Always prone to experimentation and
trying to find new ways to make camping
and outdoor activities enjoyable,
Kephart personally tested a variety
of products. This included yerba maté,
a South American beverage steeped
in a decorated gourd and consumed
with a spoonlike straw called a bombilla.
Having lived in Italy, the possibilities
of including pasta in the camp menu
particularly appealed to Kephart.
His correspondence on the subject
recalls fond memories of his years
Bryson City, N.C.
May 4, 1919.
Mr. Charles Stanley Jacob.
I received the sample pound of TERBA
MATE that you sent me, and have been
I had often read of mate, but this
is the first I ever saw. It is an
interesting product, and I want to
try it further before writing it up,
which I shall do in due time.
The taste, although not so pleasant
as Asiatic tea, on first acquaintance,
is not disagreeable. One might soon
get to liking the slight bitterness,
as he does that of grape fruit or
the marmalade made from bitter oranges.
I like mate best when steeped four
minutes in a tea ball and then flavored
with sugar and lemon juice.
It does not keep me awake when drunk
at night, whereas tea or coffee would
do so. When made strong, or drunk
in considerable quantity, it stimulates
my heart and pulse to more vigorous
beating. Neither tea nor coffee have
any noticeable affect on the circulation,
in my case.
Probably I will have inquiries as
to where mate can be bought at retail,
and the price. Please let me know
Thanking you for letting me try
the beverage, and for your pleasant
letter accompanying the sample, I
Yours very truly,
July 19, 1919.
Mr. Augustus Frank,
Dear Mr. Frank:-
Your letter revives old memories,
and very pleasant ones indeed, of
vacation tramps in the Apennines and
in the Alps of what was then, but
is happily no longer, Italia Irredenta.
You are quite right about the supremacy
of Italian cookery, as practiced in
the homes of the people, though it
is something far above what ordinary
tourists are likely to enjoy. The
art of modern cookery was born in
Italy, and introduced in France by
the Italian Catherine de' Medici,
and owes its excellence mainly to
chefs who were of Italian origin or
When I was living in Florence (1884-86)
with the late Willard Fiske, we had
a cook, Martino, whose dishes surpassed
anything else I have ever eaten at
home or abroad. And it was not only
in formal dinners that he excelled,
but in plain dishes as well. His polenta,
for example, seasoned by some secret
of his own, was the best thing made
from Indian meal that I ever tasted
(and I have spent years in our own
South, which is supposed to have nothing
to learn in that line). Martino's
fame soon spread abroad, and he became
chef to Lord Dufferin, Viceroy of
Your reference to different ways
of serving pasta makes my mouth water.
If it is not too much trouble for
you to send me detailed recipes for
some of these dishes, I would like
to publish them for the benefit of
American campers. Just how do you
use oil as a base for minestrone?
And will you kindly give me the address
of some firm in the United States
from whom we can buy the preserved
meats made by Italians in this country?
I would be pleased to hear more about
your trips and your camping methods.
Autres pays, autres moeurs; but each
of us may learn something useful from
With best wishes, sincerely yours,