This section is from the book "Economical Cookery", by Marion Harris Neil. Also available from Amazon: Economical Cookery (1918).
"How many things by season seasoned are To their right praise and true perfection."
The chafing dish was introduced to the fashionable world as a fad, but has remained as a fact. A desire to become an adept in tossing up various savory repasts has unconsciously led many a novice into the mysteries of cookery, bounded by broader realms than that occupied by the modest chafing dish.
For impromptu collations what is so suggestive of congenial camaraderie as a steaming delicacy brought to perfection by the host and hostess and the friendly assistance of their guests?
The chafing dish is invaluable for a hasty breakfast, a dainty luncheon, late supper, or Sunday-night tea. And nowhere does it give better service than in the sick room, where small quantities quickly prepared and served hot will often tempt a whimsical appetite.
The ultimate success of cooking with a chafing dish depends largely upon the cook's familiarity with its various details. One need but put into operation certain common-sense rules. Cultivate the instinct of knowing how to make the most of the lamp, work quickly and with deft fingers, and have at hand the requisite utensils and condiments, so that time and the savori-ness of the repast need not be lost.
Have the water pan about one third full of hot water - hot when convenient, as this saves time. Put blazer or food pan over it while water is heating. Use hot-water pan only when preparation requires slow cooking or one that burns easily.
When great heat is called for, as in broiling, remove hot-water pan and put blazer directly over flame. To cook quickly, use only the blazer and have it well heated before beginning to cook.
It is well to keep on hand for serving a luncheon or supper such useful accessories as canned soups, lobster, salmon, shrimp, sardines, tongue, peas, corn, mushrooms, tomatoes, cheese, crackers, pickles, olives, and various relishes for fish and meat, besides canned milk.
Absolute cleanliness is essential in keeping a chafing dish and its various parts in good order. Be sure not to allow any moisture to remain, as rust speedily follows. After finishing with the chafing dish, place it and the utensils into hot water to soak; when allowed to dry overnight, the attendant scouring and scraping the next day will scratch and remove the finish either on nickel or silver.