Thursday, November 27, 2008

Miss Parloa's School of Cookery--Boston, MA

In October, 1877 Maria Parloa opened the doors of her school of cookery. Miss Parloa's School of Cookery was located at 174 Tremont Street in Boston, where today a multiplex Loews Cinema stands. It had been the studio of William M. Hunt, the famous American painter. Hunt was believed to have been the first American master to admit female students into his classes. It is highly likely that Parloa first became acquainted with Mr. Hunt during her days on Appledore Island.

The lecture room
"was approached through a pretty reception room and found to be a spacious, inviting apartment, as far different from the ordinary schoolroom as anybody can imagine. Half of the room, intended for the audience, contained tiers of low platforms, neatly carpeted, on which were ranged fifty or more comfortable chairs; the other half was carpeted with oil-cloth, and in this part stood a large stove and several tables. Near by were well-stocked china closets and a refrigerator room. A blue and white tiling, covering the wall space around the stove and above some of the tables; half-a-dozen photographic views of the mountain scenes familiar to Miss Parloa; a few other pictures, of a bright character; and best of all, a mass of plants and vines, partly filling an immense window through which sunlight streamed. These were some of the things that made the place so cherry as to convince all comers that the study of cookery was to be made a real pleasure."
William V. Alexander 1885

Parloa continued her school in Boston until 1882. In the fall of 1881 Parloa went west to lecture in Chicago, Milwaukee and elsewhere. She then did a stint at the New York Cooking School which was having some difficulties and in need of some new energy. Her lectures were very successful and the auditorium was always filled. In autumn of 1882 she learned that the school was discontinuing outside lectures, so a new school was born in New York.

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