Manuscript Releases, vol. 8 [Nos. 526-663]


MR No. 639—Institutional Food Service Management

You should not follow your own inclinations. You should be very careful to set a right example in all things. Do not be inactive. Arouse your dormant energies. Make yourself a necessity to your husband by being attentive and helpful. Be a blessing to him in everything. Take up the duties essential to be done. Study how to perform with alacrity the plain, uninteresting, homely, but most needful duties which relate to domestic life. Your inactivity has been indulged and cultivated when it should be guarded against strictly and with a determined effort. 8MR 388.1

My sister, your mind will bear taxing. If you take up the burdens that you should, you can be a blessing to the [St. Helena] Health Retreat. But the indulgence of your sluggish temperament is a detriment to you, physically, mentally, and spiritually. You need the quickening, converting power of God. You need to stand firmly and truly for God and the right. You need to be vitalized by the grace of Christ. Will you wake up, and put to the task your almost paralyzed energies, seeking to do all the good in your power? You must exercise the living machinery, or else you will not be able to throw off the waste matter, and you will fall short of gaining health. 8MR 388.2

Try to make a success of your domestic life. It means more to fill the position of wife and mother than you have thought. Should you, as you desired, engage in sewing, it would not give you the employment necessary for your health; it would not remedy the deficiencies you now possess. You need the culture and experience of domestic life. You need the variety, the stir, the earnest effort, the cultivation of the will power, that this life brings. Right where you are now, if you took hold of the management of your child you could make it a success, but this requires more time, more thought, more steadiness of purpose, a more unyielding demand for obedience, than you have thought of putting forth.... 8MR 388.3

Time is precious, time is golden; it should not be devoted to little, unimportant things, which serve only to gratify the taste. You can be more useful, my sister, when you cease to allow unimportant things to take your golden moments, when useful and necessary things engage your attention and your time. There are many things to be done in this world of ours, and I hope you will not neglect the thoughtful, caretaking part of your work. You might have saved the institution with which you are connected hundreds of dollars, had you put your soul into the work. Had you spoken a word here, and done some planning there, you could have been a real blessing. Had you awakened your dormant energies by exercise in the open air, and done what it was in your power to do with cheerfulness and alacrity, you could have accomplished much more than you have, and been a real blessing. 8MR 389.1

I hope that you will devote your mind and your wisdom to the work. See that everything is run on an economical plan. This must be done, or debts will accumulate. Women of sharp, quick intellect are needed, to discern where there is waste in little things, and to rectify it. You have stood at the head of the Health Retreat as matron, and it was your duty to do this. 8MR 389.2

Much could be saved that is now wasted for the want of a head to see and plan and tell what should be done, one who will take right hold, and by precept and example do this work. Girls will not be conscientious, diligent, and economical unless a right example is given them by the one standing at the head. If the girls are not willing to be taught, if they will not do as you wish them, let them be discharged. I know that much can be saved at our boarding house, and much at the Sanitarium if thoughtfulness and painstaking effort is brought into the work. Not one crumb of bread should be wasted unless it has been spoiled by being handled. Take the bits of bread that are left, and use them for puddings. Lessen your meat bills by buying as little meat as possible. More than is necessary is expended for meat. Light must shine forth on this subject. The potatoes that are left can be used for stuffing, put into a pan, and baked with the meat. Then the meat will not be served in the most concentrated form. 8MR 389.3

There are hundreds and hundreds of ways in which a little is lost, and this makes a large loss in the end. If the little wastes are all thoroughly looked after, there will be some margin in the institution to work on. But many of the girls of California know not what economy means. They are not educated to save the little things. Girls go out to work, and they cook well if they can have the privilege of going to a large supply, and using freely and extravagantly the things provided. In the place of saving, of gathering up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost, much is lost that must be purchased again. 8MR 390.1

We need to have thoroughly competent cooks connected with our schools, that the youth may be taught how to make much out of little. I have been pained as I have seen good, sweet biscuits and ears of corn left from the noon meal thrown into the waste barrel. The corn could have been cut from the cobs, and with a little milk prepared into a palatable dish. I need not enumerate all the jots and tittles that might be saved. 8MR 390.2

By exerting a proper influence in these lines, you may educate girls for domestic service. This will be a great blessing to them. 8MR 391.1

All our talents should be used; they should not be allowed to rust through inaction. All our influence should be used to the very best account. After Christ fed the multitude, He said, “Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.” This lesson may apply to spiritual things as well as temporal. Those who do not appreciate and make the best use of their spiritual blessings, gathering up every precious ray of light, will soon become indifferent and inappreciative! Blessings are not given to those who do not value them. All our physical energies as one of God's talents, should be used to the glory of God. Our influence is to be recognized and employed as belonging to God. God calls upon all to do their best. 8MR 391.2

I would be glad to spend much time at the Health Retreat, but with your present expense to furnish the tables, every additional one increases the outlay of means, and I prudently stay away. I hope that if you set so liberal a table, you will charge accordingly, that there may be a surplus of means. If nothing is gained to help forward the improvements that must be made, what is the use of going to all this trouble and perplexity. If the boarders are lessened by a plain, wholesome diet, let them be lessened. Watch all waste. Do not allow it. I know that there is great loss here. I must tell you, Bro. and Sr. ---, that you are too much afraid of the boarders; you try too hard to meet their every desire. I should not do this. I should set a good liberal table, not getting the most expensive food, but making the fare palatable by skill and care. I felt anxious that the Health Retreat shall be all that prudence, sharp foresight, and economy can make it.—Letter 5, 1884. (To the Matron of the St. Helena Health Retreat, February 5, 1884). 8MR 391.3

