Tip of the Week: Find Culinary Inspiration in Vintage Menus!
Among the book titles on my Christmas wish list this year was Menu Design in America – a hefty, colorful coffee table-style book containing restaurant menus dating back over 125 years! I love paging through this book with its insight into society, trends and even the economy.
Clearly, I am not alone in my fascination with old menus! It turns out that the New York Public Library has amassed over 40,000 menus, and is in the process of scanning and transcribing so that the menus can be accessed online! At this point, a few thousand are available, with more coming soon. The Los Angeles Public Library is doing the same!
Online menus have been annotated so that entries are legible, like this menu from Maxim’s in Paris dated August 4, 1906, while other menus commemorate special occasions, such as this example from a July 4th celebrationin 1900 at the Colorado Hotel!
I guarantee that if you start to explore these menu collections, you will be as hooked as I am!