6. Time to Eat

Friday, 6/8/34

The white-coated steward will be through soon, calling the welcome “First Call to Dinner” … “First Call to Dinner”.

Now if your car is at all full, you’d better sneak off and get cleaned up for dinner. Isn’t it terrible how fast your hands can get dusty and dirty? With the windows closed, you wouldn’t think it would get dirty this easily, but it does.

Then take this envelope with you and go back to the dining car. It’s the one that was attached at Canton, you know. When you walk in, you’ll see a number of tables, sparkling white with their crisp clean tablecloths and silver. Very probably you’ll be greeted at the door by a pleasant man in a blue uniform you haven’t seen before. He’ll take you to a table and make you comfortable. But if you don’t see him just that instant, just look around a moment and he’ll be right there. For this man is the boss of the dining car — the head steward. He knows you, and he is going to see that you get a little special attention.

When he comes, all you have to do is to give him this envelope marked “Dining Car Steward”. Then watch what happens. He’ll help you to order your dinner, and he’ll have a special waiter to take care of you.

The steward will tell you what things the kitchen has that you might like to eat, and he will have them bring just about anything you want.

You don’t have to take one cent out of your purse, because it was all be paid for. When you’re through, off you go back to your own car, without any more ceremony.

I think that they’ll probably fuss a bit for you. Young ladies traveling alone are always looked out for. And if you look interested enough, and maybe drop a hint or two, I’ll bet that you’ll be invited to see the kitchen… and a dining car kitchen is one of the most interesting places on earth. Men do the cooking, you know, and most of the cooking was done before the train ever left the station. It is kept piping hot in the kitchen in special ovens and steam tables. There is an ice box, oven, range, and just about everything you ever saw in the cooking line.

That’s all there is to eating in a dining car. Just walk back, and there’s an excellent meal at your command.

But there are a couple of tricks to remember. Since you are on a train that sways a little now and then, you must not fill your glass or cup to the brim. If you order milk, you will have an individual ice-cold bottle. When you pour it, take only half the glass. Then you’re safe. I remember one poor woman one time who lost most of her cup in her lap. And the hot coffee just about ruined her dress. So that taught me a lesson.

All that extra silverware is a nuisance, so the steward will clear it away for you. You won’t have to decide which fork to use when there are three of them. The train people are going to make it just as much like home as they possibly can.

And there you are. Dinner over, and on your way back to your Pullman. Keep on going now, and you’ll soon reach your own car, and your own place. Tired? Well, in just an hour or so you’ll want to roll in. You may open your next letter when you get back from the diner.

Previous: Afternoon | Next: And So to Bed


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