I have to tell the matter in my simple style. I want you to know this, Brother Prescott. Again much complaint is made in reference to the diet question. I had written, I think, something in regard to this matter, and have had an article waiting to be copied some time, all of four months, but every month brought so great a pressure of matter I did not present it to my copyist, but next mail it shall be sent. 8MR 392.1

I know not who is cook at the [Battle Creek] boarding hall, but I beseech you, do not place any persons to oversee the cooking of food for the college students unless they have a thorough knowledge of the right kind of cooking that the students shall take away with them the very best intelligence of what hygienic cooking means. The much liquid food, the pastries, the desserts prepared for the table after European hotel fashion, is not the proper food to place before a hungry lot of students, whose appetites are keen to devour the most substantial food. 8MR 392.2

The very best thorough cook should be employed. If it were to your own family I was speaking I would say the same. But it is not merely your own family, but it is in behalf of God's heritage of children I am speaking. No one person's ideas, or tastes or customs, or habits are to control the boarding house table, but obtain the very best cook, and have helps that she as matron in the kitchen shall oversee. The students pay for their board, and give them good solid nourishing food. 8MR 392.3

God give you, my dear brother, heavenly wisdom, but for Christ's sake do not introduce practices of the Gentiles in worldly fashionable habits into the school as though this were the education so essential for them to have. It is not. I know whereof I speak. Now you have some of my reasons why I felt pained in regard to additions being made to the school building, and to the other buildings in Battle Creek.—Letter 46, 1893. (To W. W. Prescott, September 5, 1893.) 8MR 393.1

Let our institutions guard against employing those who are not skillful in the preparation of food. To prepared dishes that will recommend health reform requires tact and knowledge. There are some who are called good cooks who only understand how to prepared meat and vegetables and the general round of diet used in the world. But we need cooks who are educated in hygienic methods so that they can prepare dishes that will be both palatable and wholesome. There is a great dearth of cooks of this character. I know that many of our most precious, able men have died because of improper diet. There was placed upon their tables hot saleratus biscuits, and dishes of a similar character. 8MR 393.2

The students in our schools should be educated so that they can prepare food in tasteful, healthful manner. They should know how to make good sweet, thoroughly baked bread; but it is not essential that they understand how to make a great variety of cake and prepare knickknacks to tempt the appetite. The science of cooking is an essential science in practical life, and this science must be taught in such a way that the poorer classes can be benefited. Simple articles of diet should be prepared in a simple manner, and yet be found all the more palatable and wholesome because of their simplicity. 8MR 393.3

In Australia the people depend almost solely on baker's bread, and meat is used at breakfast, dinner, and supper. So baker's bread, meat, fruits and vegetables generally compose the diet of the people. Now if the health reform diet is presented to them in such a way that they think it will cost more money, time, and labor than the diet to which they are accustomed, I fear we shall make very poor headway in correcting their habits. What we need here is the labor of persons who have a knowledge of practical and domestic economy, who can instruct as to how to prepare a simple, nutritious, palatable diet for the common people.—Letter 19, 1892, pp. 9, 10. (To Dr. J. H. Kellogg, August 5, 1892.) 8MR 394.1

I am instructed to say that God calls for greater purification and sanctification in His sanitariums. Those connected with the Lord's work are to reach a far higher standard. All superficiality is to be put away. All cheap pretense of serving God is to cease. His institutions are established to glorify His name. He is to be recognized in them. He is to be made the first and last and best in everything. Then the truth which have been given us for this time will stand out before the world with convincing power.... 8MR 394.2

The one who holds the position as cook has a most responsible place. He should be trained to habits of economy, and should realized that no food is to be wasted. Christ said. “Gather up the fragments, that nothing be lost.” Let those who are engaged in any department heed this instruction. Economy is to be learned by the educators and taught to the helpers not only by precept, but by example. 8MR 394.3

Self-denial is to be brought into the daily experience of each worker. Let them say to one another, “Come; we will put all earnestness into our labors; for the night is at hand, when no man can work.” Let no one lose minutes by talking, when he should be working. There are times when he has no right to talk nor to stand still. Make not others idle by tempting them to listen to your conversation. Not only is your own time lost, but that of others is wasted, when you spend in chatting the time you should spend doing your work. The word of inspiration tells us that we are to be “not slothful in business, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord.” Then let all take hold of the work in earnest. 8MR 395.1

If helpers have not learned the science of being quick, doing their work with dispatch, let them begin at once to train themselves in this line, or consent that their wages be proportioned to the amount of work done. Every day each one should become more and more efficient, more all-round and helpful. All can individually help themselves to reach a higher and still higher standard, as the Lord's helping hand. 8MR 395.2

Let those who are naturally slow train themselves day by day to do their work more quickly and at the same time more carefully. Ask the Lord to help you to be able to learn the science of being quick. The present is our time for earnest labor. Let those who work for the Lord, in whatever department it may be, put all diligence into their efforts. Pray for grace to overcome shiftlessness in temporal and spiritual matters. Rise above indolence. We will be led to work faithfully when we have faith in God and a genuine love for souls. 8MR 395.3

Be determined to be just what the Lord desires you to be. Put your heart and soul into your work. We are to love God with all our heart, mind, and strength. The efforts we put forth to advance His cause will show our love. Every worker should be willing to put in faithful time. All should be producers as well as consumers, becoming able to take hold of the work in various places, if called from one department to another. Seek to become efficient in every line of the work. Those who are earnest and faithful may receive knowledge and understanding from God, and can gain tact and ingenuity because they are willing to learn and to do.—Manuscript 88, 1901, 1-4. (“Sanitarium Workers,” 1901.) 8MR 396.1

Released June 21, 1978.