More Cookery

I stumbled over the following notes about an interpretation of the term “cook” recently. It does not seem to have been mentioned in E. Winter’s Chess Notes, but as it is a comparatively late entry, it is of less interest for who first used it, but perhaps more for how the term was used later.

H. E. Bird edited a chess column in Sheffield & Rotherham Independent from 1882-12-02 to 1883-11-24. For some time, it and its successor were accompanied by Chess problems by Dr. Law, a more or less independent column on the same page, where Mr. J. Law, MD, published his own problems, with only occasional appearance of problems by others.

On 1883-11-17 Dr. Law writes in his column in answer to a correspondent:

No. 39 arises out of an attempt to improve No. 37. Cést de la viande réchauffee, but so changed in cooking that you will hardly know it again. On my introduction to the celebrated composer, Herr Kling, “Ah, my dear doctor,” said he, “they tell me you have been cooking my problems.” I had never heard the word so used before, but its meaning was obvious. “Your Euclid, Herr Kling,” I replied, “is a splendid work; but it is rare, and wants a good deal of cooking.” The professor dined with me next day; and after dinner, we examined some of the defective problems. The pencil marks of the lamented Kling remain on my diagrams. This use of the word cook, originated, I believe with him.