FROM the time fire was first brought to serve the needs of man, whether it was Prometheus or some less poetic mortal who accomplished that great feat, it is probable that more or less cooking has been done. The art of cookery, however, is a late development, consequent on culture and the increase of wealth. Our early ancestors ate and drank a great deal, it is true; but the meal was first and last a process of feeding, with little or no attempt to please the eye or appeal to the subtler refinements of the palate. All eating was done with the fingers, and food was served in straightforward fashion, often in such abundance and crudity as would take the appetite of a healthy man today. Cookery, then, as we know it, is the result of civilization. It is inextricably bound up, of course, with the necessities of nutrition, but mere hunger of itself will not produce cookery. Like modern painting and literature, it is largely a heritage from the Renaissance, which in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries spread over Europe from Italy as center, carrying light and beauty in its train.

Yet the cooking itself has always been looked upon as a despised work. The contempt of Lynette for Gareth, "but a kitchen-knave," is typical of an attitude that has lasted well into the present day. In late years, happily, with the rise of science in all its varied branches, a new interest in the subject has been awakened, and women of education and attainments have become more generally concerned with what is going on within their kitchens. We remember with amusement the time when writing was regarded as menial, when kings would not wield a pen, and were dependent for whatever writing was needed upon the work of hired scribes. Who knows but that cooking may also some day be honored equally by all?

However that may be, it is at least essential that every housewife should know something of the scientific principles of nutrition and should endeavor to have the meals served in her household both wholesome and attractive. "Nothing," says Dr. Harvey W. Wiley, for many years chief chemist of the United States Department of Agriculture, "is more important in the evolution of the race than dietetics. The study of buying for the table and the proper preparation of what is bought, is as much an art as the writing of a good book or the composition of a fine piece of poetry"