Introduction Ella Eaton Kellogg, Science in the Kitchen (1892)


     Ella Eaton Kellogg (April 7, 1853 – June 14, 1920) was an American pioneer in dietetics who taught and wrote  on the subject. She was educated in  Alfred University. In 1875, Kellogg visited the Battle Creek Sanitarium, became interested in the subjects of sanitation and hygiene, and a year later enrolled in the Sanitarium School of Hygiene. Later on, she joined the editorial staff of Good Health magazine, and in 1879, married Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, superintendent of the Battle Creek Sanitarium.

Kellogg was prominently identified with the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union  (WCTU), in 1882 being appointed national superintendent of the Department of Hygiene. Three years later, she was appointed associate superintendent of the Social Purity department of the WCTU. Out of her experiences in the Social Purity work in the WCTU, grew a pamphlet, in 1890, entitled “Talks to Girls” which enjoyed an extended circulation. Other books written by Kellogg included Studies in Character Building (1905), and Science in the Kitchen (1892). Kellogg charter member of the Michigan Woman’s Press Association.[1]

Kellogg joined the Battle Creek Sanitarium during an epidemic of typhoid fever which occurred in the neighborhood during the early autumn, the number of patients being so great that trained nurses could not be obtained for them, she volunteered her services and carried safely through the disease several of the most critical cases. This experience led her to become interested in sanitary and hygienic subjects, and in the following year, she entered the Sanitarium School of Hygiene, in which she obtained a knowledge of anatomy, physiology, hygiene, and the practical care of the sick. The principal of the School of Hygiene, who was also the editor of Good Health, soon discovered her capabilities, and engaged her services as an editorial assistant.

In 1884, the Sanitarium Experimental Kitchen was created, a work demanding her constant personal supervision, undertaken in the interest of dietetic reform and the cuisine of the Sanitarium, to prepare a thoroughly hygienic, yet ever-varying, attractive and appetizing menu for its guests, but which soon outgrew its bounds. From it evolved a distinct School of Domestic Economy, and an altogether new system of household cookery, besides a continued succession of cooking classes whose enthusiastic members became teachers to propagate the principles learned, and to teach a better way in diet.

EE Kellogg’s husband, John Harvey Kellogg (1852-1943), was a physician, health activist, and business leader. He served as director of the Battle Creek Sanitarium, founded by the Seventh-Day Adventist Church. Kellogg was a leader in the “clean living” movement. He would write and lecture on a number of health topics, promoting vegetarian food, temperance, and sexual abstinence. With his brother, the businessman  William Keith Kellogg , JH Kellogg invented corn flakes. Kellogg promoted (at an early stage) the germ theory of disease. He also recognized the relationship between intestinal flora and health. In addition to promoting vegetarianism, the Sanitarium prescribed, hydrotherapy, frequent enemas to clear the intestines, sun bathing, along with prohibitions against using tobacco, drinking alcohol, and sexual activity.

The following selections from Science in the Kitchen, illustrate the new approach to food preparation and eating developed by the Battle Creek Sanitarium. As all cookbooks do, it also provides a window into the culture that influenced its creation. It will be very interesting to compare it to Simmon’s American Cookery that was written a century earlier.