One of the wonderful things about food is that it always makes one want to travel – try new flavors and experiences in far away places. But did you ever wonder how the travel industry got started?
Back in 1841 a creative individual with a commitment to quality named Thomas Cook came up with a new idea – what if travel was fun and problem free. Prior to 1841 travel was dirty, dangerous and downright unpleasant. Cook, who was a teetotaler in an age of very, very heavy drinkers, was interested in health and the quality of life (and eventually of travel itself).
After arranging a day trip for fellow nondrinkers, he was shocked at how difficult it was to travel safely and comfortably even on the newest form of transportation of his day – trains.
After opening a bookstore in London, friends urged him to go further and arrange a trip to the Continent.Thinking it might be easier then arranging travel in Britain, he agreed. But it was worse! Multiple languages and differing customs made travel there even more difficult.
Well, Cook was anything if not organized and analytical. He quickly realized that travelers needed the help of knowledgeable professionals to smooth out the rough spots and help them along their way.
Cook then decided to open the first offices where nervous travelers could pick up all their tickets for any entire trip at one time as well as sign up for tours taken and approved by Cook himself. Every detail was personally checked and rechecked.
Nothing was left to chance or error. Cook not only offered safe traveler’s checks to the hesitant traveler but regional guidebooks and correct departure and arrival timetables for all trains and cruise lines.
Expert travel advice in one’s own language was always available at the Cook Offices including what sights to see, the best local food to enjoy and where to shop.
And of course, Cook’s was always willing to ship your purchases home for you, freeing you to move on carefree and unburdened by extra boxes and bags.
How nice. (Are you listen airlines?)
If you are starting to long for these bye-gone days of quality travel to come again, just remember there still are certain hotels and cruise lines that have never abandoned the standard that Thomas Cook established for the travel industry over one hundred years ago. He’s motto (and their's)...service, service, service – at every possible level!
Life’s a feast – enjoy your trip!
Your Culinary World copyright Ana Kinkaid/Peter Schlagel 2010