Page:Peter Alexeivitch Kropotkin - Expropriation.djvu/25

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if he is thrown on the street and comes into contact with the masses, even he will learn to understand.

The theorists—for whom the soldier's uniform and the barrack mess table are civilisation's last word—would like no doubt to start a régime of National Kitchens and "Spartan Broth." They will point out the advantages thereby gained, the economy in fuel and food if huge kitchens were established where everyone could come for their rations of soup and bread and vegetables.

We do not question these advantages. We are well aware that important economies have already been achieved in this direction—as for instance when the handmili, or quern, and the baker's oven attached to each house were abandoned. We can see perfectly well that it would be more economical to cook broth for a hundred families at once, instead of lighting a hundred separate fires. We know, besides, that there are a thousand ways of doing up potatoes, but that cooked in one huge pot for a hundred families they would be just as good.

We know, in fact, that variety in cooking is a matter of the seasoning introduced by each cook or housewife, the cooking together of a hundred weight of potatoes would not prevent each cook or housewife from dressing and serving them in any way she pleased. And we know that stock made from meat can be converted into a hundred different soups to suit a hundred different tastes.

But though we are quite aware of all these facts, we still maintain that no one has a right to force the housewife to take her potatoes from the communal kitchen ready cooked if she prefers to cook them herself in her own pot on her own fire. And, above all, we should wish each one to be free to take his meals with his family, or with his friends, or even in a restaurant, if so it seemed good to him.

Naturally large public kitchens will spring up to take the place of the restaurants, where people are poisoned now-a-days. Already the Parisian housewife gets the stock for her soup from the butcher and transforms it into whatever soup she likes, and London housekeepers know that they can have a joint roasted, or an apple or rhubarb tart baked at the bakers for a trifling sum, thus economising time and fuel. And when the communal kitchen—the common bakehouse of the future—is established, and people can get their food cooked without the risk of being cheated or poisoned, the custom will no doubt become general of going to the communal kitchen for the fundamental parts of the meal, leaving the last touches to be added as individual taste shall suggest.

But to make a hard and fast rule of this, to make a duty of taking home our food ready cooked, that would be as repugnant to our modern