This section is from the book "The Steward's Handbook And Guide To Party Catering", by Jessup Whitehead. Also available from Amazon: Larousse Gastronomique.
The next proposition: "The steward does no carving, as that is done by the cook or his assistants," is quite wrong. The only point that all sorts of stewards are agreed upon is that it is the steward's duty to carve. The ability to carve is one of the accomplishments of a gentleman. The necessity of the steward's carving is obvious, else how can he know how the meat turns out which he is buying? how can he know how much is taken and how much is left over? how can he know, whether the fault found with the meat in the front of the house is attributable to the cook's negligence or to the meat itself? how cnn he know what meat goes to the officers' dining room, what to the nurses and children, and what to the help? And If the head cook is to carve who is to dish up the entrees he has made which nobody knows how to dish up right but himself? and who is to watch the run that is made upon this or that dish, or the soup, or fish, or salad, or vegetables, and provide more before the last order is gone, if his attention is engrossed at the carving table? The old steamboat stewards always carved the meat, sometimes the captain assisted.
The New York City hotel stewards carve, only, when the hotel is large, there are two stewards, and the inside steward is the carver, the outside steward has no time for it. The New England stewards, who go South every winter, all carve. A steward of the writer's acquaintance, who grew up in the Niagara Falls hotels and was troubled with obesity, begged off from carving because he suffered from the heat, but he never hinted even that carving was not his proper duty. A certain California steward, who, however, has been every where,where-ever he goes, always assumes the carving as his right, and his skill in dismembering a fowl almost instantaneously is really marvellous. A true New York City steward in a large southern hotel used to make his carving time very short and got the head cook totake hold for him, but never denied that it was his business to carve. One of our model New England stewards is now a proprietor of two resort hotels in their respective seasons, but still acts as his own steward, and his chef told the writer, in answer to questions on these very points, that he did his own carving until the house became so full it was scarcely possible for him to do so, and then the chef found him a carver and he accepted him and released himself.