This section is from the book "The Steward's Handbook And Guide To Party Catering", by Jessup Whitehead. Also available from Amazon: Larousse Gastronomique.
On the other hand the cooks would have good cause for complaint against any steward, inexperienced in culinary affairs, who should try to get up the bill of fare. There is a character in Shakespeare's Winters Tale very much like some of these unfinished stewards - says he: "Three pounds of sugar; five pounds of rice; rice? What will this sister of mine do with rice? But my father hath made her the mistress of the feast and she lays it on I I must have saffron to color the warden pies, (pear pies), mace, dates; nutmegs seven, a race or two of ginger, (but that I may beg); four pounds of prunes, and as many raisins of the sun".
The cooks are driven wild at times by the immature steward's sublime unconciousness that all these trifles which they ask for are of any sort of consequence, his vague idea that any time in the course of a month will do. "Turnips and carrots? what are turnips and carrots? common and cheap - I don't ever eat them, who cares for turnips and carrots?" But the chefcan do next to nothing without them. "Chives, shalots, leeks, thyme, what good are they? Aniseed? What does the baker need aniseed for, and cream of tartar, and paper and hops and potatoes? I'll try to remember them sometime when I go down town".
But if the chef cannot get a pound of pork or bacon at the proper time, he will have no larded fillet, nor rice-birds wrapped in bacon, and without hops for yeast the baker will have no bread. It would be useless for an alleged steward of this sort to try to make bills of fare for the cooks to work up to. But the genuine steward knows what these workers want, even better than they do, things that they forget and forget purposely to avoid work.
The old palace steamboat stewards made up their own bills of fare without consulting the cooks, for they knew what they had in their ice chests when the cooks did not, and they knew what they were going to have for dinner seven days ahead, and the bills of fare they sent to the kitchens to be executed drove many a cook to strong drink. A few hotel stewards are now evidently making up their bills of fare unaided and according to ther own notions, for their menus are original in their leading features. The ordinary practice now is for the chef and pastry cook each to make out his own part of the bill of fare and either steward or proprietor looks it over, perhaps rewrites it, possibly suggests changes, then sends it to the printer, but still that bill is the cook's and not the steward's. So, to come back to the original question: "Does the steward get up all bills of fare?" the answer is yes, when he is a better man than any of the cooks, and the coming steward will be that and higher priced.