In the Fine Arts the progress of mankind is marked by a gradual succession of triumps over the rude materialities of nature. Plain or rudelycarved stones, tumuli, or mounds of earth, are the monuments by which barbarous tribes denoate the events of their history, to be succeeded, in the long course of a series of ages, by beautifully propotioned columns, gracefully sculptured statues, triumphal arches, coins medals and the higher efforts of the pencil and the pen, as man advances by cultureof cookery. Man, in his priimitive state, lived upon roots and the fruits of the earth, until by degrees he was drivento seek for new means by which his wants might be supplied and enlarged. he then became a hunter and fisher. As his species increased. freater necessities came upon him, and he gradually abandoned the roving life of the savage for the more stationary pursuits of the herdsmen.These begat still more settled habits, as the result of which he began the practice of agriculture, formed ideas of the rights of property, and had his own both defined and secured. The forest, the stream and the sea were then no longer his only resources for food. He sowed and he reaped, pastured and bred cattle, lived on the cultivated produce of his fields, and revelled in the luxuries of the dairy; raised flocks for clothing, and assumed, to all intents and purposes, the habits of permanent life and the comfortable condition of a farmer. This was the fourth stage of social progress, up to which the useful mechanical arts had been incidentally developing themselves, when trade and commerce began. Through these various phases, ONLY TO LIVE had been the great object of mankind; but by and by comforts were multiplied, and accumulating riches created new wants. The objects, then, was not only TO LIVE, but to live economically, agreeably, tastefully and well. Accordingly, the art of cookery commences; and although the fruits of the earth, the fowls of the air,the beass of the field, and the fish of the sea, are still the only food of mankind, yet these are so prepared, improved and dressed by skill and ingenuity, that they are the means of immeasurably extendingthee bouundaries of human enjoyment. Everything that is edible and passesunder the hands of the cook is more or less changed, and assumes new forms. Hence the immense influence of that functionary upon the hapiness of a household.
In the lunxurious ages of Grecian antiquity Sicilian cooks were the most esteemed, and received high rewards for their services. Among them, one called Trimalcio was such as an adept in his art, that he couls impart tocommon fish both the form and flavour of tthe most esteemed of the piscatory tribes. A cheif cook in the palmy days of Romanextravagance had about £800 (18 century) a year, and Antony rewarded the one who cooked the supper which pleased Cleopatra with the present of a city. With the fall of the Empire, the culinary art sank into less consideration. In the middle ages cooks laboured to acquire a reputation for thier sauces, which they composed of strange combinations, for the sake of novelty.
Excellence in the Art of Cookery as in all other things is only acquired by experience and practice. In proportion, therefore, to the opportunities which a cook has had of these, so will be his excellence in the art.