Montreal Daily Star, 17 March 1891, page 4
Given to the Deaf-mute pupils
An afternoon at the Montreal School of Cookery- the aptitude displayed by the young folk- intricate lessons
Put the average man in a common, every day kitchen while cooking is in progress and the chances are ten to one that he will rush out never to return; compel him to stay and watch the process of preparation, and the probabilities are that he will have lost his appetite when the meal is finally served. To such men a visit to the Montreal School of Cookery would be a revelation. That which at one time seemed to them like a horrible nightmare would turn into a pleasant moving picture, worth hours of interesting study, and the work itself, which they were in the habit of looking down upon as decidedly menial labour, would assume the proportions and importance of art and sciences combined. As a matter of course, the pretty dresses, the bright aprons, the shining and scrupulously clean utensils, the smiling and often charming faces of teachers and pupils, are greatly responsible for this, and especially on Monday afternoon, when a peculiar interest was lent to the scene because the class was composed of deaf-mute pupils from the Mackay Institute, did these things combine to furnish an interesting spectacle to the fortunate Star representative who, on that occasion, was initiated into some of the inner mysteries of the “cuisine” and compelled several times to blush in woeful ignorance of matter which had been decidedly neglected during his early education. It happened to be the first lesson of the second course upon which these young ladies were entering, and they were the Misses J McFarlane, E Wiggett, H Reeves, A Nichol, T Churton, N Morrison, J Burns, V Gale and E Henderson, in charge of Miss Terrill of the Mackay Institute. They all seemed very bright and understood Miss Terrill thoroughly. Most of them talked in signs and pantomime action, while others read Miss Terrill’s lips, and a few of them were able to give distinct replies, little Miss Wiggett speaking her name, and address as plain as people in the full possession of
ALL THEIR FACULTIES.
They were divided into two groups, and when the newspaper man entered, one of these was engaged in mixing a yellow compound in a big bowl, and painting half a dozen small connected moulds with either oil or butter, in an attempt to make sponge cakes, while the others had just finished what Miss Richards, the pleasant and indefatigable superintendent of the School, calls a shepherd’d pie, ready for the oven. What the ingredients were cannot be ventured at, but it looked very tempting with its topcrust of mashed potatoes patterned in little squares. When the sponge cake compound had been poured into the moulds and the latter were put in the oven, the young ladies who had charge of this were assigned the task of making a salmon pie, while the other group busied itself with a salmon salad, and two ladies who could both speak and hear, and evidently belonging to an advanced class, turned out half a dozen of deliciously smelling and beautiful brown croquettes of some kind or other, the shape of a half moon. As the salmon pie was nearing completion, an unavoidable accident, which after all might have caused the birth of a new gastronomic jewel, came near spoiling the harmony in the composition of the salmon salad, brandy having been substituted for vinegar, on account of the similarity of the bottles, a fact which, when discovered, just in the nick of time, caused considerable suppressed merriment, in consequence of which several nimble fingers executed a number of lightning movements, and laughing eyes threw expressive glances, each of which might have contained a world of meaning. Finally after sugar had been mixed with the mustard, which in turn was drowned as it were in vinegar as part of the sauce, and this had been poured over the nice flesh-colored salmon, which figuratively, was reclining on a bed of pale green lettuce leaves, the salad fit to make even the mouth of a cannibal water, was complete and on the next table appeared at the same time the salmon pie in all the glory of a decorated top-crust, which , with its mosaic work of white and yellow pieces of hard-boiled eggs, and little green leaves, presented a very pretty effect. After this there were some more spongecakes to be made, and one of the groups set to work on some kidney toast, which was made through an interesting if rather intricate process, in the course of which one young lady toasted a slice of bread, which a little miss to her great consternation cut into six pieces, when she should only have divided it into four, upon the publication of which calamity, which was announced by many finger-movements, Miss Richards consoled her through the medium of Miss Terrill’s pantomime by the assurance that there might be a possibility of joining the pieces together, which she eventually did, adding the finishing touches to the afternoon’s work with a little brush, which she used in artistically painting the kidneys, which had been undergoing considerable rough usage in the way of steaming, chopping and being mixed with small shaven lemon peel, a bright yellow using for paint a mixture the principal ingredients of which was yolk of eggs. This finished the lesson, the pupils knowing that they would be permitted to practically demonstrate in the kitchen of the Institute during the week how well they have comprehended what was taught them, and sent the writer home with the conviction that the woman who is bright enough to master the art and science of cooking in all its delicate branches and palate-tickling varieties, is bright enough to master anything, husbands included.