"We have boiled, baked, fried, stewed, pickled, sweetened, salted it; tried it in puddings cakes and pies; but it sets all modes of cooking in defiance, so the boys break it up and smoke it in their pipes!"Pvt. Charles Davis of the 13th Massachusetts describing his regiment's first encounter with the Army's dried vegetables wryly observed that
…from the flow of colorful language which followed its consumption, we suspected it contained very powerful stimulating properties."According to Maj. Abner R. Small of the 16th Maine Regiment …
When the stuff was fully dissolved, the water would remind one of a dirty brook with all the dead leaves floating around promiscuously. Still, it was a substitute for food. We ate it, and we liked it, too."As they always have, American soldiers learned to deal with it. Amateur army cooks found that adding salted beef or bacon to the mix, along with some crumbled hardtack crackers produced a passable, and filling, stew. And, the product got better. By the first Boer War (1880-81) British troops marched with pressed soup blocks in their rucksacks, essentially desicated vegetables in a beef stock base, that made a quite palatable soup ration.
Without attempting any such systematic employment of time, and carrying it out, so far as they can control circumstances, most women are rather driven along by the daily occurrences of life: so that, instead of being the intelligent regulators of their own time, they are the mere sport of circumstances.The book devoted an entire chapter to the development of "Habits of System and Order" and emphasized simplicity and efficiency in all house work, but especially kitchen tasks to reduce the time spent preparing and cleaning up after meals. Kitchen work was more efficient, Beecher argued, if the kitchen was small and necessary equipment close at hand. A large kitchen, as was the convention at the time, wasted time and effort by requiring constant movement around the kitchen to get work done.
There should be ample space for tables, chairs, range, sink and cupboards, yet the room should not be so large as to necessitate too many steps. A very good size for the ordinary dwelling is 16 x 18 feet.Kellogg constantly referred to the kitchen as "The Household Workshop" that should have a single function, that of preparing meals, and identified in detail the appliances, fixtures, utensils and equipment required for that purpose. Her goal was to equip the kitchen everything necessary, but nothing that was not necessary. She observed,
In furnishing a kitchen, there should be everything likely to be required, but not one article more that is wanted. Unnecessary profusion creates little; a deficiency too often sacrifices perfection of a dish. There should be sufficiency, and no more.Each of these writers, and others of the period, were aware of a relationship between efficiency in food preparation and the size, shape, arrangement and equipment of a kitchen, but handicapped by a lack of systematic studies of kitchen work, were unable to precisely identify what that relationship should be. It was only after industrial ergonomists began studying kitchen work that sound principles of organization and management could be applied to the home kitchen. These studies did not begin until the very last years of the Victorian Era.
"The first step toward the efficiency any kitchen is to have the kitchen small, compact and without long narrow pantries and closets… A good-sized kitchen for a small house is 10 x 12; the ideal is nearly square… [T]he next step… is to place the principal equipment of stove, sink, tables and closets in right relation to each other… In planning for any kitchen, I have found, after close study, that there are just two main processes in all kitchen work… those processes which prepare the meal [and] those which clear away the meal. Each of these processes covers distinct equipment".Her observations were not limited to the kitchen. Chapters of the book covered the efficient scheduling of household tasks, the housewife as purchasing agent, how to manage household finances, record keeping, efficient cooking, and the development of efficient habits, to name just a few.
"…It measures only 12 by 14 feet, a space small enough that no waste motion occurs between tasks. Double casement windows at the south and west let in a quantity of light upon the working spaces, and give the “long view” of outdoors so necessary to relieve the eye strain of the worker.But, perhaps even more important to modern kitchen planning was the development by Katharine A. Fisher5 of the concept of a task-centric workspace. A director of the Good Housekeeping Institute, author, and columnist for Good Housekeeping Magazine, she wrote a series of widely read columns about kitchen efficiency beginning in 1924 in which she proposed grouping kitchen tasks factory style, according to purpose and materials, and assigning each task to its own work station. The basic work stations, food preparation, cooking and clean up would each have cabinets within easy reach that would hold all the implements and ingredients required to complete the task.
The kitchen itself is finished in light cream with white woodwork in a “flat” washable paint, which insures sanitary handling, and which is most cheery, light and cool. The floor is covered with a new pressed cork material impervious to grease and very soft to the foot of the worker. The arrangement of the chief equipment is after the manner of the efficient kitchen described in chapter three…
The refrigerator, kitchen cabinet, stove and table are in one group, placed so that food from the ice box is placed on the cabinet table next to it, in preparation for cooking on the stove next to it, and lifted when finished from the stove to the metal-topped table next to it. From ice-box all the way to the dining room is in one direction.
On the other side of the kitchen entirely, and moving in the opposite direction, is the clearing-away-process group. The sink, drain-boards, garbage disposal [by which is meant garbage "can", not the electric device under the sink. Ed.], and china closet are close together."