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 steward is proud of his well-stocked storeroom and spends whatever leisure time he may have in it In one sort of storeroom, now found in modern-built hotels, the steward spends most of his time while on duty, for from it he can oversee all that is going on. The storekeeper is to all intents and purposes the steward's own clerk, even his private secretary, who saves him a vast amount of care and book-keeping. Their relations are precisely that of employer and employe and they are on the most friendly terms, the trifling fact of the storekeeper being an appointee of the front office and in a measure independent of the steward is perhaps seldom thought of by either.
There are two different patterns of storeroom in use and two different methods of issuing stores, just as there are two differ-ent classes of steward. The New England style of storeroom is in the kitchen itself, either built so that a part of it like a shop front opens into the kitchen while the back opens upon the street where the goods are taken in, or the room originally built as a kitchen is partitioned off that part may serve as a storeroom, and here the storekeeper remains all day, serving out goods to the different departments as they are applied for, starch and soap to the laundry, toothpicks, matches and stationary to the office, fruit cheese, milk and bottled goods to the pantry, lemons and sugar to the bar, and all the various articles except meats needed by the cooks and bakers. He enters all the items in his book and charges them to the various departments, and the rest of his time is taken up in receiving stores, auditing accounts and taking account of stock needed to be ordered and once a month or oftener of the amount of stock on hand.
In this storeroom the steward remains during breakfast and lunch or supper, and such times as he is not carving, for here he can hear every order that Is given and all that goes on in the kitchen, being ready to step out if any difficulty arises or any special rush of business, and while there he writes his letters to merchants and supply men, looks over his accounts, posts up his books, notes down the orders for supplies suggested by the storekeeper, and keeps count of the changes among the help, filling out a blank for each and handing it in to the cashier. One of our model stewards passes the most of his time that way, there being no local marketing to do in his locality, and nearly all orders for goods having to be sent by mail or telegraph He has a little box of an office in the corner of the storeroom that is less than four feet from the kitchen table, and all that is ordered at the storeroom counter he hears, and sees, if he cares to, where it goes. This may not be perfectly admirable. Perhaps neither the reader of this nor the writer would like to work under such close surveillance, yet it shows to what a point systematic hotel-keeping has been brought In this Instance, fortunately, the ever present steward is an amiable man, and if he sees his workers in their easy moments he also is with them when the crowd is in and he knows how well they earn their money.
The defect In this style of storeroom is in its requiring the storekeeper to be always present, and the hotel has to be of a large size to afford one hand for that one duty. The intention under that system is that the cooks shall never have in posession more material than they need immediately, and it is easy for them, for the storekeeper becomes in effect a waiter to hand trifling amounts to them continually. On the other hand the cook can complain that he has no check upon the storekeeper when the order system is dispensed with, for he may draw fifty pounds and the storekeeper hating him may enter in his book seventy-five pounds, and so injure the cook by the apparant extravagance of his bills. By the other system the cook sends a written order to the storeroom for material and keeps a duplicate of the order himself, so that in case of an accusation of extravagance, which may loose him his situation and his character, he can appeal to his duplicate orders to see whether he has been misrepresented. The method of ordering and issuing supplies from the other style of storeroom, distant from the kitchen, ft fully detailed In another place.
The defect of that system consists in the propensity of the cooks to order too much at once; having a day's supply on hand and such apparent plenty, they use the material more lavishly than If it is counted to them pound by pound. A competent steward knows how to remedy the defects in either case, and there is not much preference to be given to one style over the other. It will be understood that the written order system can be operated as well in the open storeroom adjoining the kitchen, but, as it is so much easier and quicker to do without an order, It rarely or never is.