This section is from the book "The Steward's Handbook And Guide To Party Catering", by Jessup Whitehead. Also available from Amazon: Larousse Gastronomique.
Mr. Taft evidently experienced keen enjoyment in his avocation, yet it may be doubted whether he, being practically without competitors, ever knew the supreme exultation of the city restaurant steward who "get's a scoop" on all his rivals in the business by securing the entire supply of some coveted delicacy and compelling the best patrons of other establishments to come to his place for it. He may have absolutely all the frogs' legs the city contains, and the blissful knowledge that no more can arrive for a week; or all of the early chickens, or the very last quail and partridges. And such being the object of his ambition, he must think of ways to gain the preferences of the market and commission men, for if he fails to make friends of them, unless he has very good private sources of supply from outside markets, he may as well quit the business. When a thing Is cheap and plentiful he will be solicited to buy even if disliked and despised, but then he does not want it; and when it is scarce and in demand, he may hear of its being obtainable at this or that restaurant, but if not in the circle of favorites the dealers will take great pains to be "just sold out" every time he tries them. And still his favored rivals are getting all they want from hidden stores for days in succession.
Many a new restaurant that is opened with a display of gilding and plate glass fails of success through this unconsidered particular of not having a steward or buyer who can secure the good will of the dealers In specialties, the game dealers, fish importers, the merchants who can always obtain everything worth having; not depending upon the northern markets alone, nor the. southern markets alone, but wiring to fifty places if necessary; knowing where the goods are to be found. Without this command of the markets, and the co-operation. of the market mea the restaurant fails from Inability to "fill the bill." After two or three disappointments the most profitable patrons become chagrined and pass the place by with the contemptuous remark: "Oh,you can never find anything there".