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 of our correspondent does not admit of a straight yes or no, either. It is: "It is not the steward's duty or his assistants', to carry from the carving room and care for the meats, etc., that may be left after the dinner is over, that duty belonging to the cook".
It is the duty of the steward to see that nothing is wasted, however he may secure that end, and there is no part of a steward's duty more important to the proper conduct of a hotel than his duty to stay in the carving room or kitchen until the meal is over. Where a head cook is doing his full duty he is unable to stay there till the end; his labor is of a sort that taxes his powers of endurancehe begins his work early and finds no time for a recess until dinner is over, his own meals in the early part of the day are swallowed in a hasty manner, his mind being on other matters, and he is in no condition to stand at the carving table two hours and then stay till the last watching what may be left over. It is the cook's trade to cook and serve the meals to the waiters, the taking care of the surplus devolves upon somebody else. The actual carrying and putting away may be done by the second cook or the carver, but the steward is the director of the matter.
In a paragraph reprinted in a former article on this subject relating to a Saratoga hotel it is truly stated that there has to be an exercise of liberality in apportioning the quantities to be cooked, so that if fifty or sixty people extra should arrive there will still be plenty of dinner for them all. But if, on the contrary, the fifty or sixty do not arrive it is palpable that provisions sufficient for that many more are left over. There may be no great harm in that if the steward's watchful eye is over all to see that the house is not the loser, fo- such things as chickens and green peas and uncut roasts of beef are as good as new whether hot or cold for the next meal. But suppose it is the ordinary style of hotel where the crowd of waiters come to the carving room for the remainders for their own dinner (instead of being fed before the meal begins) they will "go for" the chicken and green peas and the uncut roast of beef, and the other remainders when they are done will be remainders still.
This will be the case if the steward is not present, because the carver and cooks, even the head cook, lack the power to compel the discharge of or to fine or suspend a waiter, they have the power only to quarrel and threaten, be at war with the headwaiter who defends his own men, and disgrace the house.
The way these rules actually are compromised and worked out is this: The steward who is carving and the head cook who is dishing up entrees and watching the demand upon his various dishes are both busy enough during the first hour of the meal. About that time the business slacks up, the orders come in slowly; the steward says to the cook, "We are not going to need that whole ham - I shall be able to pull through without cutting another roast - that leg of mutton will not be wanted." Then the cook himself, perhaps, or the carver who will slice the cold meats for the next meal will carry them off to the refrigerator. Later, when the steward learns from the headwaiter that the last of the always-late people are in the dining room and have been served he takes a new survey. "This whole boiled fish is good for a chowder, a fish soup, a dish of scalloped fish, a dish a la Bechamel, a fish salad, fish cakes or something else, take it away and save it. That baked fish is thin, dry, will be worthless when cold, you need not keep it." If the head cook be still in sight as most likely he will be, although not carving and no longer serving entrees, the steward calls him and asks him if he wants to save anything - and he generally does want to save the consomme - and if he has any stews or ragouts of his entrees to give away - as he generally has - and these things being all understood, the carver and vegetable cook may be left to serve out all that remains on the carving stand, and the second pastry cook to give away the remainders of pudding and perishable sweets.