Friday, April 29, 2011

what's on the menu?

My friend Susan posted something on Facebook a couple of days ago, and it is so cool that I couldn't resist sharing it here.

From the New York Public Library's website, "What's on the Menu?":

To solve this, we’re working to improve the collection by transcribing the menus, dish by dish. Doing this will allow us to dramatically expand the ways in which the collection can be researched and accessed, opening the door to new kinds of discoveries. We’ve built a simple tool that makes the transcribing pretty easy to do, but it’s a big job, so we need your help.

Well, count me in. 

In addition to it being really easy to take part in the project, it is a real treat (no pun intended) browsing through the menus in the collection, both in terms of design and content.
This one is so pretty, I'd like to frame it and hang it on my wall, 
along with the Mardi, le 11 Decembre 1900 menu, above.
 Watch out - things can get kind of wild at Ladies' Day at the Drug-Trade Club!

A few menus from Buffalo's Statler's Restaurant:

 Thank goodness it's perfectly ventilated...

 ... and the meals are daintily served.

And a few from Buffalo's Statler Hotel Restaurant (where you could get your breakfastluncheonddinner):

 I love these menus from the 1901 Pan American Expo in Buffalo:

Hmm ... raw meat sandwich, anyone?

Celery mayonnaise salad - actually, all things celery - must have been very popular at the turn of the century.

A few more that caught my eye while browsing:

 Please do not fee the waiters.

"Cucumbers - High Priced, but we must have them."

 Some of my favorite menus are the handwritten ones.

Here is a menu I helped transcribe this morning:
 I'll have the table celery for $0.25, wiener schnitzel for $0.40, 
and a whole potted spring chicken en casserole for $1.25, please.

Now, go do your part for food and cultural history (warning - its addicting)!

Thanks for sharing this, Susan!


  1. Cool! I am a total history nut and love little glimpses into the past like this...

    Ummmm, oxtail soup? I think I will have the salad!

    xx Cat brideblu

  2. I saw this on the Etsy blog, so awesome! The menu covers in themselves are pretty enough, but I love that you're reading the text and finding such gems within (raw meat sandwich? wow!).