This section is from the book "The Steward's Handbook And Guide To Party Catering", by Jessup Whitehead. Also available from Amazon: Larousse Gastronomique.
There are two sorts; the small kind are too tedious peeling to be of much use in cooking; the large ones are known as Italian. They are good food when cooked; can be made up in many ways. The best sweet potatoes have very nearly the same flavor as chestnuts, and are often substituted for them wholly or partly in chicken stuffing and purees.
If the truth were known, many persons would confess that chestnuts never look so tempting as when they are seen at the corner of a street on the rude baking contrivance of a vagabond roaster. If they only had the courage in the face of day, they would gladly stop to buy a pennyworth and consent to pay a shilling. Nobody has been known to feel in the same way to boiled chestnuts, unless it be the Portuguese and those who have learnt their style, which is to "top " them, that is, nip off their points, and to boil them with aniseed - half an ounce to fifty chestnuts.