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Old Menus at Chicago History Museum

Old Menus at Chicago History Museum
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    Post #1 - April 8th, 2007, 4:16 pm
    Post #1 - April 8th, 2007, 4:16 pm Post #1 - April 8th, 2007, 4:16 pm
    Old Menus at Chicago History Museum

    Just for the fun of it, you can go to the research rooms at the Chicago History Museum and request to see their collection of menus from old Chicago restaurants. I did that last Friday (in preparation for a post about the Endangered Treasures event that I’ll be putting up over the next few days), and it was pretty cool to hold menus from the middle of the 19th century and see what folks ate back then. Some examples:

    • Foster House, 1856: Hot Slaugh
    • Briggs House, 1858: Squirrel
    • Metropolitan, 1866: Sweetbreads a la Hamond (sic)
    • Tremont House, 1874: Wild Pigeon
    • Rector Oyster House, 1899: Snipe
    • Malatesta & Cella’s French Restaurant, 1899: Robbins (sic)

    At many restaurants, I noticed Walnut Catsup, and in one case Farm Catsup, on the menus, attesting to the durable nature of this universal and eternally beloved condiment. No raccoon, anywhere.

    One wine question that perhaps David “No Fun” Dickson can answer: at this time, a bottle of Chateaux Margaux was $2.00, but menus also listed a $1.00 corkage fee. I wonder if this was on top of the cost of the bottle – I don’t believe it meant, as it does today, that if you bring your own, you pay a buck or so. Interestingly, a bottle of this French wine was the same price as a bottle of “Old Scotch Whiskey,” which I would have thought was cheaper but maybe demand drove the price up.

    Anyway, this was a fun afternoon, a really good Friday. More to come.

    Hammond
    "Don't you ever underestimate the power of a female." Bootsy Collins
  • Post #2 - April 8th, 2007, 4:24 pm
    Post #2 - April 8th, 2007, 4:24 pm Post #2 - April 8th, 2007, 4:24 pm
    Hi,

    Did they make you wear cotton gloves?

    Last year Nancy Turpin spoke to the Roundtable on French political dinners. Some of her source material was sent by inter-library loan from France. These were delicate documents not to be touched by human hands directly. She was obligated to wear cotton gloves.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #3 - April 8th, 2007, 4:27 pm
    Post #3 - April 8th, 2007, 4:27 pm Post #3 - April 8th, 2007, 4:27 pm
    Cathy2 wrote:Hi,

    Did they make you wear cotton gloves?

    Regards,


    No, I asked about that, and the librarian said that the fabric can "catch" on the fraying leaves...so I went commando.

    Notwithstanding what this librarian said, it does not seem that anyone wears fabric gloves -- usually what they may wear are similar to the thin, plastic mitts worn by food service people...or maybe that was just the fashion the day I was there.

    Hammond
    "Don't you ever underestimate the power of a female." Bootsy Collins
  • Post #4 - April 8th, 2007, 6:07 pm
    Post #4 - April 8th, 2007, 6:07 pm Post #4 - April 8th, 2007, 6:07 pm
    David,

    Did their menu collection include any exhibits from more recent times...say the (19)50's and 60's?
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #5 - April 8th, 2007, 9:21 pm
    Post #5 - April 8th, 2007, 9:21 pm Post #5 - April 8th, 2007, 9:21 pm
    stevez wrote:David,

    Did their menu collection include any exhibits from more recent times...say the (19)50's and 60's?


    Yes, actually they have several menus going through the 70s; the collection ends before the beginning of the 80s.

    A few from the later years that I would have liked to have spent more time with were an old Trader Vic's and one from Don the Beachcomer. They even had a few from Walgreen's that looked very familiar...and, of course, Henrici's.

    Hammond
    "Don't you ever underestimate the power of a female." Bootsy Collins
  • Post #6 - April 9th, 2007, 7:05 am
    Post #6 - April 9th, 2007, 7:05 am Post #6 - April 9th, 2007, 7:05 am
    HI,

    The Endangered Treasures dinner on Friday will raise money to fund a grant to the Chicago History Museum to scan these menus. Later they will be upload these menus on their website for access to everyone.

    The Endangered Treasures dinner is modelled from the orignal plans for Culinary Historians 10th Anniversary. While CHC never did fulfill this plan, I am glad to see it coming to life for this Endangered Treasures dinner. There will be a representative food items from every decade of Chicago represented at this dinner.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #7 - April 9th, 2007, 9:02 am
    Post #7 - April 9th, 2007, 9:02 am Post #7 - April 9th, 2007, 9:02 am
    Cathy2 wrote:The Endangered Treasures dinner is modelled from the orignal plans for Culinary Historians 10th Anniversary. While CHC never did fulfill this plan, I am glad to see it coming to life for this Endangered Treasures dinner. There will be a representative food items from every decade of Chicago represented at this dinner.


    Yes, this is going to be quite an event -- I'm going to try to interview both presenters (spoke with Kraig; Bayless pending) and include that info (along with a complete menu) in a general announcement in Events that will go up on this and other boards no later than tomorrow.
    "Don't you ever underestimate the power of a female." Bootsy Collins
  • Post #8 - November 20th, 2020, 5:50 pm
    Post #8 - November 20th, 2020, 5:50 pm Post #8 - November 20th, 2020, 5:50 pm
    Get a glimpse into the past with the Chicago History Museum's historical menu collection.

    https://artsandculture.google.com/exhib ... 7c7c8a71e6
    Never order barbecue in a place that also serves quiche - Lewis Grizzard
  • Post #9 - November 20th, 2020, 11:36 pm
    Post #9 - November 20th, 2020, 11:36 pm Post #9 - November 20th, 2020, 11:36 pm
    Dave148 wrote:Get a glimpse into the past with the Chicago History Museum's historical menu collection.

    https://artsandculture.google.com/exhib ... 7c7c8a71e6

    Great stuff! Thanks, for the link.

    =R=
    By protecting others, you save yourself. If you only think of yourself, you'll only destroy yourself. --Kambei Shimada

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain

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