to see that the food is properly cooked and served at the appointed time the “Lords of creation”. It is women who are contantly – busy and ever watchful to see that every thing is properly done. And is it any wonder that women should say “Woman’s Work” is from sun to sun. But woman’s work is never done. There is real poetry in cooking if we only know how to find it. Real poetry in preparing the various dainty dishes for the table. Life would not be half so pleasant and so enjoyable if it were not for the cooks.
“We can live without poetry, music, and art
We can live without consistence and live without heart
We can live without friends you can live without books.
But civilized man can not live without cooks”