Gift Guide, Day 2

Vintage Menus

Why didn’t anyone think of this before?  Cool The-oyster-loaf
Culinaria has gathered an enormous collection of vintage menus from all over the world and reprinted them on 130 pound paper.  The collection comprises hundreds of menus dating back to the late nineteenth century.

This is from their website:

“Our favorite period is from the years 1930–1960 and  the venues are mostly located in the Americas. This was a boom time when independent restaurateurs were positively buccaneering in the way they marketed their restaurants and themselves. It was a time when fish smoked pipes and cigars. Prawns and cockroaches wore top hats and spats. Voluptuous brunettes sat astride lobsters and devil like women drained their cocktail glasses in New York bars.  Proprietors hired celebrated artists and highly talented illustrators to create stunning imagery that expressed both the personality of the owner as well as the character of the establishment.”

The menus (and diner signs) are listed by city and category, so it’s easy to find what you’re looking for.  Fair warning: these people are passionate about menus, and they’ve collected so much information that I find myself spending hours on the site, just clicking on these great old menus and reading about long-gone restaurants. 

The menu covers are reprinted in various sizes, starting at 13”x19” ($28) to 20”x24” ($52).  The prints come with an 11"x17" copy of the interior menu.  All I can say is that if you can’t find an appropriate present here, the person you’re trying to please has zero interest in restaurants. 

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And if you just love old menus, period, check out the New York Public Library's collection, now being transcribed (and you can help) for research:

Amazing suggestions! I've just dropped many many many hints around my house about what I want from this website for Christmas. Now I just have to figure out what to get everyone else!

These are gifts that definitely will not be regifted. Really wonderful!

About this journal
Where am I eating? What's for dinner tonight? And what books have I been reading? For a look at what's going on in my life lately, take a look at this journal, which I try to update on a regular basis.